Are you purchasing a vintage or preowned Chanel handbag? That's really exciting. Before you make that move, it's essential to first educate yourself on how to tell real Chanel bags from fakes so that your new purchase would last for years.
Chanel replicas are always better than you might think. A lot pf people actually believe that Chanel replica are so good that you can’t tell them from real Chanel purses. Provided that Chanel Classic flap is already close to the $10,000 and a replica is roughly $300-$500, whenever you’re interested in purchasing a secondhand Chanel purse, you need to be able to tell the original bag from a replica.
In this article, we’ll share some of our 10-year experience in authenticating Chanel so that you could better understand how to tell authentic Chanel bags from fake ones. We’ll mostly focus on how to spot fake Double flaps, however, some examples include other Chanel items as well.
Let’s start learning how to authenticate Chanel bags.
1. Look at the outer leather
People who believe Chanel replicas are impossible to tell are right to some extent. If you only observe the bag from the outside and you’re not a handbag authenticator, it’s not always possible to tell a fake Chanel handbag from the real deal.
Nevertheless, for a trained eye sometimes the leather might look a bit ‘off’. It mostly concerns cheap replicas but might also happen on the advanced ones.
As replicas use other materials in manufacturing, the leather might not look like authentic Chanel leather. Yet if you're expecting sloppy stitching or different leather texture, it's highly unlikely to come across this type of easy-to-tell replicas. Long gone are the days when the difference between counterfeited handbags and authentic ones was that obvious.
2. Compare the Hardware
When it comes to the hardware, replica Chanel bags have it copied perfectly. Again, if you only glance at the purse's hardware from afar or even closer, it's hard to provide a verdict on a handbag's authenticity.
The point is, you always need to consider several factors. Don't rely on just hardware engraving or stitching. Examine the item as a whole.
Remember that in theory some hardware pieces might have been replaced over time so if one hardware element doesn't look authentic, it doesn't prove that the item is not authentic.
Chanel ‘made in’ stamp can demonstrate major giveaways on some replicas. Despite a variety of fonts used on Chanel stamps over time, most replicas fail to copy the original Chanel font.
Here’s a real vs fake comparison of a Chanel Classic Flap heat stamp. First of all, modern flap bags happen to be produced in Italy, not France. Moreover, while both stamps seem very close, the color of the gold-tone stamp is totally different.
Next, it’s also very important to carefully examine the font and see if it’s the same as on original items. In the example above, the font is not consistent with the authentic item’s font. The ‘CHANEL’ part seems to be too bold compared to the item in question.
In another example, ‘made in france’ line is inconsistent with authentic item in terms of font and ‘CHANEL’ font looks thin compared to what it should look like.
Here are some other authentic heat stamps that use another Chanel font, most of which date back to 1990s. Note that the font changes depending on the production year. In order to properly authenticate a Chanel bag, one needs knowledge on the connection of the production year to the fonts and serials.
4. Pay special attention to the serial number
When it comes to authenticating Chanel bags, a thorough examination of a serial number is one of the most important tasks. This is probably because it serves its purpose well.
Chanel introduced serial numbers in the 1980s to fight counterfeiting. Each Chanel handbag since then to 2021 has a white sticker with a number inside that would serve as a unique identifier of an item.
To prevent the counterfeiters from copying serial numbers, Chanel introduced several technologies. First of all, the French fashion house elaborated a unique font for the digits. Next, they manufactured a sticker with the double cross X lines that would have prevented the sticker to be removed. There are also two lines to the left and right sides of the serial. Last but not least, they used a random blend of tiny gold-colored speckles on that serial number.
In the example above, the replica manufacturer tried to copy the serial but the serial number font is way too wrong. The gold speckles are way larger than they should be so that's a definitely giveaway.
Here's another example of real vs fake serial numbers of a Chanel wallet. Note the difference between speckles different the speckles are again, plus the font is not consistent with authentic items.
If you need more detailed information on Chanel serial numbers, here's our complete guide. It contains tons of examples and general authentication guidelines.
5. Examine Chanel Authenticity card
Before authenticating a Chanel bag, you need to examine its authenticity card.
A Chanel authenticity card is a plastic black card that comes with every Chanel handbag. It has the brand name on one side and item number followed by the quality guarantee text in English, German and Japanese on the other side.
Chanel has been using the same font and the same structure on this card for a very long time. The item number on the card must be the same as on the serial number.
Remember that authenticity card can be easily separated from a bag so even though Chanel numbers are unique, there’s no way to prove that an authenticity card comes from the same bag. This is the reason why such card cannot be considered a proof of authenticity.
The example above shows two authenticity cards, one fake and one real. One can definitely see the difference in the serial number font.
Some authenticity cards are practically identical to the authentic ones. Having said that, whenever you’re eyeing a specific Chanel purse, always pay attention to the item itself and not its packaging or separable accessories, such as authenticity card.
This Chanel Boy is a replica. However, it's an advanced fake. The serial number font is quite close to the authentic font both on the serial and on the authenticity card.
Summary: How to Tell a Real Chanel Bag From Fake
Being able to tell a real Chanel bag from fake requires a lot of knowledge. However, after scrolling through this article, you know the basic principles and are able to recognize some fakes.
If you're interested in more real/fake comparisons. check out our Chanel mini flap side-by-side comparison.
If you need some expert guidance on the Chanel handbag you're buying, order professional Chanel authentication from Bagaholic.
We've been selling, consigning and authenticating Chanel bags for over 10 years and we know the small details that matter. Order Chanel authentication now and enjoy the piece of mind.