Owning a Louis Vuitton handbag is a symbol of luxury and dreams coming true. But when it comes to purchasing one, things aren’t always cut and dry—especially with the rising number of fakes out there. 

According to Entrupy’s 2023 “State of the Fake” report, Louis Vuitton was the most authenticated brand from 2017 - 2022. Of the fakes that Entrupy identified, 50.9 percent were Louis Vuitton products.

So, how can you tell if the Louis Vuitton handbag you’re about to purchase is a fake instead of the real deal?

This guide will teach you how to authenticate a Louis Vuitton handbag so that you can rest assured that you're investing in the real thing.

Louis Vuitton Circle Bag Charm Key Holder

How Do You Authenticate A Louis Vuitton Handbag? 

There’s no way around it—you need luxury authentication technology in order to authenticate designer handbags. 

The market for counterfeit luxury goods is incredibly sophisticated. Fakes today are often so well-crafted that distinguishing them from genuine articles can stump even experienced authenticators. From precise stitching to near-perfect logos and hardware, the level of detail in some replicas can lead to costly mistakes. 

So for anyone serious about purchasing an authentic Louis Vuitton bag, using technology to aid in authentication is no longer just an option; it's an essential. 

AI authentication technology such as Entrupy is a game-changer in the fight against counterfeit luxury goods. Advanced machine learning algorithms and microscopic imaging to analyze various aspects of a handbag, reducing human error and the subjectivity that comes with manual authentication processes. 

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The Key Features Of An Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbag

There are five key features of an authentic Louis Vuitton bag. These features are the practice to identifying a fake from a true LV handbag. 

Feature 1: The Monogram

Traits of a genuine monogram

An authentic Louis Vuitton bag features a precisely crafted monogram. The letters "L" and "V" are interlocked in a consistent pattern across the material. 

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 The monogram should be symmetrical and evenly spaced, with the design aligning perfectly on seams and edges. The colors are rich and vibrant, typically in shades of gold and brown on coated canvas.

Traits of a fake monogram

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags often have irregularities in the monogram pattern. You might notice misalignment at seams or edges, inconsistent spacing, and letters that appear distorted or uneven. 

The colors can look dull or overly bright, lacking the depth and richness of the genuine article. The material may feel cheap and lack the texture of authentic Louis Vuitton-coated canvas.

Feature 2: The Material 

Traits of a genuine material

Authentic Louis Vuitton bags are crafted from high-quality materials. The most iconic is the coated canvas, which features a distinct texture—smooth with a slight graininess to the touch. 

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Shop this authenticated Louis Vuitton Monogram Artsy MM! 


Leather trims and handles should be smooth, with a slight sheen, and will develop a patina over time. The stitching is precise and uniform, using high-quality thread that matches the color of the leather.

Traits of a fake material

Fake Louis Vuitton bags often use inferior materials. The coated canvas might feel stiff or overly flexible. Instead of the subtle graininess, counterfeit material can feel plasticky or too smooth. 

Leather trims and handles may appear glossy or plastic-like and won't develop a patina. 

Counterfeit bags frequently have inconsistent stitching, with loose threads or uneven spacing. The overall feel of the bag may be off—which should raise a red flag on whether the bag is legit or not.

Feature 3: The Stitching

Traits of genuine stitching

Authentic Louis Vuitton bags boast impeccable stitching. Each stitch is uniformly spaced, tight, and consistent, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship. 

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Check out this authenticated Louis Vuitton Monogram Boite Chapeau Souple Crossbody!

The thread used matches the color of the leather, adding to the overall elegance. Count the stitches per inch on the handles—there should be a precise number, typically five.

Traits of fake stitching

On fake Louis Vuitton bags, stitching is where corners are often cut. You'll notice uneven spacing, loose threads, and sometimes even different colors of thread. The leather is pale in comparison to the yellow thread that is used most commonly, and literally does not match. 

The craftsmanship is clearly lacking. If the stitches per inch on the handles don't match up to five, you’re likely looking at a fake. 

Feature 4: The Hardware

Traits of genuine hardware

Authentic Louis Vuitton bags feature high-quality hardware, typically made from brass or gold-colored metal. The hardware should feel heavy and solid, with a smooth, polished finish. 

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Zippers, clasps, and buckles are engraved with the Louis Vuitton logo and move seamlessly without catching. The quality is evident in the smooth operation and durability.

Traits of fake hardware

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags often have hardware that feels light and flimsy, made from cheaper materials. The finish may appear dull or overly shiny, and the engraving of the Louis Vuitton logo can be shallow or poorly executed. 

Zippers and clasps might catch or feel rough when used. These small details are tell-tale signs of a lack of quality and authenticity.

Feature 5: The Date Code

Traits of a genuine date code

Since 1980, and up until 2021, all authentic Louis Vuitton bags included a date code, which is a hallmark of its origin. The date code is typically stamped or embossed on the interior, often on a leather tab inside a pocket or along a seam. 

It follows a specific format: two letters representing the factory location, followed by four numbers indicating the month and year of manufacture. For example, a code reading "SD1189" would mean the bag was made in France (SD) in the 18th week of 1999. 

Traits of a counterfeit date code

Counterfeit bags often get the date code wrong. You might find codes that don't follow the proper format or are missing entirely. Sometimes the code is printed instead of stamped, or it's located in an unusual place. 

Fake bags made before 2021 might reuse the same code across multiple items, or lack it altogether. These discrepancies are significant red flags and suggest the bag is not a genuine Louis Vuitton piece.

Here’s a quick rundown of the five major changes so you can properly identify them:

  • Early Days (1980s): Initial codes used three or four digits, indicating the year and month of manufacture (e.g., "853" for March 1985).
  • Late 1980s to Early 1990s: Codes were updated to two letters (location) followed by three or four digits (year and month).
  • 1990s to Early 2000s: The format became two letters followed by four digits. The first and third digits represented the week, and the second and fourth digits represented the year (e.g., "AR1004" for the 10th week of 2004).
  • 2007 to 2021: The code remained the same but was further refined to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • 2021 Onwards: Louis Vuitton introduced a microchip system embedded within the bags, phasing out traditional date codes to enhance anti-counterfeiting measures.
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See this authenticated Louis Vuitton Monogram Neonoe MM Bag up close and personal! 

How to Purchase a Pre-Owned Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbag 

Shopping for a Louis Vuitton bag can be exciting, but it's important to take precautions to avoid counterfeit items. Here are some tips for safe shopping:

  • Buy from Reputable Sources: Stick to official Louis Vuitton stores or trusted luxury consignment shops like SoHo Luxury Exchange.

  • Research the Seller: Check reviews and ratings. Reputable sellers will have positive feedback and a history of satisfied customers.

  • Ask for Documentation: Request proof of authenticity, such as original receipts, certificates, or professional authentication reports.

  • Examine Photos Carefully: When shopping online, scrutinize all provided photos. Look for clear images of the date code, monogram, stitching, and hardware.

  • Be Wary of Deals Too Good to Be True: If the price seems too low for a Louis Vuitton bag, it’s likely a fake. Authentic luxury items retain their value.

  • Use Secure Payment Methods: Pay through secure methods that offer buyer protection, such as credit cards or trusted payment services like PayPal.

Authenticating Louis Vuitton Handbags: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my Louis Vuitton purse is real?

You can check key features like the monogram, material, stitching, hardware, and date code against authentic examples. You can also use a reputable verification company such as Entrupy, or shop at a luxury bag vendor who is Entrupy verified

Can I check my Louis Vuitton serial number?

Louis Vuitton bags have date codes, not serial numbers. If your bag was produced before 2021, you can use these codes to verify authenticity via trusted resources or apps.

How to get a Louis Vuitton bag authenticated?

You can have your bag authenticated by professional services like Entrupy or reputable luxury consignment shops like SoHo Luxury Exchange.

Trust SoHo Luxury Exchange for Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags

Our passion is luxury fashion without the hassle, scams, and fees. We are a team of personal, trusted experts with 13+ years of consignment experience. Even better—we are an Entrupy verified business and we take authenticating bags seriously! 

Explore our collection of authenticated Louis Vuitton bags now.