Authentication – Louis Vuitton

By Emma Cullen

 

Louis Vuitton was founded in Paris in 1854 and began as a brand that made steamer trunks. This humble beginning led the now-famed fashion house to patent lock systems, create iconic coated canvas prints, and influence womenswear and menswear alike. When Phoenix Mill acquires Louis Vuitton to sell for auction, each item goes through a rigorous authentication process. There are many ways to ensure the authenticity of a Louis Vuitton item, including date codes, serial numbers, stitching, measurements, even the boxes and dust bags that come with any Louis Vuitton product bought in store today. 

Date Codes

  • Items made prior to 1980 will not have a date code. 
  • Early 1980s items will have a 3-4 digit date code with the first two numbers indicating the year of manufacturing and the last indicating the month. For example, a date code of 852 would indicate February of 1985. 
  • Early to late 1980s will have a date code of three or four numbers followed by two letters. The first two numbers represent the year, the next number(s) representing the month, and the last representing the country. (Please see below chart for some country codes). 
  • 1990-2006 items have a date code of two letters followed by four numbers. The first two letters represent the factory, the first and third numbers represent the month, and the second and fourth numbers represent the year. For example, a date code of TN0083 would mean the bag was manufactured in France in August 2003. 
  • 2007 and newer items have a date code of two letters followed by four numbers with the first two letters representing the factory and the first and third numbers representing the week of the year, and the second and fourth numbers representing the year. For example, BC2122 would indicate the bag was manufactured in Italy in the 22nd week in 2012. 

Stitching

  • Louis Vuitton stitching is another signature of the iconic fashion house. Stitching should be even and evenly spaced from the edge of the leather. 

Hardware

  • Louis Vuitton used YKK zippers prior to 1991 but after that zippers should only say Louis Vuitton. 
  • Locks and keys should have matching numbers and include LV on one side and Louis Vuitton Paris on the other, as well as the location the item was made. 
  • Rivets and studs should say Louis Vuitton or LV and they should be slightly raised mounds. 
  • Hardware will darken with age. 

Leather

  • Authentic Louis Vuitton items will typically have a vachetta leather trim. Over time, this leather will develop into a rich dark brown color with wear, which is an indication of an authentic bag. 
  • On the leather, any stamping should look neat. The O’s should be round and not oval-shaped, and the bottom line of the L’s should be short. 

Owning an authentic Louis Vuitton can elevate a wardrobe and is a great investment piece that can last in families for generations. The craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into an authentic Louis Vuitton item are simply unparalleled. Shop authentic Louis Vuitton at Phoenix Mill here. 

 

Louis Vuitton Factory Location Codes

Note this is not a complete list.

France

A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS (Special Order), AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, DR, DU, DR, DT, CO, CT, CX, ET, FL, LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SA, SD, SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TJ, TH, TN, TR, TS, VI, VX

Germany

LP, OL

Italy

BC, BO, CE, FN, FO, MA, NZ, OB, PL, RC, RE, SA, TD

Spain

BC, CA, LO, LB, LM, LW, GI, UB

Switzerland

DI, FA

USA

FC, FH, LA, OS, SD, FL, TX