Even over 100 years later, Chanel remains one of the most forward-thinking, valuable and desirable luxury brands you can buy.
Chanel deciphers the age of their bags using unique serial numbers printed on a tag or sticker. Since the 1980s the implementation of these unique numbers have ensured a way for Chanel aficionados to not only identify the series a Chanel bag is from but also authenticate it. Knowing where to find the Chanel serial code in your bag and how to read it is a skill in and of itself.
But if you thought it stopped at tags and stickers, it does not. As authentication practices advance and outsmart the counterfeiters, Chanel has upped their game by replacing all stickers and authenticity cards with metal plates, or microchips. Effective since 2021, these plates are now the new designer ID.
While keeping that in mind, we wanted to share everything you need to know about decoding both old and new Chanel serial codes. To help you identify the age of your Chanel bag with confidence and ease, this post breaks down the list of all the series from the 1980s to current. Ready to start decoding?
Understanding Chanel Serial Codes
The old Chanel Stickers
Since the mid 1980s, Chanel handbags and small leather goods have included a small sticker containing a serial code that is unique to the item, as well as an accompanying authenticity card containing the same serial code.
From 1986 to 2005 serial codes contained a series of 7 digits. The first number indicates the year of manufacture. From 2005 up until 2021, the stickers contained a series of 8 digits; the first two numbers indicating the year of manufacture. By knowing the year of manufacture, you can better determine which collection the Chanel bag belongs to.
Aside from the numbers, the stickers also include Chanel logos and a subtle hologram that was introduced in the 2000s. In the same way that styles evolve over time, the combination of the sticker, Chanel logos and hologram vary by design depending on the year of manufacture.
You can find the sticker placed on a small leather tab that matches the color of the leather interior, or glued directly on the lining. The sticker is sealed in place with clear tape on top. With age, these stickers have a tendency to curl or remove entirely, and sometimes turn yellowish or purple due to the glue contained on the sticker. It makes sense why Chanel would upgrade to something a bit more wear friendly and substantial – cue, metal plates.
The New Chanel Metal Plates
As stickers and authentication cards were becoming a thing of the past, metal plates have now entered the Chanel authentication scene. If you are wondering, these have replaced both stickers and cards. The plates are not in sequence anymore like the numbers on the stickers have been. But like the purpose of the stickers, the codes on the plates are unique to each Chanel item. Although unique, they are random, likely to keep counterfeiters on their toes. As we work on decoding these new plates, we’ve noticed a couple of things that may prove useful to you.
What we know right now:
- Chanel’s new metal plates start with a letter, followed by a series of numbers and letters.
- Like the numbers on the stickers previously used, these figures are totally unique to the item, so they cannot be repeated.
- Right now, there is no connection between the bag’s year of manufacture with these codes (yet).
- The metal plate will always have 8 figures that are a mix of digits and letters.
- For SLGs there is a new sticker that looks like the new plate featuring the same format. If the item comes with a retail tag, the information containing the QR code should always match the code on the item.
- Retail tags are now the only way to know the specific season of an item.
- When authenticating, our experts look at the format of the numbers, font letters, and stamping.
- A bag from Chanel in New condition, the metal plate is covered with a thin plastic protective film.