When you're looking to buy a pre-loved Louis Vuitton bag or accessory you need to do your research. All authentic Louis Vuitton handbags since the 1980's have date codes. Some vintage bags won't have date codes, so don't be alarmed by this.
Where do I find the date code?
The date code is usually inside a seam on the inside or sometimes buried deep within a pocket. It can often be hard to find, and you may need eagle eyes as the date codes can be hidden in the most awkward places.
What does it look like?
The date codes begin with two letters followed by four numbers. The first and third numbers represent the week of the year, and the second and fourth numbers represent the year.
Can you show me some examples of authentic date codes?
Th0977 taken from the inside of a Louis Vuitton Alma bag. The date code indicates a production date of: July 1997 in France.
Mi0131 taken from the inside of a Louis Vuitton Damier Azur bag. Mi0131 indicates a production date of the 3rd week of 2011 in France. Obviously if this is correct, then the bag should say 'Made In Paris' or 'Made In France' to correspond with the provenance of the bag. Lets say for example it said 'Made in Spain' or 'Made in the USA' we would know it is not authentic.
If you know the model of the bag such as 'neverfull' or 'speedy' then you can google the year the bag went into production. For example the neverfull was launched in 2007, so if you had a date code that predated that, you would know the bag was a replica and not in fact authentic.
There are other ways to tell if a bag is authentic or not. The lining is a big giveaway, also pay attention to the stitching. To be 100% sure, I would recommend only buying from reputable resellers or getting an independent certificate of authenticity from a company like Entrupy.
UPDATED MARCH 2021