The Louis Vuitton date code is one of the most notable ways to identify an authentic Louis Vuitton. But without full authentication research, it’s actually one of the many ways that people make an inaccurate assumption about a bag.
Just because a bag has what appears to be a date code does not mean the bag is automatically authentic. One of the easiest tricks for people who make replica bags is to put stamp some letters and numbers onto the bag and forge a date code. But what they don’t typically take the time and effort to do is evaluate the information that you defer from interpreting the code.
Are Louis Vuitton Bags with No Codes Real or Fake?
Well, if you are looking at the date code alone to determine a bag’s authenticity you have about a 50/50 chance of guess it right. You might as well just flip a coin because you are missing so many important details in the authentication process.
- Can a real bag have no date code? Yes.
- Can a fake bag have a real date code? Yes.
- Is there a ton of exceptions to this? Absolutely.
These codes, while not unique to the bag, will tell you both the country year and in many cases week of production for a piece. While useful in helping determine real versus fake bags it’s intended to help the company track production inventory, materials and many other facets of the manufacturing side of the business that actually have nothing to do with the consumers and replica bags.
Note that unlike brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton does not include (and has not historically included) authenticity cards with its handbags.
Find the Date Code
The date code is typically stamped onto a leather tab and sewn along a seam of the bag interior. For bags with an alcantara lining (a soft, microsuede) the date code will be stamped directly onto the lining. For this material, in particular, the code is known to wear or fade over time making it in many cases nearly impossible to distinguish with the naked eye (this is part of why photographing your bag is important). While almost all non-vintage Louis Vuitton will have been stamped with a date code, there are exceptions to the rule in regards to their visibility. For codes that you can locate, use the steps below to help you interpret what the code is telling you about the bag’s origin.
Reading The Date Code
The first step when evaluating a date code is to determine what the code is saying is the country and year of origin. Below you’ll see a diagram to guide you through reading your code.
Exceptions for Bags with No Date Code
- Will a brand new bag produced after 2000’s not have a date code? No
- Can a date code wear off? Possibly
- Can a real bag be relined and cause the date code to not be present? Rarely, but possibly
- If my bag has a real date code sequence is it real? Not necessarily.
- My bags date code looks just like the code on a real bag, is it real? Not necessarily.
As with any good rule, there are always exceptions. Take for example the code SD. Depending on the year of origin SD would represent France or San Dimas (city in California, USA ). Bags produced after 1995 should say SD with a marking for U.S.A. CA doesn’t represent California or San Dimas but instead is generally Spain but there has been Vernis made in France in 1999. As you authenticate your item, one exception might be just that – an exception. But a bag with multiple
exceptions in multiple areas of examination are typically more often than not a replica.
To learn more about exactly how to authenticate a bag with no date code check out our 28 page Louis Vuitton Authentication Workbook.
The Bottom Line
While finding the date code and determining where and when a bag was made is a fun historical treasure hunt, it is not a sound way to determine a bag’s authenticity. With Louis Vuitton date codes not being unique to each individual bag, they are incredibly easy for someone to put on a replica Louis Vuitton. When authenticating a Louis Vuitton bag or wallet do not look at the bag having a date code as a factor in authentication. For the investment you will make purchasing a pre-owned Lous Vuitton it’s imperative that you follow a concise authentication process.