Fake Hermes Kelly bag? Spot an imposter! Tips from an EXPERT!

How to spot a fake Hermes Kelly bag: Tips from an EXPERT!

fake Hermes Kelly bag? How to spot an imposter! Tips from an EXPERT!

Hello friends! Today I want to tell you how to spot a fake Hermes kelly bag… which could also be tips on how to spot a REAL Hermes kelly bag! For this post I’ve got side-by-side images of a real and fake version of this iconic bag AND I’ve got tips from an expert!!! That’s right! The amazing Meg Randell, head of Designer handbags & fashion for Bonhams (UK & Europe) has lent her expertise in sharing her tips with us!

I’m so excited about this post as Hermes Kelly & Birkin bags are the worlds’ most sought after and expensive handbags and it can be incredible tricky telling a real from a fake, as they often don’t come with the same identifiers as other designer bags and some of the super fakes are SO good, it can be hard, even for experts!

where I bought this vintage fake Hermes bag!? 

Fun story before we get started, I once was in a pre-loved boutique in New York and they were freaking out because they had accidentally just bought a superfake Hermes Birkin off a customer for resale and then realised it was fake. Not only that, I heard of someone who took a bag to an authenticator and it took the expert weeks to figure it out. My point is, these handbags can be incredibly hard to authenticate, even for an experienced expert. I’m so grateful Meg has been so generous with her time.

Also, another thing to quickly point out, the fakes Hermes Kelly bag is in the Sellier silhouette and the authentic Hermes Kelly bag is the Retourne. The Sellier Silhouette is much more rigid and structured, where as the Retourne is a little softer and more cushioned. So if you are looking at the difference in structure and edges, this is the reason. 

Ok! Let’s chat! Here’s how to spot a fake Hermes Kelly bag! Let’s go!

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag

Overall quality / finish not good enough

First of all, this is hard to really show in photos; but it’s important to mention. The overall finish and quality of the bag is not up to scratch; the leather doesn’t feel and look as good as the authentic version, the hardware is a bit cheap and the finish at the corner and edges just isn’t what it should be. I know it’s hard to demonstrate in images, but feel the leather, touch the hardware and see if it all looks and feels perfect and high quality as it possibly could be. Also, take particular attention to the edges, corners and insides as these are the part of the bags which are harder to finish to a high standard and the finish might be compromised.

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag handbag

Branding on the buckle

This is one of my favourite tell-tale signs oh how to spot a fake Hermes Kelly bag and once you see it, you can’t under it! Look F the Hermes branding on the buckle – it looks good right?! Well, look closely at it and you will see there’s an underscore rather than hyphen. It’s so subtle and so easily missed, but it’s a huge giveaway!!

Whilst not all fakes will have made this error, it’s a good time to mention that the branding on the buckle should be neat, correctly spelt and have the exact markings they should have.

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag handbag branding gold stamp label

Gold embossed stamp is poorly stamped

Whilst this bag isn’t bad, it’s also not good! When I was authenticating it, this was my second reason I had for knowing it wasn’t real. If you look closely at the stamp, it’s not as neat and crisp as it should be. It’s a little fuzzy around the edges, where as a real Hermes bag will have a very neat and crisp stamp. On top of that, the font features very fine, thin lines. This bags stamp is much chunkier than it should be.

Authenticate birkin handbag tips

Hermes on padlock slightly slanted with missing serial numbers

This bag features the Hermes padlock and to be fair to the manufacturer, the padlock features the lines in the shape of the H, as it should, but the Hermes stamp at the base is slightly wonky and it’s also missing some serial numbers/ codes. It’s very subtle and the attention to detail they have done, is impressive. But it’s not correct.

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag handbag branding gold stamp label

Look for the serial numbers on the inside of the bag

Hermes bags should feature serial numbers on the inside of the bag and / or the inside of the strap. These numbers are not unique to the individual bag, like a Chanel bag, but they should be on the bag regardless.

The post buckle doesn’t sit perfectly horizontally

Next up, the post which acts as the buckle doesn’t sit quite horizontally when it’s sat lengthways. Hermes bags are all about the attention to detail and this post should sit perfectly straight.

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag

Spot a fake Hermes Kelly bag: handle shape 

Look closely at the handle, it’s not obvious, but the real Hermes Kelly bag has a slightly different shaped handle. If you look a the profile of it, whilst the top of the handle where you hold the bag, is a perfect curve, the start of the handle near where it’s attached to the bag is more of a point. It’s hard to describe, but hopefully you can see the arrows in the image. It’s these tiny subtle details which are important to look out for. 

how to authenticate a hermes kelly bag how to spot a fake hermes kelly bag handbag branding gold stamp label

Badly tarnished hardware which isn’t as yellow gold or glossy as it should be

Whilst this bag is admittedly old, so a little damage can be expected, it shouldn’t have worn quite so badly. An authentic Hermes bag is made with either gold plated or palladium hardware. This hardware is gold toned metal and it doesn’t feel heavy or study like it should, on top of that, it’s tarnished badly, which shouldn’t happen to an authentic Hermes bag. If you tap the hardware of this bag, it sounds a bit tinny. In general, this hardwear looks and feels not up to scratch and whilst s vintage Kelly coold have scratches. Or even a little tarnishing, it should look more like patina than tarnish.

Birkin handbag

Spot a fake Hermes Kelly bag: zip pull

The inside zipper of this bag is unbranded, where as the real Hermes bag has a branded Hermes zip or an Eclair zip for a vintage Hermes bag. Eclair is a premium zip company, much like YKK that many of the luxury brands used before they created their own bespoke zip pulls.

Birkin real clasp

Leather strap, the hole isn’t cut out to match the metal

This is a funny little detail, but it’s important. If you look at the back of the buckle, the leather and the metal don’t quite match up. The back of the leather should be flush with the metal. It sounds silly, but these are the small details which are the tell tale signs of inauthenticity.

A huge thank you to Meg Randell of Bonhams for helping me with this post. I love shopping via Bonhams, I’ve had some of my best Chanel purchases from them and when it comes to resellers you can trust, they don’t come much better than Bonhams!! Also, if you want to know how to spot a fake hermes scarf, here’s the post!




  1. July 30, 2023 / 12:58 pm

    Many thanks for the helpful article! I have become aware of a person in Berlin (Germany) that sells superfakes of Hermès handbags – her name is Dana Wodi**ka. Please watch out when buying bags in Germany.

    • fashionforlunch
      July 31, 2023 / 3:04 pm

      thank you , that’s really helpful xx