How To Spot Fake Louis Vuitton ‘Monogram Icon’ Handbags
This guide will highlight how to differentiate between replica and genuine Louis Vuitton ‘Monogram Icons’
Spotting a fake Louis Vuitton can be difficult as these bags are one of the most counterfeited in existence. Within this guide I have chosen the most popular bags from Louis Vuitton, from the ‘Monogram Icons’ collection, to show you how I authenticate this brand on a daily basis when sourcing Louis Vuitton for Handbag Clinic. As with all of our brands, authenticity is guaranteed without doubt, as we source 100% genuine items globally and aim to deliver them to you at the best possible prices.
The ‘Monogram Icons’ used in this guide are the ‘Speedy 30’, ‘Keepall 60’, ‘Alma PM’ and ‘Neverfull GM’, all of which are frequently stocked within our retail locations – Shop our authentic pre-owned Louis Vuitton
Above: Sample of Authentic Pre-Owned Louis Vuitton on sale in Handbag Clinic.
Although these bags are predominantly made of canvas they all feature Vachetta leather, which when purchased new will be extremely light and all exposed areas will darken over time. Fake bags will not be made of leather to the same quality as Louis Vuitton and potentially not leather at all. A tell-tale sign of an imitation piece is that all the exposed leather does not darken at the same rate or does not darken at all.
Checking the interior leather against the exterior leather, or against a bag of the same age, will give this away if it is not already obvious. Also, in a number of fakes I have seen the leather appears to have a pink tint rather than the beautiful honey colour you would expect of a real Louis Vuitton. The bag on the left (below) is a fake and has a slight pink tint to the leather, the one on the right is a genuine Louis Vuitton White Monogram Speedy 30- as you can see the difference is easily recognisable.
Above: The leather on the bag to the left is much lighter and more uniform in colour than the real bag (right)
Stamping and Lettering
The stamping and lettering on a Louis Vuitton has some details that the fake manufactures just can’t get right. When I authenticate a Louis Vuitton I look in detail at the lettering to ensure the following details are correct: firstly, the lettering should be thin and crisp, the font in the example to the below is the standard font used on Louis Vuitton, some fake manufacturers will use a slightly different font or align the lettering differently. Some examples of font and alignment differences are as follows:
- The tail on the L should be short,
- The “O” will look round not oval, some fake bags will have an “0” instead of an “O”, the “O” in a real bag will usually look larger than the “L”.
- The T’s should be almost touching and positioned extremely close together.
- The stamp will read Louis Vuitton Paris but the “made in” may vary, the countries I mainly see are France, USA and Spain although occasionally some bags are stamped as being made in Italy and Germany.
- A genuine iconic LV sign will consist of one stroke being bold and one being thin, the bold strokes will cross over to create the iconic symbol.
Above: What genuine Louis Vuitton stamping and logos should look like
Usually the hardware of a fake Louis Vuitton is poor quality, with some even using plastic coated in a metallic finish so that it appears to be metal. Louis Vuitton hardware will be of a high quality and will include branding on the majority of hardware. The branding guidelines from the lettering section above also apply to the hardware.
It is common for people to lose the padlocks from their Louis Vuitton so it does not cause great concern to me if a lock is not present, but if the bag does have a lock the quality of this is usually an obvious way to spot a fake. The padlock will have the LV sign on one side and “LOUIS VUITTON PARIS” as well as the location the bag was made on the other. A number will be printed on the bottom of the lock and this will correspond to the keys.
Above: Examples of genuine Louis Vuitton zips, studs and locks
The majority of Louis Vuitton bags since 1980 have a date/location stamp located on the inside of the bag. The location for the stamp will usually be on a small tab inside an interior pocket, the inside where the handles attach or underneath a small interior flap. Some fake bags state “MADE IN FRANCE” but will have a USA location code or a date code that does not match the coding format that era. The codes have varied throughout the years since the stamping process began but can be summarised as below:
Early 1980’s: These codes consist of three or four numbers with the first two numbers representing the year and last number(s) representing the month. For example, “822” would mean the bag was made in February, 1982.
Above: An example of an early 1980’s Louis Vuitton code.
Early to late 1980’s: These codes developed to show the location that the bag was made by a two letter code and three or four numbers. The first two numbers representing the year and the next number(s) representing the month. The code “8612RA” would indicate a manufacturing date of December 1986 and factory location in France. In the early 1980’s the location code came after number but in the late in the 1980s the letters representing the location came before the three or four numbers representing the manufacturing date.
Above: A Louis Vuitton code as used in the late 80’s.
1990 to 2006: The codes during this period kept the letter and number format but the numbers were laid out slightly different. The two letters representing the factory location were still followed by four numbers but the first and third numbers representing the month and the second and fourth numbers representing the year. For example, “CA1906” would indicate a bag made in Spain, October 1996.
Above: Louis Vuitton code as used from 1990 – 2006.
2007 onward: This format continued to the present day but the code slightly changed its meaning. Two letters representing where the bag was manufactured followed by four numbers but now the first and third numbers represent the week of the year, and the second and fourth numbers represent the year. A bag with a code of “SD4029” would be a bag manufactured in USA in the 40th week of the year 2009.
Above: Codes stamped into Louis Vuitton bags as used from 2007 onward.
There can be several codes for one country, the location codes I regularly see are listed below:
|A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS (Special Order Item), AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, DU, CO, CT, ET, FL, LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD, SL, SN, SP, SR, TH, TR, VI, VX|
|BC, BO, CE, FO, MA, RC, RE, SA, TD|
|CA, LO, LB, LM, LW|
|FC, FH, LA, OS, SD, FL|
Other points that give away the fakes are the quality of the lining, stitching as well as the quality of the canvas used. All bags that we stock are fully authenticated using the above methods and checked to ensure that even our most vintage bags are of the highest quality.
Louis Vuitton Authentication Service
If you have a Louis Vuitton bag that you’re not sure is genuine, we can authenticate it for you, to find out more about this service visit – Handbag Authentication. Through our Clinic cleaning and restoring bags and our buying team we assess thousands of Louis Vuitton Handbags each year giving us great insight into spotting the real from the fake!
If you’re looking to purchase an authentic Louis Vuitton bag you can shop our range of Authentic Louis Vuitton. Or, if you have a bag that needs cleaned or restored take a look at our Handbag Cleaning & Restoration Services.