The emergence of the Louis Vuitton brand as a status symbol has helped push up the cost of the company's products. The high price tag attached to Louis Vuitton merchandise has made the products appealing to counterfeiters hoping to cash in on the people who want to own Louis Vuitton merchandise without paying the full price. LVMH, the Louis Vuitton parent company, has taken several countermeasures to distinguish genuine Louis Vuitton merchandise from fakes. One of these is a date stamp included in Louis Vuitton handbags.
Locate the date stamp in your Louis Vuitton bag. This is inside the bag, often in one of the pockets or near the zipper. You may find the stamp printed directly on the fabric or on a small strip of leather sewn to the bag. The date stamp is a series of letters and numbers.
Determine the country of origin by reading the letters. The letter codes for France are A0, A1, A2, AA, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, CT, DU, ET, FL, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD, SL, SN, SP, SR, TH and VI. The codes for bags manufactured in the United States are FC, FH, LA, OS and SD. Bags made in Spain have the codes CA, LO, LB, LM and LW. Italian-made bags have the codes CE and SA, and German bags have LP.
Review the number and letter combination to determine the time period when the bag was created. Bags manufactured in the 1980s have the following combinations: 3 numbers; 4 numbers; 2 letters and 3 numbers; 3 numbers and 2 letters; 2 letters and 4 numbers; or 4 numbers and 2 letters. Both the 3 and 4 number date codes represent the year and month of manufacture. For example, a code of 846 is June, 1984. A code reading 8111 is November, 1981. Louis Vuitton bags manufactured in the 1990s until 2007 use a two-letter and four-number combination. The first and third numbers combine to represent the month of manufacture, and the second and fourth numbers represent the year. For example, a code of LA 0957 means the bag was manufactured in the United States in May 1997. Bags manufactured from 2007 until the time of this writing (2010) use a different two-letter and four-number combination. The first and third numbers represent the week and the second and fourth numbers represent the year. For example, a date code of LA 3059 represents the 35th week of 2009, which is near the end of August.
A date stamp is not proof that a Louis Vuitton bag is authentic. Take care when purchasing a Louis Vuitton bag from anywhere other than a Louis Vuitton store or the official website.