How To Tell If Your Pre-Owned Luxury Handbag is Authentic or Fake

Purchasing a pre-owned luxury handbag is a great way to save a little money on your dream designer bag. After all, used designer handbags tend to sell for far less than their retail value, and they often have very minimal signs of wear. Even with brands whose secondhand value is greater than retail, like Hermès or Chanel, the accessibility that the secondhand market offers makes it a much better option than purchasing directly from a boutique. However, knockoff handbags run rampant through the U.S., and the possibility of buying a fake is one of the top reasons why shoppers are hesitant to purchase pre-owned luxury handbags. However, if you have the knowledge to differentiate between an authentic designer handbag and a knockoff, you can have a more comfortable secondhand buying experience and save significant money on your dream used designer handbag. Here are five important aspects of a bag to inspect when purchasing pre-owned luxury handbags from any source.

Quality of the Materials

Designer handbags come with a premium price tag not only because of the brand name but also because they use the highest-quality materials available. Usually, this means leather, whether it be box leather, Nappa leather, or any other type of authentic cowhide. Knockoff handbags may cut costs by using faux leather or lower-quality genuine leather. Low-quality leather will often be stiffer, shinier, or more slippery than the real thing. It also may have a fishy smell rather than the smell of authentic leather.

Neat Stitching

The craftsmanship of authentic designer handbags is unparalleled. Generally, these bags are handmade in Europe and have precise stitching. If your bag has sloppy, uneven, or unraveling stitching, this could be a sign of a fake used designer handbag. However, even authentic bags can have a popped stitch or two, especially after years of wear, so this alone doesn’t automatically indicate a fake bag. 

Number and Placement of Pockets

The workers creating fake bags often make them based on photos rather than having the item in-person to reference. As a result, inconsistencies in the lining color, pocket placement, and the number of pockets may be present. Make sure that you’re highly familiar with these details on the authentic bag, and compare any used designer handbag to ensure it’s exactly the same. For example, the Mona Lisa pocket on the back of a Chanel Classic Flap is an integral part of the design, but some knockoffs lack this detail. 

Logos and Fonts

One of the hardest details for replica bag makers to mimic is the font and logo used by the design house, such as the signature CC on most Chanel bags or the prominent YSL logo found on virtually all Saint Laurent styles. In fake bags, the lettering will deviate slightly from the authentic, whether in the thickness of the letters or complete misspellings. The inside tag that indicates the designer and country of manufacture should also be checked. The font used in knockoffs will deviate from the authentic, and there may again be misspellings. In addition, any pre-owned luxury handbags from European design houses that state they’re made in China, Taiwan, or any other Asian country are likely knockoffs. Virtually all European designers (Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, et cetera) make their bags in Europe — usually in Italy, France, and Spain.

Serial Number

Finally, an authentic used designer handbag should have a serial number or other date code that verifies its authenticity. This tag will be located in different places and have different sequencing depending on the brand and bag style, but any luxury handbag should have this detail somewhere on the bag. Research the serial number sequencing of the exact bag you’re searching for, and make sure that the used designer handbag matches up with an original format. If the numbers and letters seem random, or if a serial number is missing altogether, then be wary before purchasing.

At Watch & Wares, our team of experts authenticates all pre-owned luxury handbags that we purchase so you can shop with peace of mind. All of the bags that we have available are guaranteed to be authentic and have been personally verified in-house. Whether you’re searching for an Hermès Birkin or a Chanel flap, we have some of the most sought-after pre-owned luxury handbags on the market. Give Watch & Wares Couture a call at (714) 633-2030, or fill out our online contact form today to inquire about a specific bag or schedule an appointment.