Purchasing a pre-owned designer handbag is a great way to save 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 throughout 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 designer handbag. When purchasing a pre-owned luxury handbag from any source, here are four important things to keep in mind to ensure your purse is authentic.
Inspect the Quality
Designer handbags come with a premium price tag not only because of the brand name but also because they use the highest-quality materials and techniques available. Where knockoffs are typically manufactured in factories and have no quality control process, designer handbags are handmade by artisans and go through a rigorous quality inspection before it’s shipped to the boutique.
Inspect your pre-owned designer bag for any obvious signs of manufacturing defects, such as crooked stitching, misaligned seams, uneven patterns or irregularities in the hardware. Low-quality leather or fake leather are also immediate red flags that a bag is fake, as an authentic designer handbag will use high-quality materials such as Nappa leather, box leather, or Saffiano leather. While authentic pre-owned designer handbags may have wear and tear from the previous owner, issues with the construction of the bag are often an indicator that it’s inauthentic.
Check Zippers and Buttons
Zippers, clasps, and buttons are crucial elements of a handbag, and they can often give away the authenticity of a designer bag. Most high-end brands use high-quality zippers made of real metal that have the brand name engraved or embossed on them. If the zippers and clasps don’t have any branding, or if it feels cheap, it may be a sign that the bag is fake.
If the zippers and clasps do have branding on them, make sure to analyze the specific placement of the logo. If you notice that the logo is off-center, crooked, or the font is incorrect, it’s typically an indication that the bag is inauthentic.
Look Closely at the Logo
One of the most obvious indicators of a fake pre-owned designer handbag is the brand’s logo. Every brand uses a very specific typography and color palette across all of their designs, so if the logo is even slightly different from the original, it’s likely a fake product.
Counterfeit designer bags tend to have misspellings, smudged letters, different fonts, thinner or bolder lettering, or incorrect colors. This is true not only of any prominent logos on the bag’s exterior but also of the branding on the interior of the bag. Most designer handbags will have a label on the inside of the bag that states the brand’s name and the country of manufacture. If your bag is missing this, or if the logo is in the wrong font, it may indicate an inauthentic pre-owned designer handbag.
Have It Professionally Authenticated
Counterfeit handbags are becoming more and more realistic, giving rise to the “superfake” industry. If you’re not confident in your ability to determine the authenticity of a pre-owned designer handbag — or even if you are — it’s always best to bring it to a trained handbag authentication professional.
Pre-owned designer handbag experts have extensive knowledge and experience in authenticating designer handbags and can spot even the smallest details that may indicate a fake bag. When you have your bag professionally authenticated, you can have full peace of mind that your pre-owned luxury handbag is real. You can also then provide this authentication information to future buyers if you ever decide to sell the piece, increasing the asking price and putting wary potential buyers at ease.
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. We also offer handbag spa services so you can rejuvenate your secondhand purchase and bring it back to its full glory before bringing it home.
Whether you’re searching for an Hermès Birkin or a Chanel classic 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 to inquire about a specific bag or schedule a free appraisal appointment today.