Authentic Vintage Louis Vuitton Bags

 

This guide will teach you how to authenticate a Louis Vuitton Keepall bag.

This guide will help you purchase vintage Louis Vuitton collectibles by sharing the knowledge and skills required to authenticate the Louis Vuitton Keepall.  The Louis Vuitton bag has centuries of history and dozens of iterations. The Keepall has inspired flattery and imitation throughout the years. Although this authentication guide is specific to the Keepall bag in Monogram Canvas, most principles are helpful for authenticating other designs and bags from Louis Vuitton.  Hopefully after reading this guide, you feel more comfortable purchasing a vintage Louis Vuitton bag. 

Purchase from reliable Dealers

If you want to purchase an authentic bag, buy from a reliable, trusted aftermarket dealer.

 

Buy a Jewelers Loupe

The magnification capability of a loupe allows for more precise inspection. This intricacies of a bags construction.  This is necessary for 100% certainty in authentication of luxury bags. 

For example, I recognize the authenticity of LV leather by look at the patterns of the pores of the animal hide.  I inspect the intricate details of the Keepall, Damier, or Monogram print. If you are serious about your purchases, order a loupe online and use it to inspect the details of your newly purchased luxury goods. 

Check the Production Codes

Learning to interpret the significance of the bags production code is crucial to knowing the year of manufacture of the bag.  Since bags from different years have slightly different designs, the bag design and production code must match up for the bag to be authentic.  The two letters of the code give the location of the factory where the bag was made, and the three or four numbers represent the year. The LV datestamp is a production code because it refers to the location and time period of the pieces manufacture.  Some of the bespoke pieces custom ordered from LV will have serial numbers, such as trunks and presidential briefcases. 

Count the Stitching

The stitching used by the real Louis Vuitton keepall is a linen thread that is dyed yellow with beeswax.  Many places on the bag will have the same number of stitches on every single product.  The speedy bag, for example, will have the same number of stitches on each side of the vachetta leather tab that connects the handle to the canvas/leather of the bag’s body.  The stitching should be slightly diagonal (overlain upon itself slightly with each new stitch). This is a product of the hand-stitching technique employed by Vuitton artisans.

Compare at the store

Bring your bag into the store and compare in key areas with the real thing; however, just because you bag is not the exact same design does not mean that it is counterfeit, as the products are changed slightly throughout the years. 

Handle

The LV Keepall has a handle constructed from a single piece of cow leather (called torino leather).  This leather should acquire a honey-brownish patina over time from weathering and contact with the hand.  A fake bag will not exhibit this characteristic change over time, nor beautifully crease with age.  

 LV Keepall Made in USA in February 1989

LV Keepall Made in USA in February 1989

Smell

Does the bag have hint of a plastic-like, factory smell similar to a brand new toys-R-us product?  If so, it’s probably a counterfeit.  A vintage bag should smell vintage.  It should have the hints of usage, or even the musty smell of sitting in someone’s closet for twenty years.  This might be the easiest way to identify a real bag, yet many people don't realize the importance of smell in authentication.

Receipts & Boxes

A receipt does not mean the product is authentic.  A box does not mean the product is authentic. Many of the counterfeits available in China come with forged receipts that cleverly imitate the details of a real Louis Vuitton receipt.  The only indicator that a product is authentic is the product itself, not the accessories.  Nevertheless, the inclusion of an authentic box, bag, or receipt will increase the resale price of a vintage bags

Sourcing

If you are buying it outside of the Louis Vuitton store, you need to realize that around 90% of LV logo bags in circulation are counterfeit.  Ebay, Poshmark, Etsy, and other sites are not safe places to buy unless you REALLY know what you are doing.  Buying from the original store is the ONLY way to be 100% certain that what you are getting is authentic; however, working with a skilled gray-market dealer can save you 50% to 90% of retail prices.  With this in mind, it is important to buy from trusted people who have a history of dealing with luxury goods.

Monogram/Damier Pattern

With experience this step becomes second nature, but for a first time buyer, understanding the proper color, texture, sizing, and placement for the monogram logo is important.  keepall bags will have the monogram wrap around in one-piece, with one side purposefully upside down from this design.  Some bags are cut with pattern blocks that allow both sides to be facing upwards (Alma and Bucket are some examples).

 

Ask for Authentication

Just send us a message and we will provide authentication for your Louis Vuitton Keepall and other Louis Vuitton bags.

 

Bring the Bag to the Shop for Repair

Store Employees are not trained to authenticate their bags.

 If you bring in a product to be sent in for repair and it is counterfeit, they will send you a letter telling you that “it was not fit to be repaired."  If the bag is counterfeit, it will be confiscated and destroyed in the process.  Another method I have heard is to use the free monogramming service.  They will not monogram a counterfeit product, and will instead return the product to you.

Invest in a Jewelers Loupe

If you are serious about your purchases, order a loupe online and use it to inspect the details of your newly purchased luxury goods.  The magnification is necessary for skilled authentication of luxury bags.  The more practice and experience you accumulate, the more easily you will recognize the substantial differences between counterfeit and authentic products.

For example, I recognize the authenticity of LV leather by look at the patterns of the pores of the animal hide.  I look at the keepall damier or monogram print to see if the tiny patterns of dots are the same as the real bags.

Check the Details!

There are countless other aspects to look at that have not previously been mentioned.  The corners and bottom of the bag should have appropriate wear for the age.  Special collaborations like the Stephen Sprouse X LV Graffiti design should have production codes that match the year of the collaboration release.  For most off-the-shelf bags, the production code should correlate to about 6 months before the person says they bought it (the standard time it takes from factory to shelf).  The hardware should patina with use, and occasionally the outer layer of coating will rub off.  The O of the Louis Vuitton stamp should be a perfect circle.  The letters of the Louis Vuitton stamp should not intersect (except sometimes caused by wear).  


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