Modern Louis Vuitton items have date codes, not serial numbers.
Date codes identify the manufacturing location and production date for a Louis Vuitton item, but they do not verify authenticity by themselves. Many counterfeit items have date codes that match the correct format. Therefore, a date code does not automatically indicate the authenticity of a Louis Vuitton item. There are also many other elements to look out for when determining the authenticity of a Louis Vuitton handbag, such as trademark logo stamps.
Checking the date code is one of the first steps in authenticating any Louis Vuitton item. This FASHIONPHILE University authenticity lesson will focus on Louis Vuitton’s date codes, found on Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories.
How to find the Louis Vuitton date code
The date code is typically stamped onto a leather tab and sewn along a seam of the bag interior. For leather tabs, the leather should match the leather color on the rest of the bag. Date codes will not be in the same location for all bags, but you can find the date code in the same location in specific styles.
- On a leather tab stitched into the edge of an interior pocket.
- The underside of an interior leather tab on a D-ring attached.
- Directly on the lining of the piece, usually on the interior edge of a pocket, either horizontal or vertical.
- Underneath the hanging pocket (on Speedy and Neverfull bags
- For bags with an Alcantara lining (a soft, microsuede) the date code will be stamped directly onto the lining. The code often fades over time making it in many cases nearly impossible to distinguish with the naked eye.
- For wallets or small leather goods, the date code will be stamped inside the item, usually along a side seam in the billfold or slip pocket.
How to read Louis Vuitton date codes
Louis Vuitton’s date codes are a combination of letters and numbers. The letters indicate the country where the item was made while the numbers indicate the month/year of the production date.
2007- Now: The first two letters indicate the factory location. The first and third number represents the week, the second and last number represents the year.
Example date code: SR3179
Date code decoded: SR = France, 3179 = 37th week of 2019
1990 – 2006: The first two letters indicate the factory location. The first and third numbers represent the month and the second and last number represents the year.
Example date code: SP0065
Date code decoded: SP = France, 06 = 6th month, 05 = 2005
1980s – 1990s: Beginning in 1982, Louis Vuitton added codes to every item to indicate when and where it was made. During this time, the date code format changed regularly. In the early 1980s, date codes were only three or four numbers. The first two numbers represent the year, and the last number represents the month.
Example date code: 844
Date code decoded: made in April 1984
In the mid-to-late 1980s, date codes were three or four numbers followed by two letters. The first two numbers represent the year, and the last numbers represent the month. The two letters, appearing for the first time, identify the factory and country where the bag was manufactured.
Example date code: 882 VI
Date code decoded: 88 = 1988, 2 = February, VI = France
Vintage: Vintage Louis Vuitton items (pre-1980) do not have date codes, and on some old materials, the date codes may have faded out or it will be too blurry to see.
Factory location codes
As a part of every Louis Vuitton date code, there will be two letters to indicate where the item was made. The date code prefix will match the “Made in (country)” heat stamp found stamped below the Louis Vuitton logo.
made in France: A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS, AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, DR, DU, CO, CT, ET, FL, LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD, SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TJ, TH, TR, TS, VI, VX
made in Italy: BC, BO, CE, FO, MA, RC, RE, SA, TD
made in Spain: CA, GI, LO, LB, LM, LW
made in U.S.A: FC, FH, FL, LA, OS, SD
made in Switzerland: DI, FA
made in Germany: LP, OL
The font and embossing on a Louis Vuitton date code will vary by style and even production cycle. There are both serif and sans-serif date codes on Louis Vuitton items.
So there you have it! Date codes are just one piece of the authenticity puzzle. While the date code is a good first step in authenticating the bag, it is not a stand-alone technique for authenticating a Louis Vuitton.
There are many factors to indicate whether or not a Louis Vuitton item is authentic including font, size, symmetry, authenticity stamps, overall workmanship, and material.