Fashion: Five Quick Ways To Authenticate A Chanel Handbag 

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Five Quick Ways To Authenticate A Chanel Handbag

…Or at least get a rough idea! I’m talking about those moments when you are in a charity shop / thrift store / car boot sale and you think you have struck gold. This isn’t a full-proof guide to authenticating a Chanel bag, that’s way too complex. Instead these quick tips will help you decide ‘if this £15 handbag is worth buying’. It could after all, be the bargain of the century or your lunch money down the drain!

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Stitching

Have a look at the obvious things; the quality of the stitching, is it perfect? It should always be perfectly evenly-spaced with no wobbly lines and no overlapped stitching. If the bag is quilted check the number of stitches per quilt, there should be 11 stitches per side of ‘diamond’, don’t be afraid to have a quick count! Oh and the reason for the high stitch count is because Chanel bags are high quality and the extra stitches help keep the structure of the bag, if seems a bit ‘floppy’ or misshapen, avoid. Finally, turn the bag around, if there is a back pocket on the bag, the quilt of the pocket should line up perfectly with the quilt of the bag.

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Chain Strap

If it has a chain strap, feel the weight of the chain, an authentic Chanel handbag will have a good weight to both the bag and the chain. It should feel solid and the colour of the metal should match the colour of the lock and any other hardwear. If the chain feels tinny or light, leave it. The leather woven through the chain should be the same high quality as the bag leather and it should be folded within itself so there is no raw edges exposed.

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Serial Number

Check the inside of the bag for a tiny sticker with a serial number. Don’t be alarmed if the bag doesn’t have one, over time these can peel away and very old Chanel bags never had these codes to begin with. If you can find a sticker with a serial number on, type into Google, ‘Chanel bag’ followed by the serial number. Every Chanel handbag has a unique serial number so if a handful of handbags come up for sale on different sites or eBay links, it’s not real. Fake bag manufacturers tend to reuse the same few serial numbers. Some purse blogs have also made comprehensive lists of all known faux serial numbers. If your number comes up with a link to a forum like this… Walk away! Also, dodgy factories do make fake authenticity cards, so don’t be fooled by one! PS. Sorry I have blurred out some of the numbers in the image, I just don’t want any of my serial numbers being online, that’s how the faux factories often get their numbers 🙁

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Branding

Chanel have been producing their iconic bags since the 1950’s and many changes have been made over this time! Everything from the zipper to the fastening, the label to the lining has seen variations over this time and there is exceptions to every rule. A common myth is that Chanel bags always have branded zip pulls, this is not true so don’t panic if the zip pull is branded with YKK, DMC, EP  (to name a few brands who have supplied Chanel with their zippers). I’m not saying this means it’s real, it just doesn’t mean it’s fake! As for the Chanel label on the inside, these too can vary, some are leather labels (often leather stitched into lining fabric if it’s a tote bag), but most famously, they are branded with a gold heat stamp embossed on the inside of the bag. This stamp should be perfect; with even spacing between letters and never sloped, at an angle or smudged. Oh and another myth is that all Chanel bags are made in France, again that’s not true, some are made in Italy and Spain. Don’t be put off if you see the inside of the bag is stamped ‘Made in Italy’, instead be put off if the gold lettering isn’t quite crisp or straight.

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Authenticity Cards

If the bag comes with an authenticity card, this doesn’t mean it’s real. These can be faked too and very easily ( or so I have be told). Same goes for carrier bags, receipts and dust bags, so don’t take these at face value, because they could be from another bag, or produced to miss-lead the buyer. Remember factories are getting smarter and it’s more likely that you are stood in a charity shop seeing someones holiday-error, rather than someone went into Chanel, dropped £3,000 and then walked that bag into a charity shop. If it does have an authenticity card, it doesn’t mean it’s fake, but it doesn’t mean it’s real. Be careful and instead spend the time checking out the serial number, chain, stitching, leather quality and what-not.

Again,  this isn’t a complex authenticity guide, it’s just a few easy pointers of how to spot a real from a fake when you are out and about. Of course, if the bag is £1 in Salvation Army, just buy it (and if it is real, maybe make a bigger donation at some point, y’know, karma and all!), if it’s more than £15 then do have a little inspect of it. You can always get it get it authenticated properly at a later date, but the main point of this post is not to be caught out and buy a fake on impulse because you are not sure if it is real or not. If you want more info, then I would check out Vintage Heirloom who have some amazing videos and imagery on the topic, I must also credit them as they have taught me a LOT about spotting the fakes and details like the number of stitches per quilt. They also have an amazing online shop where you can buy pre-owned Chanel and other designer handbags.

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29 Comments

  1. March 23, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    I always say that when you a have the real thing, you can spot the fakes a mile off right?
    Oh and how soft is that leather too? soft as butter.
    Even though mine is now over 20 years old it’s still beautiful! (Although the chain is a little the worse for wear) I bought it in the Chanel boutique in Cannes.

    Fab post I never knew about the stitch count.
    best Aashley

    • fashionforlunch
      March 23, 2017 / 9:50 pm

      Hey! It’s true, but there are some great fakes around these days!
      So glad this was of interest to you! X

    • fashionforlunch
      March 23, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      Thank you so much! So glad it was helpful!

  2. March 23, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    I’d liketo think that people wouldn’t be so naive as to buy fakes. There is a big difference between a Chanel and a fake. They’re so well made and good quality. I’d love to own one x

    • fashionforlunch
      March 23, 2017 / 11:24 pm

      You would be surprised! There is such convincing fakes being made they are actually made to look like vintage bags which are authentic! They can be found everywhere from eBay to markets and often bought in good faith! Xxxx

  3. March 23, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    Wow I had no idea they had so many unique traits. Your bag is just beautiful I bet it goes with everything xx

    • fashionforlunch
      March 23, 2017 / 11:22 pm

      Ah! Authenticating handbags is a crazy minefield!!!!!!! I hope it was of interest!

    • fashionforlunch
      March 23, 2017 / 11:21 pm

      Thank you so much!!

  4. March 24, 2017 / 7:50 am

    I’m so glad you mentioned the autenticity card, so true and works with items other than handbags too, always one to watch for x

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 7:51 am

      Always one to watch for, but fools so many people!

  5. March 24, 2017 / 7:58 am

    What a useful post. Stunning bag too!

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 8:22 am

      Thank you so much! So glad you like it! Xxxx

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 8:27 am

      Thank you so much! So glad it was helpful!

  6. March 24, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Some really great advice!! So helpful. Can I apply this other Designer bags too?

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 9:33 am

      you can some things, like the chain weight should always be hefty and if it’s a structured bag, it should be just that, new or old. but truth be told, a lot of these points are Chanel specific! xxx

  7. March 24, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Oh this is interesting! Some great tips here. I will be checking any eBay purchases from now on X

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      Good luck Lucy! X

  8. March 24, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    Great post although I’ve yet to find one in a charity shop!

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      Me neither! And believe me… I’ve tried!!!

  9. March 24, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I would love to own a Chanel bag, this is stunning! Can we also just take a moment for those heels!

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      Aww thank you Emmy! One day! X

  10. March 24, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    This is such a good post!! I would have had no idea how to check and now I can’t wait to go bag hunting 😍

    • fashionforlunch
      March 24, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      Good luck! So glad it was helpful!

  11. March 28, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Fab – oh if only I could find one in a charity shop. This bag is perfect! xx