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The Louis Vuitton Date Code Bible

November 16, 2017

louis-vuitton-date-code-bible

When you are shopping for a pre-owned Louis Vuitton, one of the first things you’ll want to look for in the listing is the date code.  Unlike other designer brands like Chanel or Gucci, Louis Vuitton is unique in that each bag is marked with specific information about exactly where and when it was produced.

This information is an essential first step in authenticating a Louis Vuitton.  While oftentimes very confusing to research and understand, date codes are actually very simple to understand when you have all the information in one complete source.  That’s why I’ve created and shared my Louis Vuitton Date Code Bible. Anyone who is trying to determine if their Louis Vuitton is real, or just wanted to know where and when their Louis Vuitton was made – should absolutely bookmark this all-encompassing Louis Vuitton date code guide.

What is the Meaning of a Date Code on a Louis Vuitton

The date code on a Louis Vuitton tells the country and date of origin for a bag.  Depending on the year of production the date code will consist of a different variation of letters and/or numbers. While all Louis Vuitton bags have date codes it alone does not tell you if a bag is authentic.

What is Important About A Louis Vuitton Date Code

Louis Vuitton-date-code-90s

Deciphering the date code of a Louis Vuitton is always my first step in authenticating a bag. Before I even start to look at the bag itself I want to know the history of the bag. Everything else I look at from that point on will be framed from the point of view of the date code.  What year is the bag? Where is supposed to be made?  If it’s made in France, does the trademark heat stamp correspond?  Was that bag even produced in that country?  Does the production characters of the bag match that year?  These are just a few of the first questions that will need to be framed in the context of the date code.

So how do you read a Louis Vuitton date code?

How to Read A Louis Vuitton Date Code

 

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Date Code Formats By Year

Date Codes Pre-1980s:

French Company
no date code (tyvek-like tag only)
Saks Fifth Avenue
no date code (stamp only)

These bags are now considered vintage Louis Vuitton. Unlike their modern predecessors, their identification markings follow a completely different set of rules that modern bags. While you might come across a Louis Vuitton with no date code and instantly hope that it’s vintage you’ll still need to closely examine the item to ensure that it still fits within the checklist to authenticate a Louis Vuitton. While the massive growth of the counterfeit market boomed shortly after these bags were produced, there are still newer counterfeits that have been made to specifically look vintage and have corresponding fake date codes to match.

Date Codes in the 1980s:

Format Sample
3 numbers YYM
832 is February 1983
4 numbers YYMM
8312 is December 1983
2 letters 3 numbers LL YYM
TH 831 is January 1983
3 numbers 2 letters YYM LL
835 TH is May 1983
2 letters 4 numbers LL YYMM
TH 8312 is December 1983
4 numbers 2 letters YYMM LL
8310 TH is October 1983

With global economic conditions supporting the growth of the counterfeit market that followed on the heels of Louis Vuitton brand growth, a variety of date code changes took place in the 1980’s.  With a variety of date codes bags from this decade prove more challenging to authenticate.  When buying a pre-owned Louis Vuitton from the 1980’s you’ll have quite a bit more legwork in ensuring that the date code formatting as well as the information the date code relays all correctly coincide with the timeframe and country of origin for the bag.

Date Codes in the 1990s:

Format Sample
2 letters 4 numbers LL MYMY
TH 1920 is December 1990

After the great variety in date code formatting of the 1980’s Louis Vuitton (thankfully) simplified things starting in the 1990’s. The origins of bags from the 1990’s on are much easier to trace and consequently easier to confirm it’s origins.

Date Codes 2007 – Present

Format Sample
2 letters 4 numbers LL WYWY
TH 3077 is 37th week of 2007

After almost two decades of one date code formatting, Louis Vuitton again changed things up. With just a subtle variation they started tracking by week instead of the month.  This allowed for them to keep their standard formatting but break their production labeling out into 52 weeks instead of 12 weeks.  What that means for the date codes is more variety and a more detailed view of when your bag was produced. Instead of knowing that your bag was made in Spain in December, you can now know that your bag was made in the 51st week of that year. Pretty cool right?  How many other brands label the date of origin on the bag down to a precise 7-day window!

DATE CODE BY COUNTRY

Tracking the country of origin on your Louis Vuitton is done by tracking two simple letters.  Unlike the date of origin, there are many more exceptions to country codes which can consequently lead to novice mistakes when trying to spot a fake Louis Vuitton date code. While not an exhausting list, here are the date codes and the country of origin they typically represent a Louis Vuitton handbag.

France
A0, A1, A2, AA, AH, AN, AR, AS, AX, BA, BJ, BU, CT, CV, DR, DU, ET, FL, GR, IT, LW, MB, MS, MI, NO, RA, RE (also Italy), RI, SA (also Italy), SD (also USA), SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, VI, V.I.
USA
FC, FH, OS, SD (also France), LA,
Spain
CA, CR, GI, LB, LM, LO, LW
Italy
BO, CE, FA, FO, RE, MA, NQ, PL, RC, RO, SA (also France), ST, TD, LE
Switzerland
DI, FA (also Italy)
Germany LP, OL

Known Exceptions: 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

order-a-louis-vuitton-authentication

What About a Louis Vuitton With No Date Code

Can a Louis Vuitton have no date code?  Yes, but it’s rare. I have a Louis Vuitton trunk from 1933 and it’s code tell me exactly where, when and who purchased the trunk almost 100 years ago!  With that in mind, it is highly unlikely the questionable brand new looking Neverfull you’re looking at on Poshmark is real.  However, although unlikely it’s not impossible. The two most common causes of a Louis Vuitton to have no date code are

  1. Re-lining – When you completely replace the interior lining of your Louis Vuitton. In some cases, depending on the style, Louis Vuitton might have concealed the date code inside the new lining. Most of the time this is not the case but I have seen it done before on specialty bags and challenging relining.

When you bag is relined you’ll typically get a new date code to replace the old one. Some of the date codes seen on re-lined Louis Vuitton includes:

Re Lined Code Country
DK 4077 France
DK 2907 France
DK 1068 France
OK USA
  1. Rubbed Off – While very unlikely on a 2012 Speedy or brand new Pochette metis, there are cases where a date code “rubs off” or is no longer visible. These are rare exceptions and most commonly seen on wallets, Vernis and generally only on vintage items. In most cases, when you come across a piece with no date code, you’re either not looking closely enough or are in the presence of a fake Louis Vuitton.

The Bottom Line

Fake bags can still display real date codes which make it challenging to tell if your bag is real or fake by looking at the date code alone. One of the most common questions I get is, “Can you tell me if date code SD5007 is real?”  The answer to that question has nothing to do with the bag that person is trying to authenticate. The date code can be accurate (let’s face it, it’s not that hard for forgers to know how to fake the numbers) so your bag might still be fake.  Consider finding out your bag has a valid date code just the first step in completing a Louis Vuitton Authentication Checklist.

 

In Gratitude Legos in my Louis

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35 Comments

  • Reply Tiffany Jackson January 19, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I have a friend who is trying to sell me her Louis Vuitton Handbag and only want to purchase it if it is real the serial number is RA-1780-004 I know nothing about these but want to help out. It is a Drawstring bucket bag. I am not totally convinced it is real. PLEASE HELP!

    • Reply Betsy January 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Tiffany! I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

      • Reply Brina June 17, 2018 at 7:57 am

        Hello, is the Vuitton date code TH2079 valid?
        Please advise. I purchased a bag online and fear it’s conterfeit. It’s a multi colore Judy pm and as well I think the handles are supposed to be removable and from the photos they don’t appear to be. Is there a way I may send photos to you? Thank You!!

        • Reply Betsy June 17, 2018 at 10:28 pm

          Hi Brina,

          I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. The date code alone doesn’t tell if you the bag is authentic. A real bag can have no date code visible and a fake bag can still have a real date code. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Rey February 2, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Hi! I am trying to purchase a LV intenteur messenger bag with date code BE 0001. Can you tell if it’s real?

  • Reply Kristen February 28, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Hi is TX an authentic factory code on a 2018 bag? Thank you!

    • Reply Betsy March 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Nikki! I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. The code alone doesn’t tell if you the bag is real or fake. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in authenticating. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Erin March 4, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Betsy. First off,I just love reading about your love for Louis Vuitton. A very interesting piece has just come into my possession. I’m having a very difficult time authenticating it. I think it may be from the late 1800s but it may also be an early counterfeit. It has two sets of numbers. Six a piece. One set inside and one set on the brass lock on the outside. There are no letters. The briefcase looks like it was customized to hold very specific objects and even has a few tools in it,specifically what looks like a crochet hook with Louis Vuitton stamped on it. I do so hope you could tell me more about this very curious piece. Thank you .- ES

    • Reply Betsy March 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Erin! Thanks so much for the kind words. I’d be happy to help you authenticate the piece and we can absolutely authenticate vintage pieces as well as help with item identification and valunation. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

    • Reply Kristin Embry August 29, 2018 at 7:48 am

      This is so neat! I would love to know the outcome!!

  • Reply Nikki March 5, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Hi! How about my new Bond street with a code of N64417 and Clemence Wallet N41626?

  • Reply Lory Jane Oquendo March 12, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Hi can u help me.authenticate this neverfull code Rs 1758 thanks

    • Reply Betsy March 12, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Hi Lory! I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. The code alone doesn’t tell if you the bag is real or fake. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in authenticating. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Date code March 16, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Hi!is PC code for LV is legit?thank you

    • Reply Betsy March 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

      I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. The code alone doesn’t tell if you the bag is real or fake. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in authenticating. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Jessica Warren March 29, 2018 at 6:29 am

    Is HP an authentic lettering for a Louis Vuitton date code? Thank you

  • Reply ma. teresa cajigas April 10, 2018 at 5:34 am

    hi is it HL0096 date code for lv speedy 35 is.legit? pls help authenticate thank you.

    • Reply Betsy April 10, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I’d be happy to help you authenticate the bag. The code alone doesn’t tell if you the bag is real or fake. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in authenticating. We would just need images and for you to sign up through our authentications page. Just let me know if you have any questions: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply La April 24, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, I bought a made in France neverfull at the LV store last year and recently looked inside the pochette that comes with it to see the date code (LA4126) and to my surprise the initial LA represent made in US. So I’m wondering why the country code and made in hot stamp do not match. Is this normal? Thanks.

  • Reply Athanasia May 12, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Interesting, I just purchased the flower tote from the actual Louis Vuitton store in Chicago. There is no date code. I asked the sales associate about it and she told me they are not always visible. Sometimes they are under the lining. She told me the only way to know for sure if the bag is authentic is to buy directly from on Louis Vuitton.
    I also called them directly and was told the same thing. Is this a new practice?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Betsy May 12, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Hello and congratulations on your new flower tote! It is absolutely correct that date codes are not always visible. Occasionally the date code can be sewn into the lining but most often for microfiber lined bags the date code is stamped right onto the microfiber. Buying directly from Louis Vuitton is a very safe bet to ensure that the bag is authentic. In the cases of customers who are looking to purchase a pre-owned Louis Vuitton getting the bag authenticated is one of the only ways to know all the nuances of real versus fake Louis Vuitton across all the styles and all the years of production. Enjoy that new beautiful bag!

  • Reply Tavia June 28, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hello. So I have purchased to LV handbags from a stand alone store. One in Hawaii and the other I ordered from online it shipped from a store in NJ. Neither one my bags have a date code and they have tags that say made in the USA from imported material. Is this a new thing with LV. One bag is the speedy 30 and the other is Artsy. Please advise if you have any information regarding these bags with no date codes.

  • Reply Missy Hankins July 31, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Before I take multiple pictures could you tell me if a date code of SD1118 is legit considering it’s only July 2018 now?

    • Reply Betsy August 22, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      Hi Missy! The date code alone will not determine a bag’s authenticity. A fake bag can still have a real date code. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in determining a bag’s origin and authenticity. We would be happy to authenticate your bag. If you haven’t already just go ahead and sign up to have your bag authenticated through our Louis Vuitton Authentication services page: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Mel August 23, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Hi its MD 0042 is the real bag ?

    • Reply Betsy August 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      The date code alone will not determine a bag’s authenticity. A fake bag can still have a real date code. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in determining a bag’s origin and authenticity. We would be happy to authenticate your bag. If you haven’t already just go ahead and sign up to have your bag authenticated through our Louis Vuitton Authentication services page: https://legosinmylouis.com/louis-vuitton-authentication-services/

  • Reply Sandra Latona October 15, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    are there any date codes with one letter and 5 numbers?

    • Reply Betsy October 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Typically no but that second spot can be confusing especially with vintage pieces. So I wouldn’t automatically assume it’s fake until many other aspects don’t line up and you aren’t looking at an older bag.

  • Reply Raquel October 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Is MB 1165 serial #! real Louis Vuitton

  • Reply Andresha October 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Betsy, just wanted to say thanks for writing this article, I am new to the LV world and love knowing as much as possible about this beautiful yet very spendy product. Also wanted to say you have amazing patience, I don’t think most commentors have bothered to read what you took your valuable time to write. Well I did and very much appreciate it. So thanks again! Hope you have a great day!

    • Reply Betsy October 30, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words! It’s what motivated me to keep sharing more with the community and people like yourself.

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