Since the early 1980s, Louis Vuitton has included date codes with its bags. These are not considered serial numbers and are not used for the purpose of verifying authenticity. Rather, these are date codes consisting of letters and numbers (or in the case of older bags, simply numbers) that identify the date and location the bag was manufactured. The letters in the date code correspond to the country in which the bag was made and the numbers correspond the date. Refer to the handy guide below to help you decipher what your bag’s date code means. This can be particularly helpful when considering purchasing a vintage or used Louis Vuitton bag.
Note that unlike brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton does not include (and has not historically included) authenticity cards with its handbags.
The presence of a date code does not guarantee a handbag's authenticity, as counterfeiters are known to simply include date stamps in their fakes. At the same time, if your bag is missing a date code, don’t panic; the absence of a date code does not necessarily mean that the bag is not authentic. For example, date codes stamped on the alcantara fabric (a soft, microsuede-type material) used in lining some Louis Vuitton styles are known to fade, making them difficult to read, or disappear completely. This can happen with older purses, vintage purses, or ones that have had their linings cleaned.
Check to see if the country indicated by the two letter factory code (listed below) in your date code matches the "made in" country stamped on the bag. If, for example, your date code includes the letters SA (signifying Italy), yet the bag is stamped "Made in France", it is a sign of a fake.
A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS (Special Order), AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, DR, DU, DR, DT, CO, CT, CX, ET, FL (Also USA), LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD (Also USA), SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TJ, TH, TR, TS, VI, VX
BC, BO, CE, FO, MA, OB, RC, RE, SA, TD
CA, LO, LB, LM, LW, GI
FC, FH, LA, OS, SD (Also France), FL (Also France)
Year manufactured: 2007 - present
Features: Two letters followed by four digits. The first two letters represent the factory location. The first and third numbers represent the week of the year, and the second and forth numbers represent the year. For example, date code CA4181 indicates that the bag was made in Spain in the 48th week (November/December) of 2011.
Year manufactured: 1990-2006
Features: Two letters followed by four digits. The first two letters represent the factory location. The first and third numbers represent the month and the second and forth numbers represent the year. For example, “AR1004” would indicate that the bag was made in France in October of 2004.
Year manufactured: Early to late 1980s
Features: In the early to mid 1980s, three or four digits followed by two letters. In the late 1980s, two letters followed by three or four digits. The first two numbers represent the year, the next number(s) represent(s) the month and the letters represent the country. For example, "FC884" would indicate that the bag was made in the USA in April of 1988.
Year manufactured: Early 1980s
Features: Three or four numbers, no letters. The first two numbers represent the year and the last number(s) represent the month. For example, 823 indicates that the bag was made in March of 1982.
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