A Complete Guide To Chanel Serial Numbers: The Most Important Authentication Feature

Buying a high-end brand bag is the ultimate dream of every stylish woman. It can be your 10th purse, but the sweet feeling of owning something luxurious and chic is never the same. Especially if it is crafted by the iconic Chanel house. With a growing number of counterfeits, every bagaholic should authenticate a bag before purchase, check every single detail to find out what she is paying for.

We've already discussed how important it is to check stitching and logo, pay attention to fonts and zippers, examine leather and locks. Now it's time to learn more about one of the most significant authentication factors - the serial number. Every fashion house has its unique characteristics of serial numbers or date codes that can vary depending on the time the piece was manufactured. In this article, we take a closer look at Chanel serial numbers and learn how to find a quality item in the ocean of fakes.



What Does a Chanel Serial Number Mean?

Authenticating Chanel has become a complicated task, as manufacturers of counterfeit items pay attention to details rather than simply copying the look, even crafting the smallest things perfectly. Knowing the basic information about serial numbers is essential for everyone who wants to purchase a true high-end product.

Chanel introduced serial numbers in 1986, it was the first year of using special combinations to help tell real bags from fakes. Since that time every purse contains a label with a serial number to identify it. To avoid copying, the Chanel fashion house changes digits every year and adds minor features to the label.

If you would like to know more about the history of the Chanel fashion house and what changes have been introduced through the years, read our ultimate Chanel bags guide

A Chanel serial number is a special code showing the year when a purse was crafted.

Unlike most other brands, Chanel doesn't make a heat embossing on a leather tag. It is always a white sticker containing digits and some other features (unique for different years).

Here are some characteristics of real serial numbers:

  • All bags have their own unique code, there cannot be two similar combinations.
  • Serial numbers contain only digits (there are no letters, no dashes, no dots). 
  • A sticker with code is always attached to a leather tag (not printed on it, not embossed).
  • Looking at the first digits you can tell the exact year of manufacturing and understand which collection this bag belongs to.
  • It's totally normal to see different styles of Chanel stickers, as the brand continued to add more features to save their products from being counterfeited.
  • The first digits indicate the year of manufacturing, starting from 0 (from 1986 to 1988) to 26 (crafted in 2019).
  • Modern codes have 8 digits, until 2005 there were 7-digit combinations.
  • Hologram covers are fragile and peel off easily. If a secondhand bag is missing it, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a fake Chanel.



Evolution of Chanel Serial Numbers: Chart

How not to get lost in all this information? Different styles of labels, year codes, counting digits, and checking everything might be quite difficult for an untrained eye. We are here to help you. Let's go through the evolution of Chanel serial numbers. 


First stage 1986-1991

The very first serial codes were printed on stickers of white color and had a cutout on the left. Initial digits used in these years: 0 and 1. Stickers were protected with a light-proof film cover.


Second stage 1991-1999

At the beginning of the 90s, the fashion house started to print codes using a different background. It was still white, but the background had Chanel logos all over it. Initial digits are ranging from 2 to 5 with minor changes in fonts.

The opaque film cover was replaced with a transparent hologram with two encircled logos in 1997 (all codes starting with 57). Cut-lines shaped like letter X were added at the same time to save the label from being torn without ruining it. Gold speckles throughout the sticker were also introduced during this period.


Third stage 2000-present 

In 2000 new stickers were introduced. The fashion house has not changed them since the start of a new century. The number is printed on a white background covered with a hologram with two golden Chanel logos above the number. The cut-lines have become an important part of each sticker, and are still preventing serial numbers from being stolen and put on a counterfeit.

Fonts haven't been updated since 2000. Every 0 has a strikethrough, each 1 has a serif (often called 'feet'). Initial digits started with 6 and now have reached 29 in 2019-2020. Each clear tape has two significant features: a line of the brand name 'Chanel' in capital letters that is repeated on its right side and dark lines on the left.

To read the serial number correctly and define the exact year of manufacturing use the chart below. It contains all initial digits Chanel has been using starting mid-80s.


Chanel serial numbers

Serial number



2019 (winter)


2019 (fall)


2019 (spring)




















Mid 2012-2013




Late 2011-Early 2012

































Where Are Chanel Serial Numbers Located?

Many brands emboss their codes on a leather tag using a heat stamp. Chanel artisans work hard to make every bag unique and that's why they craft every label with the same care as the purse itself. There are no other kinds of serial numbers inside bags except for a white sticker described above.

Stickers with serial codes are always to be found inside on a leather tag inside the bag attached to the interior lining.



Chanel Serial Numbers and Authenticity Cards

At the same time when date codes were invented the fashion house started making authenticity cards. The unique code on a sticker is always corresponding with the one on the card. They also went through some changes within the years, but the style remained the same.

It's a thick black card of rectangular shape with rounded edges (remind of a credit card and is also not easy to bend). Text is white on both sides and digits of the code are embossed in gold. All letters are visible and clear, no blurring, no uneven edges, no blending with the background. Each card has a golden frame. On fake cards, golden parts are easily peeled off, it can be done with just a nail or coin (like a lottery ticket). A silver circular symbol was added to the right top on the backside in 2005.

If you want more tips on how to spot a fake Chanel bag, check our article on authenticating a Chanel Mini Square or watch our youtube video.

With regular minor changes and a tendency for the hologram to peel off, it's really hard to authenticate a Chanel bag yourself. Whenever you have even a slight doubt, it's better to order an expert authentication.

We can help you with this! At Bagaholic, we provide authentication for a $10 fee. If you need to authenticate a Chanel item, please order one of the three types of authentication:

Verbal Authentication $10

  • good when you need a certificate for any reason,

Certificate of Authenticity $25

  • good when you need a certificate for any reason, either to sell the bag with the peace of mind or to return a fake bag to the seller if you purchased a fake
  • includes a permanent certificate on lvbagaholic.com

Certificate of Authenticity with a thorough explanation $50

  • good when you need a certificate and you need to know why the bag is authentic/not authentic for any reason, either to sell the bag with the peace of mind or return a fake bag to the seller if you purchased a fake.
  • includes a permanent certificate on lvbagaholic.com
  • includes an explanation of why the item is fake (detailed pictures and comparisons with an authentic bag, more than 10 pics included)



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