How to Decode (and Authenticate!) Your Hermès Bag

Maybe you purchased a pre-owned Hermès bag recently and now you’re wondering if it’s the real deal. Maybe you’re just browsing Hermès bags online and you’re unsure how to tell if a bag is authentic or not. Whatever the case may be, now you find yourself going doing a rabbit hole on the internet, learning all about authentic and fake bags, hearing horror stories of what happens when you buy a bag that’s a counterfeit.

But that doesn’t need to happen to you. You can purchase a Hermès bag that you can be, if not 100% sure it’s real, at least mostly sure, thanks to a few methods of decoding these bags and authenticating them. While it’s not as good as having the expertise of an authenticator on your side, these methods should give you at least a little more peace of mind.

The Hermès Date Stamp

Nearly every time someone wants to authenticate something, they ask for a serial number. However, a lot of luxury handbags don’t come with what we would traditionally think of as a serial number. Instead, they have something like a date stamp.

Hermès handbags feature a date stamp (sometimes also called a blind stamp or craftsmen stamp) that tells you when the item was manufactured. All Hermès leather items made after 1945 feature this stamp and the stamp tells you the exact year the item was made.

Do note, though: Even if a Hermès handbag features a date stamp, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the handbag is 100% real. Many counterfeit bags likewise feature a fake date stamp. However, if you do find that your bag does not have one of these, and the bag was manufactured after 1945, that means that it’s a counterfeit.

Also, don’t be worried if your bag has the same date stamp as another bag. That’s not a sign of counterfeiting. Unlike serial numbers, which always need to be different for each unique item, date stamps are identical on all bags made that same year.

You can find the date stamp on the inside of the bag, beneath the bag tab or on the inside of the strap. Depending on the type of bag you have and the year it was made, it may be in a different spot. Typically, Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags feature the date stamps on either the interior panel or exterior strap. The Hermès Constance bag, however, typically places the stamp on the interior panel only.

But don’t think that this stamp will just merely say a date. While it is a date stamp, that’s a bit of a misnomer, as the stamp is more of a code. Instead of a date, the stamp will give you a single letter. Sometimes, the letter will feature a circle or square around it.

If your bag features a letter with no circle or square, and you know for a fact the bag was manufactured before 2014, that means the bag was made sometime between 1945 and 1970. Each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a different year, with A corresponding to 1945, B corresponding to 1946 and so on and so forth, until you get to Z, which corresponds with 1970.

After that, you get into the stamps that are letters with circles. An A with a circle around it stands for 1971, while a B with a circle around it stands for 1972 and so on until you get to 1996, which will be indicated by a Z with a circle around it.

Then, you get into the letters with squares. The letters with squares around them only go from A (1997) to R (2014). After that, Hermès dropped the circles and squares and went back to letters only, but the letters aren’t consistent or alphabetical. R corresponds to 2014, T to 2015, X to 2016, A to 2017, C to 2018, D to 2019 and Y to 2020.

Other Hermès Authenticators

In addition to the Hermès date stamp, you can also sometimes find another stamp next to the date stamp that shows the workshop where the bag was made.

There’s also a stamp that says “Hermès, Paris, Made in France.”

Additionally, an extra stamp can be used to indicate the leather the bag is made from. This smaller stamp is found next to the larger “Hermès, Paris, Made in France” stamp. If the bag was made from Crocodile Porosus, the stamp will be a carat. If the bag was made from Varanus Niloticus Lizard, the stamp will be a dash. If the bag was made from Crocodile Niloticus, the stamp will be two dots. If the bag was made from Varanus Salvator Lizard, the stamp will be an equal sign. And, lastly, if the bag was made from Alligator Mississippiensis, the stamp will be a square.

Additional stamps in this same general area could include a horseshoe, which means the bag is a custom Hermès item, or a shooting star, which means the bag was made for the individual maker’s own use.

All of these are elements to keep an eye out for, but, again, they’re not a 100% guarantee of authenticity. These stamps can be replicated, and some very real Hermès bags don’t have these stamps at all, if they’re over a certain age.



The Best Way to Guarantee You’re Buying an Authentic Hermès?

The best way to guarantee you’re always buying an authentic Hermès is to purchase your handbag from a reputable seller — like Luxury in Reach.

As mentioned, none of these stamps are surefire, always-right indicators of an authentic Hermès bag. You can find authentic bags without the above, but you can also find counterfeit bags that tick all the boxes. That’s why it’s so important to have an expert authenticator on your side.

Our team purchases only authenticated bags from pre-owned sellers around the country and then we make sure that they’re 100% real before we pass them on to you. When you shop the Luxury in Reach online store (or at our retail location), you can be assured that every single item has been authenticated by the experts. We use a mixture of years of experience and even AI technology in our authentication process, for results you know you can trust.

So, if you’ve been shopping for your perfect, pre-owned Hermès bag, but you’re just scared to make the investment at the risk of buying something fake, now’s your time to make that big purchase.

Check out our lineup of Hermès bags. We have more than 40 Hermès handbags to choose from, including a wide selection of the much-coveted Birkin bags.


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Want to Sell your Hermès Bag?

Not in the market for buying an Hermès handbag, but rather want to sell your pre-owned Hermès? The selling process with Luxury in Reach is easy. All you must do is submit a quick online form with all the information we need about your item. Then, if we think it’s a good fit, we’ll send you a free shipping label. Ship us your item, we’ll authenticate it and then you get paid within two to four business days. It’s that easy.

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