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The Genuine Article: Authentic Pre-Owned Luxury Bags

Selena A. Nutter

You’re looking through your closet and feel like you’re ready to make a change. Time to mix up your wardrobe and splurge on a new designer handbag!

Savvy shoppers often turn to luxury resale sites to find gorgeous pre-owned bags in excellent condition for a fair price. Even better, you can sell some of your own pre-loved favorites that maybe don’t fit your current style, and use that cash to buy your new baby.

But how can you be sure that the designer bag you’re getting is the genuine article? We’re here to help steer you in the right direction.

In this post, we share tips from top authenticators that can help you spot a genuine Hermès, Chanel, or Louis Vuitton. We’ll also tell you about a whole new way to shop for pre-owned luxury goods that takes the guesswork out of the process, allowing you to shop with 100% confidence.

Authentic Luxury Is An Investment:

When you purchase a true luxury product, you get a lifetime guarantee. Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton... they all stand behind their bags and offer repair services throughout a product’s lifetime.

These are investment pieces, and for some in-demand vintage styles prices can increase significantly over time.

If you purchase a knockoff, you're not investing in anything. You can't resell the item, and if the bag starts to show signs of wear and tear you’re simply out of luck.

Luckily most designer handbags have a few identifiable characteristics you can look for as you’re shopping to help ensure you’re buying the real thing. Check out the tips below that can help you spot a fake from the genuine real deal.

Genuine Hermès:

The Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are some of the most exclusive in the world. When determining whether a Hermès bag is genuine or not, keep an eye out for the following trademark signs.


The most obvious indicator will always be price. An authentic Kelly or Birkin will not be cheap, even when purchased second hand. Consider that the resale value of these handbags is rumored to be around 16%, so they are likely to sell for more rather than less.

One of the most telltale characteristics of a Birkin bag is its structured design. When sitting upright, the bag should hold its shape with no slouching or puckering. All Birkin and Kelly bags are made by hand, not by machine, so the level of quality should reflect this.

You’ll also want to examine how the brand’s label is stamped into the leather. Letters that look as though they’re sitting on top of the leather are likely fake, whereas an authentic stamp is actually a part of the fabric.

The flap beneath the bag’s lock will also have a blind stamp placed there by the Hermès artisan who designed it. A blind stamp should be faintly visible, but not pressed too deeply into the leather. If the blind stamp is deep, it was likely machine-stamped indicating a fake.

Finally, you should always be on the lookout for any inconsistencies in details like hardware. If anything feels plastic, or the stitching gets sloppy at the corners - these are inconsistencies you would not find on an authentic bag.

At Hermès they are perfectionists. If it doesn’t look absolutely perfect, it’s likely not real.

Authentic Chanel:

This iconic brand is known for their handbags, particularly their popular quilted flap bags. If you’re shopping for an authentic pre-owned Chanel, here’s what to watch out for.


One telltale sign of a true Chanel is the quality of the leather. Chanel creates the majority of its bags with lambskin, which is soft and has a visibly smooth appearance. If the bag doesn’t feel like butter, it might be a fake.

In addition, pay special attention to the bag’s stitching. Chanel’s signature quilted pattern features eleven stitches along the edge of each panel, whereas a knockoff will have fewer.

Another giveaway of a fake Chanel is the famous interlocking C logo. Counterfeiters often miss this small detail. The right C should overlap the left C at the top, and the left C overlaps the right C at the bottom.

You can also check the authenticity card (if available), but these cards have been faked, so know that they’re not 100% foolproof.

As a general guide, bags made between 1984 and 1986 will have a 6-digit code printed on the card, bags made between 1986 and 2004 will have 7 digits, and those from 2005 and on include 8 digits. Be sure to verify that the number on the authenticity card matches what’s printed inside the bag.

And as always, look for indicators of the bag’s overall quality. Chanel only produces premium quality items, so nothing should look less than perfect. Inspect the bag’s inner lining, it should be snug with no loose fabric or bumps. The bag should also maintain its structure and quality, even after years of use.

Real Louis Vuitton:

Louis Vuitton, known for their signature LV monogram, has been crafting high quality handbags for more than a century. Their bags are in such high demand that (sadly) they are one of the most counterfeited brands out there. Which means you need to keep a sharp eye out to spot the real thing.


A true Louis Vuitton handbag will have flawless stitching that is precise. In fact, an Alma, Speedy, or Neverfull bag will have exactly five stitches securing the bag’s leather straps.

In addition, Louis Vuitton only uses vachetta leather to design their handbag straps. This material is untreated and will therefore deepen in color with time and wear.

The straps of a real pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbag should show evidence of this natural patina. If the leather looks suspiciously light and clean, you should be cautious and look for other signs to verify the bag’s authenticy.

Finally, before you go all in and purchase that resale item, do your homework and confirm it’s a style that Louis Vuitton did in fact produce. Counterfeiters often sell bags with the LV logo that are not actually modeled on a real Louis Vuitton design.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some Louis Vuitton styles are made from one continuous piece of leather, such as the Speedy, Keepall, and Papillon bags. Therefore, if you see any seams along the bottom of one of these bags, it might indicate it’s a fake.

A New Way To Shop For Pre-Owned Luxury Bags:

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge you need to help spot an authentic Hermès, Chanel, or Louis Vuitton - it’s time to go shopping! Did you know there’s a brand new way to shop online for luxury pre-owned handbags? An online marketplace where you can shop with full confidence, knowing what you’re buying is 100% authentic?

We’re talking about MyMarkit. Become a member, find the bag of your dreams, and buy it knowing it will be the genuine real deal.

Here’s how it works - when an item is initially sent to MyMarkit, it’s thoroughly inspected and assessed by a professional in-person authenticator. From there the item is equipped with a proprietary ledger-sensor verification.

This innovative technology marks every transaction for the lifetime of the product on MyMarkit. What’s really cool is that the sensors can’t be outsmarted or hacked, which ensures you’ll always get what you pay for.

It also means that MyMarkit’s fail-proof authentication process becomes fully-automated, which is why members are able to buy and sell without any commissions or fees.

It’s a win-win all around in the luxury resale space, and the best way for you to shop with full assurance knowing you’re buying the genuine article.


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