How to authenticate Coach bags

 If there is a place to come into contact with a large number of designer bags, authentic and counterfeit alike, it is among Goodwill’s donations! Coach is one of the designer brands I see most frequently, from Cashin-era all the way up to this season’s styles (OK…maybe last season’s). Thousands of bags later, I have picked up several ways to help determine the authenticity of Coach bags, and I’d like to share a few tips and illustrative photos.

General

  • First, know that some counterfeit bags appear to be nearly perfect and some authentic bags may seem a little imperfect.
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with Coach products in person. Visit a Coach store or authorized Coach retailer and learn how they feel and what they tend to look like. At least 50% of the counterfeit bags I see are obviously counterfeit due to clearly inferior quality.

Leather

  • Coach uses various types of leather, but something they all have in common is that they are of a nice quality. Coach leather is not stiff and doesn’t look or feel like plastic. Unless it has been severely mistreated and dried out, it does not crack or seem to be damaged if folded in half. Coach leather is also not paper thin and prone to peeling (though some is easy to scuff).
  • Different varieties of leather – pebbled and suede, notably, obviously feel different. Pebbled leather (like what D&B uses in all-weather bags) feels slightly firmer, for example. This does not mean the bag is counterfeit.

Signature bag fabric

  • In signature bags, the C pattern is properly aligned, generally either at a 90 degree or 45 degree angle.
  • The classic signature pattern should be straight and symmetrical with a pair of C’s starting in the middle and the rest of the pattern mirroring outward
  • Non-classic signature patterns don’t always follow this rule, including some Poppy, Patchwork, Optic, Tartan Plaid, and others done in different styles.
  • Coach tries to connect the classic signature pattern fabric at seams in ways that look attractive instead of messy. This by no means happens all the time, but if it has in your bag’s case, it is a good sign.

One authentic signature bag’s seams.

Lining

  • Older/classic Coach bags are unlined and look unpolished inside.You’ll see leather edges that look a bit messy as well as dye lines inside at the edges or underneath the pocket near the seam, where the bag color stops and the natural color of the leather can be seen.
  • Newer style bags are lined with various fabrics in solid colors, stripes, signature, logo, tattersall, and other patterns; again, the fabrics are of a nice quality, so fabric that feels cheap suggests counterfeit. There is a low-quality thin satin/acetate lining (sometimes with the Coach logo repeated on it) you’ll see often in fake bags, as well as a cotton/poly-like signature lining that feels notably thinner than what Coach actually uses.

These are a few (a very few!) fabrics you may see in a Coach bag including a beautiful satin in the middle. Note that signature lining (right) will not appear in a signature bag.

Authentic “legacy” striped satin lining.

  • With few exceptions, signature bags do not have signature lining. Some bags, like quilted bags with signature patches can still have signature lining.

Signature bag with signature lining. Counterfeit.

Stitching

  • Stitching can be a helpful tool when trying to determine authenticity, whether in person or from a photograph. It can be easier to see the quality of stitching in a photograph than it is to see leather quality.
  • For the most part the stitching of Coach bags is neat and even without major flaws like skipped stitches, wandering/sloppy lines, and asymmetry.

Examples of crooked lines and mistakes in stitch size.

  • Coach is not perfect. They sometimes sew an uneven stitch, especially notable on older bags, so don’t let a small flaw rule the authenticity of a bag out completely. Just keep it in mind as you look at other things.

Coach Creed

  • The Coach creed is stamped into leather, either in front of the interior pocket in an unlined bag, or on a leather square that has been stitched into the lining of a lined bag. Some newer bags have the creed printed in “handwriting” style font in metallic ink or a regular font in metallic ink instead of stamped into the leather.

An example of an authentic creed stamped in metallic ink in a handwriting-type font.

  • The creed in an authentic bag has no misspellings, typos, or words running into each other.

Some very obviously bad creeds – misspellings, typos, words running into one another, etc.

Here are some additional fake creeds, identifiable by the pressure of the stamper – one is way too light, the other is a bit heavy.

  • Creeds are not consistent in every way. Some are stamped a little more lightly than others (though they should always, always be readable), some have a different font size, some have justified alignment with weird spacing, some have left alignment, some center the last line, etc. It seems to depend on the country of manufacture, the age, and probably the factory.

A few creeds from authentic bags. Note that they differ in font and/or style, that’s OK!

  • Some smaller Coach items do not have creeds, like wristlets, wallets, pouches, some swingpacks, cosmetic cases & other small accessories.
  • The number on the creed is not a proper serial number on post-1994 bags; rather, these numbers represent the month, year & place of manufacture (before the dash) and the style (after the dash). The number of digits isn’t consistent.
  • Some older bags did not have numbers, just the creed. In some cases, the number was at some point pasted into the bag underneath the creed (there will be an empty rectangle where it used to be) but may have gone missing. Those will be New York City-made bags.
  • Each style is assigned its own style number, so if your bag was made 1994 or after (or you suspect it was), look it up. It may still be on Coach’s website, so start there. If it isn’t, do a google search for “Coach” and the style number (the numbers after the dash). This will usually give you some product search results or images. If the sellers or websites are trustworthy* compare your bag to the one in the photo. You can also search on purseforum.com’s Coach board, where the people are knowledgeable and may have had a past discussion about the bag you are researching.
  • Vintage and uncommon bags can be difficult to find images of because vintage bags do not have a style number and uncommon bags are uncommon. It may be best to simply ask about it on purseforum.com if you can’t find any information at all and all other signs point to authentic bag.

Hangtags, dust bags, price tags, cards & other accessories

  • Hangtags are not reliable for authentication as they are removable, nor are the rectangular hangtag or the lozenge hangtag reliable for authentication. There are fake hangtags on real bags, real hangtags on fake bags, missing hangtags, replacement hangtags, and real hangtags that look fake (Coach has used many variations over the years and many do not scream “high quality!”). If you authenticate a hangtag you have only authenticated the hangtag, not the bag to which it is attached.

Here is an authentic Coach hangtag from a vintage bag, just to illustrate that not all authentic hangtags are created equal, quality-wise.

  • Price tags, cards, dust bags, and any other accessory or paperwork can be faked, and sometimes real paperwork & accessories accompany a fake bag. Fake paperwork almost always indicates a fake bag. One way to identify paperwork as fake is by finding misspellings, typos, missed spaces, odd wording & other such issues.

Fake price tag on a fake bag. There should be more than a barcode and a string of numbers stamped inside. Real price tags have short descriptions of the item, and a price at the bottom (unless it has been removed).

  • Real paperwork, dust bags, etc do lend a bit of credibility to a bag but cannot be relied on as proof of authenticity. You must check everything else as well.
  • COMMON MYTH: a fake fob means a fake bag – untrue!

Zippers & hardware

  • Zippers sometimes move smoothly but sometimes don’t, so don’t let the latter throw you off completely.
  • YKK, Ideal, Talon, Riri, and Falcon are the zipper brands I most often see in Coach bags. Some of the older zippers (like Falcon) are marked underneath so the marking is hard (but not impossible) to see.

Vintage hardware was unsurprisingly different from modern hardware and is sometimes stamped “solid brass.”

  • When I have encountered bags with generic zippers on both the outside and inside the bags turned out to be fake, ultimately – however, it is not unusual for exterior zippers to be unbranded.
  • Of all Coach bags I’ve seen with COACH zipper pulls, they have been counterfeit. I have read that some authentic bags have had COACH embossed zipper pulls, but the ones in the photos are those I often see on fakes.

  • Many modern bags have the Coach logo imprinted on the hardware. It is sometimes subtle – on the inward-facing side of a buckle, for instance. The logo need not be on every piece of hardware or even the majority. Sometimes it might only be on one thing, and sometimes there are none at all.

Assorted authentic hardware, some stamped, some not.

A few examples – authentic stamped hardware, counterfeit stamped hardware.

  • The shape of the hardware is important to pay attention to. Some differences are very obvious if you pay attention.

Fake turnlock vs authentic turnlock.

  • COMMON MYTH: all authentic Coach bags have YKK zippers – untrue!

Country of manufacture

  • Most modern Coach bags are made in China, not the USA. The country of manufacture appears in the creed, but there are sometimes fabric tags sewn into the lining as well.

Coach may have “made in china” tags but they are never the cheap papery type.

  • I have seen authentic Coach bags made in the USA (many vintage bags are specifically marked New York City), China, Turkey, Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, India, Hungary, Philippines, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. There may be others as well.
  • Many counterfeit Coach bags are marked ‘made in Korea.’

*Reliable sources include Coach.com, authorized Coach retailers, purseforum.com, and other well-known/respected businesses and collectors. Reliable sources do not include websites that sell “replica” merchandise. Some individuals who sell Coach on eBay and other sites can be trusted to have authentic Coach that you can compare yours to, but many sell counterfeit items – use common sense and take care who you listen to.

NOTE: these tips are based on my own – that is to say, one Goodwill employee’s experiences and are not comprehensive, nor are they affiliated in any way with Coach. If you see something that is inaccurate please feel free to leave a comment!

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134 thoughts on “How to authenticate Coach bags

  1. Hello I recently purchased a coach wrislet online came with receipt tags looks brand new abd everything but I’m doubting it because the little white transparent tag inside says made in china chine so I’m confused to why it says chine? If you can please help me out thank you so much.. if you give me an email I can also send pictures to be sure.

  2. Thanks so much for your information. This is the most helpful thread that I have found. I love Coach but cannot afford the retail or even the outlet stores so I must rely upon the generous comments that you and others provide in order to find something authentic.

  3. https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973243908047151778
    https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973244035142762658
    https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973244111659119762
    https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973244180106476898
    https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973244307836013314
    https://picasaweb.google.com/m/viewer#photo/110450719093693654329/5551278870812695681/5973244388783529218
    Hi, i’ve posted these photos of my wristlet on picasa. Can you help me to see whether it’s authentic or not?
    I bought this through online deal and i’ve check with coach.com whether or not they have this product, they told me it’s a factory item. I’ve also check through many websites like yours about how to identify authentic coach product from counterfeit. Most of the points make me feel that this wristlet is real but there’s one or two points which make me doubted about it. I’m so confuse right now. Is it because like you said, even authentic item bought in coach boutique has some imperfection? The receipt shown that this wristlet is bought from coach factory outlet, potomac mall, virginia.
    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    • I’m sorry but the links you posted didn’t work for me. :(
      However, if the wristlet came with a receipt from a Coach Factory Outlet (the one you described does exist–I googled it) and it seems like it’s real, it’s probably real. If you are still unsure, let me know what made you doubt its authenticity and I can share my thoughts.

  4. Your site is very easy to understand and helpful, so thank you! I am trying to determine the authenticity of a bag the my husband purchased for me and it “seems” like it hits all the points…..except for the zippers — they don’t have the YKK mark. I know some weren’t made with that mark, but my gut is telling me something is wrong! It’s called the K04S-1416 East West Duffle Slouch. Honestly, it was very difficult to locate the name of this bag…… I Hope I’m right! Would you be able to tell me if this bag should have zippers with that mark?

    • As far as I can recall, Coach bags with zippers have at least one of them stamped with a brand name (usually the interior pocket zipper). Not necessarily YKK–the list of the ones I know about is in the guide. Be sure to check underneath the zippers as well rather than just on the sides. I don’t have any specific knowledge about that style, but it’s possible that one of the ladies on purseforum.com has the same bag and can give you a better idea. Best of luck, and I’m glad the guide was helpful otherwise. :)

    • Zippers don’t prove anything, and many fakes use fake YKK zippers. Please NEVER use a stamp on a zipper to authenticate a purse. Coach has used at least 8 different zipper brands that I’m aware of (many current bags have IDEAL zippers), and ANYONE can buy real OR fake YKK zippers.

      The Coach experts at thePurseForum will authenticate any Coach bags, keychains or other accessories – just register as a member, read the Forum Rules and FAQs, and follow the format set out in the first post of the Authenticate This Coach section and post clear photos. There’s no charge for the service – we do it to help protect people from getting cheated.

      BTW, if your style #1416 is genuine, its correct name is Legacy Large Soft Leather East-West Duffle.

    • Hello Karen-

      It looks fine to me. Sorry I didn’t get back to you before the end of the auction–I only get a chance to respond to comments on this post once a month or so. For more time-sensitive questions (like “is the bag in this auction authentic?”), purseforum.com will be a better bet.

      • Although “purseforum.com” will get you there, it redirects to the actual URL which is “forum.purseblog.com”. From there, go to Coach and then Coach Shopping

  5. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that you CAN authenticate a Coach Bag by the story patch numbers located on the inside of your bag. Here’s how, coach factory bags numbers will begin with an “F” followed by 5 numbers. The “F” obviously stands for “Factory”. Now if your bag has just 5 numbers alone it means your bag is a “Full Price” bag, meaning it came from the boutique stores. Most counterfeit bags won’t have the proper numbers on the story patch. Now if your questioning how I know these wonderful little tips, it’s because I work at coach ;) so hopefully this will help your future coach purchase outside of our stores.

    • Hi MissCoach. :)

      Thanks for the information. While I agree that it is possible to decipher the patch numbers to determine which type of store the bag was made for (factory outlet vs. boutique), date and place of manufacture, and style…it’s also possible to duplicate all of that in a counterfeit bag. It’s obviously a good sign if a bag I’m checking has appropriate numbers, but that alone can’t be used for authentication. Especially with popular, long-lived styles, it’s simple for a counterfeiter to duplicate the patches & numbers from authentic bags to use on their fakes. While many counterfeits won’t have the correct series of numbers, many others seem totally legit with the correct style numbers and date codes that fit. So as I said, it’s certainly a good sign when the numbers fit, but it’s important to check for other indications that the bag is, in fact, authentic. Thank you for the info and feedback!

    • Coach does NOT teach their employees how to authenticate bags. In fact their website states very clearly in the “Counterfeit Education” section that ” Coach DOES NOT authenticate merchandise or determine whether serial numbers match actual Coach items.” If you’re giving authenticity opinions at a Coach store, you’re violating company policy as well as misleading customers into making very expensive mistakes.

      As OURGOODWILLSTORE said, fakes can have valid creeds and serial numbers – why would you think that counterfeiters are too stupid to copy or invent a serial number? And what about bags made before the style numbers were part of the serial number? Do you even know when Coach started doing that? How do you “authenticate” those?

      I don’t mean to be insulting but for years I and other experienced authenticators have advised people NOT to take a suspect bag to a Coach store for authentication, because they usually get an incorrect answer.
      Send your customers with authenticity questions to The Purse Forum – forum DOT purseblog DOT com/coach/
      Please, NEVER tell someone their bag is genuine because “the numbers are what they’re supposed to be.”

  6. Hi, the creed on my purse doesn’t say where it was made. It says, “This is a coach bag. It was handcrafted from the finest materials” etc.. It just doesn’t mention where it was made. It also has one of those transparent “Made in Philippines” tags. Does that mean it’s fake?

    • Nope. The creed occasionally doesn’t mention the country–the bag only needs to be labeled with the country of manufacture in one place, and the transparent tag you mentioned would have that covered.

  7. I just wanted to say that I’ve read many sites about counterfeit/authentic coach items and I found yours to be the easiest to understand and I thank you for that! One more thing. Do you have anything concerning wallets? I have a leather wallet I purchased on eBay sometime ago and I am thinking now, it isn’t real! Thank you, maria

    • Hi Maria – thank you, I’m glad you found this helpful! I don’t have anything written about wallets, but if you’d like to upload some photos to photobucket or something or at least describe what makes you think it isn’t authentic, I’d be happy to share my opinion.

      • hi. i just sorted my coach bags and found the following: 1) K)768-06429, 2) L0694-10667, 3) F9P- 9309, 4) GOC- 9071. i’d like to know if these are all authentic as i am planning to sell. thank you.

      • Hello-
        I’m sorry, but I’m unable to provide authentications over the internet–any opinions I give here are only that. :)
        My opinions here shouldn’t be used as guarantees of authenticity, and definitely shouldn’t be used to back the supposed authenticity of bags being sold outside of the Goodwill organization for which I work. Sorry!
        There are some other services online that do provide actual authentications that can be used when selling- CarolDiva is one.

    • Hello – no Coach bag can be authenticated using the Creed patch number alone, sorry! The style number seems to belong to a diaper bag. Can’t say anything about authenticity, though. Good luck!

  8. hi there! ive read this post of yours and its is such a big help for us who are not connoisseur but love bags especially Coach bags.. if you can pls authenticate the swingpack i bought from a friendof a friend. she sells bag after purchasing it online accordingly. the bag has no serial number, no style number, no price tag, made in the philippines. i’ll be attaching photos so it will be easier to authenticate.. this is also my email address arix_sui@yahoo.ca. if you can send your response to my email address, would be such a huge favor. have a nice day :) and thank you so much

  9. I’ve been looking at coach purses Online for a Christmas Gift. & I’ve seen a Bag that has the word “Coach” inside the “C”. I wanted to know if that is a real design or if it’s a fake.

  10. Please authenticate: http://imgur.com/a/3VA0d. It’s supposedly an older series. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s a counterfeit.

    Some things I’ve noticed that may or may not help you determine authenticity: The first line of the creed reads “THIS IS THE BEST BAG” “SCARS. SCRATCHES. VEINS” has periods instead of commas. “FULL-GRAIN LEATHERS” has a hyphen between full and grain. And the creed ends with a comma, not a period.

  11. Hi I just bought a Coach bag at a local Goodwill and it looks authentic but I have doubts cause where the number is all is reads is NO-1959 and no other numbers.

    • There is usually a “No.” but then there should be a combination of numbers and letters after that, two sets separated by a dash. Like “No. C5D-9927″ – the amount of numbers and letters vary.

  12. This post really helps! The sewing on my bag is unnoticeable but once you look closely the sew of my bag is really bad. The creed on my bag has misspellings like thefinest and ourcommitment. I checked on the Coach website and there was no model like mine. Oh and can i ask you, the zipper holder which has the name Coach on it is Gold instead of leather. Is there bags like that?

  13. HI! I just bought a Coach purse from our local Good Will. Now, after doing some research..I think it is a fake but I’m not so sure. The creed has no number. After looking carefully at the stitching, there are double stitches in some areas. The zipper compartment inside the bag..it is lined with a satin fabric with C pattern. On the sides of the purse, the C’s are not perfectly lined up..like they just attached whatever extra C fabric they had. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Please help! It is too bad I took the tag off already, so I can’t return it anymore. This would be a great lesson learned.

    • Hi PM,

      Sorry to say, but definitely a fake. :( The stamp on the hardware is a dead giveaway as well, the stitching around the creed is too rounded at the corners (something I see on fakes all the time), the “Coach” logo stamp on the hang tag is too small, and then there are the things you mentioned. Now that you have experience looking at those things in person, it should be easier to spot those issues in other counterfeits. Sorry you lost your money on this one though! Best of luck next time. :)

      • I want to replace a small Couch bag that my wife owned but lost in the late 80’s or early 90’s. As I remember, it resembled the current Coach #17994 in size, but was maybe a little more square. Can you tell me which bag that might have been so I can search for one on ebay?

        Thanks
        Stan

      • Hi Stan – that’s very sweet of you. Unfortunately, Coach didn’t use style numbers until 1994, so if she had the bag in the 80s-early 90s it wouldn’t be as easy as finding the correct style number. My suggestion would be to browse google images, ebay, or etsy for “vintage coach bag” and see if anything catches your eye as being the correct shape. Best of luck!

  14. i want to buy a purse from a girl and I have no idea if its real or fake. serial number is f1098-f15534. I have pictures but don’t know how to upload. please help!!!

  15. I was given a Coach bag that I think may be older but I am having trouble authenticating it, even with the great pictures and descriptions that you have provided in the blog. Is it possible to send you images so you can provide further insight? Thank you.

    • If you like, upload them to photobucket or picasa or something and reply with the link and I’ll take a look. Alternatively, ask in Purseforum.com’s Coach “authenticate this” thread. They would probably be a bit more timely about getting back to you, since I generally only get a chance to reply to these comments once a month or so. Best of luck either way.

  16. I have bought a couple of small coach bags at a consignment store. They seem authenticate and are very well made, but the hang tags make me question. I have read not to authenticate a purse on its hang tag, but the “A” in coach does not come to a point. Is this a sure sign of a fake?

    • hmm…it does sound a bit questionable. Are these supposed to be newer bags, or vintage? There’s always a possibility of running into weird exceptions with vintage bags, but new ones tend to be pretty consistent as far as hangtags go and I would expect the A to be pointy.

  17. Hi. I have a coach bag that a family member gave me and she said that it is genuine. I want to be absolutely sure that it is because I want to sell it. I have no experience with coach bags at all and all the research I’ve been doing on it is not confirming for me if it is absolutely without a doubt genuine. It has a YKK stamped zipper and it has a black square tag inside on the side seam saying “Made In China”. There is no creed on this bag.
    In your opinion what do you think?

    • What kind of bag is it? Some of the smaller styles do not have creeds, so if it’s one of those it might be okay. The YKK zipper and black square made in China tag in the seam are correct. I can’t say anything for sure without seeing a photo, though.

  18. I recently bought coach bags that my friend selling and she told me that she ordered those bags thru online. She shipped that to me from US to philippines. There’s a tag inside with a plastic transparent stating made in philippines. My question is, is there a possibility that this coach bag came from US but made in philippines are authentic?

    • Yes, Coach has started using plastic transparent tags sometimes and they do make bags in the Philippines (that are then imported to the US) so it is possible that it is authentic. I can’t say for sure without seeing photos, though.

  19. I once read that C33-9848 is a fake creed number…C would stand for March, I think..but the 33?? Everything else on the purse looks authenthic…It has Coach Est 1941 on the black lining? Is this right??

    • 9848 is a style number for a demi flap bag. I haven’t heard anything about C33 being wrong for the prefix. It should stand for month/year/plant of manufacture. As far as I know, the letter would be the month, the first 3 would be 2003, and second would presumably be the plant/factory ID. The lining sounds correct.

  20. I’m glad it was helpful! The short answer is that no, they don’t always align. The bag in your link looks good for the most part, but I can see why the sides would catch your eye. They look sloppy. However…Coach isn’t perfect. It could be authentic.

  21. I am looking at a used bag for outtings. This seller has 2 of the same with the same creed # which seems the newer ones can have. There is NO bullseye type stamp on the creed and the number is this….NoE15-4263 (on both bags) . Just can’t seem to find if that # could be authentic or not???

    • Carla–

      It’s the last four numbers that are the style number and will appear in every bag of that style, so normally if you search for something like “Coach bag 4263″ you’ll be able to get an idea of whether or not that style actually exists. In this case, it doesn’t look promising. Sorry!

    • Whoops, sorry, this should have been addressed to Carla –

      Please understand, NOTHING CAN BE AUTHENTICATED WITHOUT PHOTOS. However, that serial number is valid for a Multifunction Tote, which was a large combo tote and diaper bag and came with a changing pad. That doesn’t prove it’s genuine, just that it MIGHT be.

      It was made in 2001 so you’re not likely to find any information about it anywhere online.

  22. I should also say that you can no longer call Coach to look up a Serial Number.. they read you this whole thing about how they no longer verify serial numbers because they want to avoid confirming serial numbers to people who makes fake bags.

    Really sucks:/

    • That’s too bad that they won’t help verify styles, though I can’t say I’m surprised. Their attitude has been “If you bought the bag from an authorized retailer it is authentic; if you bought it anywhere else it is counterfeit” for a long time. Which is too bad. They’ll never convince everyone to buy their bags brand new and stop second-hand sales of them, and if I were them I’d take advantage of that. Allow bags to be mailed into them and authenticated for a fee. If a bag was legit, they could return it to the customer with a CoA and be a bit richer. If the bag was counterfeit, they would be able to destroy it themselves, taking the fake bag out of the second-hand market…and still be a bit richer. Maybe someday, eh?

      • Their website says that they don’t authenticate serial numbers. Too many people think that because someone at Coach’s CS number (who aren’t even Coach employees, BTW, they woork for a Call Center service) says that Coach did make such-and-such a style number, that means their bag is genuine. There have been all kinds of problems because of it and I’m glad they don’t do it any more, or at least aren’t supposed to. You wouldn’t believe how insistent some fake owners are that their fake Coach must be real because “Coach authenticated it on the phone”.

        Please understand, NOTHING CAN BE AUTHENTICATED WITHOUT PHOTOS. However, that serial number is valid for a Multifunction Tote, which was a large combo tote and diaper bag and came with a changing pad. That doesn’t prove it’s genuine, just that it MIGHT be.

      • Coach did offer a for-pay authentication service, but dropped it a few years ago. My guess is that there just weren’t enough people qualified to do the job. I do Coach authentications at thePurseForum and the Ebay forums, and the details you have to know about each style are pretty overwhelming. To do it right you need detailed photos of EACH style, plus dependable information on when and where each style would have been made – sometimes a fake can look accurate in all the basic details but the crooks got the wrong dates in the serial number codes.

        I’ve been doing it and building a database of that kind of information for at least 7 years and there are still some questionable bags I can’t feel comfortable giving an opinion on. Newer styles especially are being faked in China and the Philippines and if you don’t have an actual genuine bag in that style you may never spot the fake.

        There are paid authentication services like Authenticate4U that have specialists in each major brand, and I’ve found their Coach authenticators to be pretty good. Most highly-faked designer brands like Coach, LV, Chanel, etc are complicated enough to require someone who specializes in that brand. No one can become an expert on all of them.

  23. Hi,
    I recently started selling a lot of mine and my mother’s things on Ebay (need the money at the moment).. and she’s been handing me old purses after purses to sell that she no longer wants. She has well over 50 different handbags.. a lot of authentics, but there are some that aren’t real. The problem is she’s forgotten where she’s bought a couple of them-__- So I’ve been going through this whole daunting task of trying to find out which are real lol..
    I have this one Coach Purse that I’m stumped on and I was hoping you could help me.. it’s definitely made of genuine leather, it has the tag on the strap that states “Coach” with the stitching around it, the stitching allover the bag is really great, it closes with a Magnetic Snap Button, the Lining is a soft light beige color, it has one zipper pocket on the inside with a plain beige zipper (the same color as the bag), and the Label on the inside reads as followed (beneath the word “Coach”)..

    “THIS IS A COACH BAG. IT WAS HANDCRAFTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF COMPLETELY NATURAL CLOVE TANNED COWHIDE. THE VARIATIONS IN THE GRAIN ARE CHARACTERISTIC OF NATURAL FULL-GRAIN LEATHER.”

    Beneath that it states “No NT-4143″ (The o has a _ beneath it).
    And also, on the front bottom corner, in the leather it says COACH, and beneath that it says NEW YORK.

    The “New York” part kind of threw me off.. but I can’t find anything on the internet telling me if that’s an indication of a fake. Aside from that, it’s an old bag.. and it does have some marks on it (from being buried under countless other purses for awhile lol).. in case you were wondering from the pictures.
    Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks!:)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/96312373@N06/

    • Hi Veronica–

      Unfortunately, that bag doesn’t look right to me. I usually only see the “New York” stamped under “Coach” like that on the metal plaques they put on some of their non-leather bags. I haven’t seen every type of bag they’ve ever made though, and some of their styles always seem a little off to me, so for a second opinion you might try purseforum.com. If I saw it here I wouldn’t risk us selling it, but I always err heavily on the side of caution when it comes to authenticity. Best of luck!

    • A serial prefix starting with “NT” is ALWAYS fake. Coach prefixes never have just 2 digits, whether number or letter, and N isn’t a valid month code.

      If you have a lot of bags to authenticate you really should join thePurseForum. You can post pics of the Coaches a few at a time and know within hours whether they’re genuine or not. Selling a fake on Ebay, even without knowing, can cause a lot of problems and lead to listing removal and selling restrictions.

  24. I recently purchased a Coach bag off of Ebay, it is the Pop C Duffle, the C’s are in the middle like you said before and go outward, the material fells like my others that I know are real, but there was a clear plastic tag on the onside that said made in china and there is not a Coach stamped on any metal pieces of the bag either so I’m wondering if it is authentic or not?

    • Jojo–

      I haven’t encountered a clear plastic ‘made in China’ tag in a Coach bag yet. The ones I have seen are fabric. However, I have seen tags like that in some other designer bags and I haven’t personally seen the style you mentioned, so it’s a possibility that it’s correct for that bag. Not all metal hardware has the ‘Coach’ stamps so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Someone on purseforum.com might own the bag themselves and be able to tell you for certain whether or not yours is okay.

    • Jojo, Coach just recently started using new “Made In…” tags in some of their bags. They’re not completely clear, more like semi-transparent, and they’re long and thin instead of squarish like the older tags and are either plastic or some kind of coated material that feels slick like plastic.

      I just bought a Willis at the outlet and it had one of those tags in it so no one should be worried that the tag isn’t right. Again, it doesn’t prove the bag is genuine but it doesn’t mean it’s fake either.

    • Hi Tina–

      There are some small Coach bags that don’t have the creed patch and number, including some of the small swingpacks. Most things about it look legit–the turnlock, the stitching style, etc. However, I couldn’t find this particular bag for sale or featured on a reputable website. That doesn’t mean it’s fake, but I’m always wary when that happens. To be 100% certain, consider asking the ladies at purseforum.com. One or more of them might own the same bag and know what to look for.

  25. Congratulations on a very good Guide, it’s one of the most accurate ones I’ve come across.

    You might add that along with China and the Philippines, recent Coach styles have also been made in India and Vietnam.

    Regarding the C alignment, there are at least half a dozen style lines along with some Scribbles and Patchworks where the C pattern isn’t “centered”, including Scarf Prints, Optic Signature (where the Cs are several different sizes and scattered randomly across the fabric so that it looks almost 3-dimensional) and some recent styles made for the Factory Outlets especially in Tartan Plaid fabrics. A handful of styles even have the pattern at a 45-degree angle.

    The bag Lily asked about on March 26 looks like a genuine Compact Pouch to me too. And I agree with your suggestion that anyone not sure whether a bag, keychain, scarf, or any other Coach item that they’ve bought or are thinking of buying is genuine should ask at thePurseForum’s “Authenticate This Coach” thread.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for your comments, Hyacinth. I appreciate the additional info you provided–I’ve made many of the same observations, but haven’t had a chance to edit the guide in a while. I’m making a note to myself to do so when I have a moment. Thanks again. :)

  26. Hi, I just bought a coach bag from an online seller and i wonder if its authentic or not. Every description of the bags matches the authentic one,evertthing is perfect, only that inside the bag there is this fabric tag “made in the philippines” do you think its authentic?thank you so much

      • I am interested in purchasing several bags from one of my local Facebook yard sale sites and these sites seem to be overrun with folks selling fake coach bags! Most of these I have been able to spot as fake right away ( thanks to your posts)!!! However sometimes I run across one that I just can’t determine it’s authenticity.

        Ok question- if serial number has no letters is this always a fake – such as one bag I’m watching now is listed as 60749-11356 also this seems like too many numbers?

        Second question- on the leather creed- I have seen several bags where the creed is centered ( not the new gold writing creeds) and there is a lot more empty space on both sides of the leather patch. Almost all others I have seen fill up the entire space on the patch. The wording matches and spelling but the spacing is different. (Sorry I know this question is confusing- I’m going to go back and search those sites to try and copy the photos to post here if that is ok)

        Thanks in advance for any assistance! I don’t want to waste any money on a fake handbag and I also want to be sure I can help my fellow site members avoid the same mistake!

      • Hello!

        Could it be that one of the numbers is actually a letter? A ‘G’ in place of the ‘6’ for example? It seems to me that there’s normally at least one letter in the first set of numbers, but then again they don’t have absolute consistent rules that I’m aware of. They might change their codes to consist completely of numbers for some factories. If everything about the bag appeared authentic and the only questionable thing was the possible lack of a letter in the numbers, I wouldn’t really worry about the lack of a letter.

        Also, as for the length– a lot of their bags are getting long numbers like that, so I wouldn’t worry.

        As for the centered creeds with a lot of empty space, that sounds weird for an embossed creed. Sometimes they center the last line, but mostly the text is justified. I would feel more confident actually seeing photos. Feel free to link to them if you’d like.

  27. I just bought a coach bag from the coach outlet website cut when I got it it had to little plastic tags in side one it the purse saying mad in china the WRISTlet says made in the pillipinness. Is it really they came with the thing saying they came from one coach way site. But why r there little pastic tags in the bag?

    • Hi Jennifer-
      I’m not sure what you mean by plastic tags. What do they look like? Are they small and sewn into the seam? Clear plastic, white plastic? Etc. Coach bags are made in China and the Philippines, so that’s okay, but the “made in” tags I’ve seen have been cloth.

  28. I recently bought a vintage coach purse from eBay, but strongly felt that it’s fake. The leather & the suede inside (especially the part under the flap) is very inferior, which causes very major and bad wrinkles (making the bag looks collapsed). I’ve bought quite a number of vintage coach bags before. Even leather varies but it’s always firm and in good qualities – easy to be reconditioned. Also this purse comes with a fake hangtag (with the word coach on both sides – all others that I’ve seen for the vintage ones only have “Coach” on one side, and the other is suede. The seller refuses to refund for a return. I’m thinking about reporting the case to eBay, but would like to have your opinion first. I’ll include the original listing below, but pictures are dark and not clear enough to show the problems and therefore I got misled. Thanks.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Coach-Companion-Flap-Crossbody-Bag-Purse-Handbag-United-States-/151011309231?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&nma=true&si=4afNfk%252BaeWNscR4kj7%252B0uEhiBF8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

    • Hello Lily,

      Based on the photos, my impression is that the bag is authentic. The issues you mentioned sound consistent with many vintage Coach bags. Vintage hangtags, for example, were often made of two pieces of leather back-to-back, suede sides glued together and smooth sides both stamped with the Coach logo to make a double sided tag. Vintage Coach bags are really varied in materials. It isn’t uncommon for the leather of a vintage bag to be floppy and extra pliable, especially in that classic sort of bag with the large flap folding down over the entire front. That style doesn’t require leather that holds its shape.

      Sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but I do feel that your bag is authentic.

  29. Hello Christine,
    I just stumbled upon your Tacoma Goodwill store, blog spot, and got about half way through the first paragraph on tips for authenticating Coach bags, and recognized your words o
    f wisdom. I had been a member of purseforum.com and posted a few times in the Coach Board. I thought you had a wealth of information to share and your posts helped me in learning more about how to authenticate Designer, and Designer vintage items, in general. I know enough about Coach, Gucci, Swarovsky, and a few other names, to be a tad dangerous.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on Coach; your information is invaluable.

    Kat

    • Hi Kat,
      Christine runs the main Tacoma Goodwill facebook and other social media; this blog/article was written by staff from the online sales department. Thank you for your kind words, though!

  30. I bought a coach bag and the numbers match, the creed is correct the c’s are centered right all the zippers have the ykk and stamped into the leather portion (side of bag) hidding out of sight is the hourse and buggy, below that is the word coach, (yes its outlined right here two) below that is the word leatherware, below that is est 1941 it has the correct color liner. No B0969-13642 yes it is the ali sateen sig in tan/gold. Does it sound real?

  31. Hello,
    I am a bit perplexed regarding the hardware of a Coach Bag I bought that had all the traits of being authentic except for one thing. The bag fits the characteristic from some research I’ve done from being made between the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s. The zippers are marked YKK everywhere, including inside and all the hardware appears to be brass but the zipper track itself is plastic. One of the pictures of an authentic bag in the above article appears to have the metal hardware and a plastic zipper track. Did/do authentic Coach bags ever make plastic zipper tracks? Would I be able to send you a picture for you to see?
    Thanks!

    • Hello Michele,
      Yes, some authentic bags have plastic zipper tracks instead of metal. If everything appears to be legit and that was your only worry, I’d bet that it’s real. :)

  32. Hi,

    Thank you for your guide, after reviewing it and comparing it to my purchase, I’m still scratching my head…

    I recently purchased a coach ( or what I thought was a coach bag on ebay) I bought it from an awesome ebay giving works seller, but not sure I got the real thing. I purchased the 10125 signature tote, but the gold lettering on the creed is worn off, but still engraved in and some of the gold tone hardware is rubbed silver–do you know if coach uses solid brass only?

    Can I send you a link to my listing ( ended )?

    I have a feeling in my gut its a fake, but don’t want to return to a givingworks store :( any help sincerely appreciated!

    • Hi Lulu,

      Feel free to send me that link–I’d be happy to take a quick look at it. They don’t always use solid brass hardware so I can’t say for certain based on that, but I might be able to pick something else up looking at the listing.

  33. Recently i bought a coach madison floral small wristlet and found out that the rose printed on the fabric has slightly different compare to some i saw online. As i saw through other websites, some roses were up and down or right and left or maybe there is only one big rose in the middle. Can this be considered fake?

  34. There is a coach purse I want but… It doesn’t have c on it rather it has horse drawn coaches on it… Real or fake

  35. Hi, I am wondering if coach ever uses bonded leather? I purchased a coach brown leather madison maggie bag – everything seems like excellent quality,seams, lining, hardware, creed, straps are obviously quality leather – but when I pull up the edge of the inside seam – so I can see the bottom of the leather – it seems to be white fibers – not obviously plastic, but almost like bonded leather. This is a very very soft and shiny leather. How good are the really good fakes?

  36. I purchased a patchwork scribble tote on eBay. Everything about it looks authentic except it has a signature lining. I heard this usually means it’s fake????? If it is, it’s a darn good one! Do some patchwork bags have signature lining? Is there another way I can tell? I’ve seen several of this same tote and some have plain brown lining and others signature lining. Should I report seller and ask for refund?

  37. I recently order 8 bags from Coach outlet online and the bags came from China. They have the inside leather tag, but with no ID #’s…They retail fro 260.00 and I bought them at 59.00 Are they authentic??

    • Sorry to hear you were duped into buying fake bags; I strongly suspect that they are counterfeit. As far as I know, the only authorized “Coach Outlet” online is http://www.coachfactory.com – if you got them there, they are authentic. If you got them from another website calling itself a Coach outlet, and especially if they have no numbers, they are counterfeit. As for China: most Coach bags are made in China these days, but be wary of any seller who ships bags from China. Also be wary of any website offering extremely discounted new Coach bags. You can get deals from the Factory Outlet and ShopGoodwill.com or honest sellers on eBay, but Coach bags are expensive and someone selling an authentic new bag for $200 less than retail is extremely unlikely.

  38. Pingback: New/Old Coach Handbag Love <3 « fiercefrugalfashion

    • This is the best resource!!! thanks so much for the VERY HELPFUL Info!! I just purchased two VINTAGE – and i mean REAL VINTAGE as in 1970’s series bags and your info defined the second bag’s authenticity – tht was the only bag truly questionable – the first one there is no doubt!! you have med me fee like royalty about my $22.00 investment!!! LOL thanks so much!!

  39. I just purchased a leather coach bag and It does not have anything on the zipper or a patch inside showing that this bag is a coach. Does that mean it is fake?

    • Hi Chloie,

      If the bag is missing the Coach Creed, it is not authentic. Some small Coach items (ie: wristlets) do not have the Creed inside, usually just a dark colored fabric “made in China” tag, but regular bags should always have the Creed. It’s also a bad sign if none of the zippers have markings. Sorry!

    • Hi Christine –

      If you purchased them from coachfactory.com, they should be fine. They (apparently) do make bags in the Philippines now, though I’ve yet to see one personally. Coachfactory.com is as far as I know an authorized extension of Coach Factory stores, which are legit.

  40. Thank you so much for this information. I was given a Coach bag as a gift and I was able to determine it was a fake. The leather stamp inside my purse had a typo of “teimmed leather” instead of “trimmed leather” and the lining inside and out had the CC logo on it, which is not what real Coach bags have. Thanks again!!

  41. all of this information has been very helpful. i compared it with my authentic purse and with a counterfeit bag. thank you so much.

  42. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to authenticate Coach bags « Tacoma Goodwill E-Sales -- Topsy.com

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