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How To Tell If A Vintage Chanel Bag Is Real
10 Steps to Authenticating a Chanel Bag
You have to be sure you are investing in a real piece and not
the copy. How to find out this bag of your dreams is real?
At Vintage-United we are committed to a zero-tolerance,
anti-counterfeit policy and we guarantee absolute authenticity
of every item sold on the website, so you can shop with confidence.
But for you own reinsurance there are some simple tips from various
experts on how to recognise the authentic Chanel bag from a fake one.
But first there is a short history of the iconic 2.55 bag.
– Burgundy lining – The most of Chanel bags have burgundy or red lining.
Chanel picked this exact shade because it reminded her of the uniforms she wore growing up in a convent. The modern bags have offten a matching lining, dipending on the production season.
– Hidden compartment – Once shoppers open the outer flap, they see a small zippered compartment.
This was where Chanel stashed her love letters, according to legend.
– Back outer pocket – Outside the handbag is a back pocket.
Chanel designed it this way so that women could stash money there without having to open their purse.
– Shoulder strap – The delicate chains on the 2.55 mimic the key chains worn by the nuns in the convent
where Chanel grew up.
– Mademoiselle lock – The front lock has a special locking mechanism called a Mademoiselle lock.
Chanel, who never married, gave the lock its name.
– Interlocking CC lock – Karl Lagerfeld updated the 2.55 design in the 1980s also by adding the iconic chain strap
with leather woven through.
1. The CC logo
An ultimate sign for detecting authenticity of a Chanel bag is the position of CC logo. The right C should overlap on top, and the left C should overlap on the bottom. If it’s the other way around, it’s a fake. Whatsever there can be exceptions. The width of the C should also match the width of the horizontal gap between the two CC’s
2.The turn lock.
The double CC lock is the most recognisable design on the 2.55. This iconic lock was designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. The lock on the authentic bag must be flat in shape and wide in font type. Whereas the lock on the fake bag is thinner in font type and bulky, rounder in shape. The lock designed by Coco Chanel herself is rectangular in shape, it was introduced in February 1955. In February 2005 Hous of Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original bag.
3. CHANEL label.
The most simple tool to recognize the real Chanel bag from a fake one is just to look at the Chanel label inside of the bag. It should match the color of the handbag’s hardware. Analise the letters, a specially E letter. The lower stripe of the letter must be slightly longer then the upper stripe.
4. Quilting and stitching
On an authentic Chanel, the quilt stitching should line up neatly on the front flap and back pocket. The ‘diamond’ quilt stitching on a real Chanel bag are much squarer. The authentic Chanel which has a high stitch count doesn’t look puffy.
5. Chain straps
6. The zipper
7. Serial number cart
8. Serial sticker.
– 6 digit codes-bag was made some time between 1984 and 1986.
– 7 digit codes-handbag was made between 1986 and 2004.
– 8 digit codes have been used since 2005 until TODAY.
Anything over 8 digits is not authentic.
12 WAYS TO SPOT A FAKE CHANEL
We specialize in selling pre-owned designer bags, shoes, clothing and accessories. We want all of our buyers to feel confident about every purchase they make inside Sabrina’s Closet. This is why we always ensure that all of our products are authentic.
When you think designer copies, Chanel handbags are probably the first to come to mind. There are tons out there. Some obvious, and some, well, a little trickier to catch. Sure enough, we received a beautiful black Chanel classic flap bag a couple months ago. At first glance, it looked great. However, after completing our authentication inspection, turns out, not so great after all – it was a fake. We must admit, they did a pretty good job at it. So, how can you tell if the Chanel bag that you are about to buy online is the real deal? We’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide to be sure.
Below, we have a photo of three classic Chanel Flap Bags. Two are authentic, one is a fake. Can you spot it?
The fake on is actually the one at the bottom. Hard to tell, right? Keep reading to find out exactly how we knew.
1 | CC LOCK
The first thing we always look at is the CC Lock – it’s a quick giveaway. The right C must always overlap on top and the left C must always overlap on the bottom. If this is not the case with a bag you are about to purchase, you can guarantee that it is not authentic.
In the picture below, the bag on the left is a replica and the bag on the right is authentic. As you can see, this replica bag we rejected passed the CC Lock test, however keep reading to find out how it failed on others.
Notice how on the authentic Chanel (right), the CC lock is centered. On the replica Chanel (left), it is positioned more towards the top than the bottom.
Replica Chanel CC locks usually have a rounded finish on the CC. Authentic Chanel CC locks have a flat edge finish.
The width of each C should also match the width of the gap between the two C’s.
The back of the CC hardware should have two screws, with “CHANEL” embossed on the left, and “PARIS” embossed the right.
2 | DUSTER BAG
When comparing the two duster bags side by side, you can see a clear difference between the authentic duster and the fake duster. The left duster is authentic and the right duster is fake. On the authentic duster (left), you can see that “CHANEL” is written in white, bold letters centered in the middle. On the fake duster (right), you can see that “CHANEL” is written in a faded grey color. It is also written in the wrong front, which appears to be thinner. The fake logo is also slightly off-centre on the duster.
3 | SERIAL NUMBERS
check chanel serial number online, it indicate the bag model and year of manufacture. Do a quick Google search, and you will discover tons of guides online to help you find out what what year your Chanel bag was manufactured. Chanel does not produce bags with serial numbers of 9 digits or more. If this is the case, it’s a fake.
On the Chanel 2.55, the serial sticker should be found on the bottom, left-hand corner.
4 | ZIPPER
Don’t forget to inspect your zipper. The zippers they use change depending on what year the bag was manufactured. Check that the zipper on your handbag is consistent with the year it was created.
5 | AUTHENTICITY CARDS
First, check that the authenticity card matches the serial number inside the bag. If it does, it’s a good sign, but that does not necessarily mean it is authentic. Authenticity cards are very easily replicated.
Below, you will see two authenticity cards. The right card is fake and the left card is authentic.
Normally, you can tell if you have a fake authenticity card if it has a hologram, rainbow effect. Authentic cards never have this hologram effect. The fake card below is a good fake, since you cannot see the hologram effect.
Authentic cards must also have the consistency of a credit card. In the case below, the fake card felt very flimsy and was easily bent.
All the information must be straight and aligned.
Bags from 2005 and onwards feature a grey circular symbol at top right. As you can see in the picture below, the fake card symbol is more white, compared to the grey authentic symbol. If the authenticity card does not have a symbol at the top right, it means that it was made pre-2005.
You can also see a slight difference in font between the two cards.
6 | CHAIN STRAP
To tell if the chain strap is authentic, a lot of it has to to with the weight. In our case, the chain strap on the authentic bag was much heavier than is fake counterpart.
A huge telling sign for us with regards to the chain strap was the stitching on the leather intertwined between the chain. On the authentic handbag (gold-tone hardware), you will see that the stitching is clean and seamless. You do not see any crooked lines or bumps.
On the fake bag (silver-tone hardware), there was obvious bumps where is was stitched (sometimes slightly unsewn), it was crooked and uneven. Below is a zoomed picture to get a better idea.
Let’s get a little closer. You can see on the replica Chanel chain (silver-tone hardware), there is a double layer on the top flat part of the leather. One the authentic Chanel, there is no double layer on the top flat part of the leather. There is seamless, perfect stitiching.
7 | STITCH COUNT
Authentic Chanel bags should have a high stitch count – more than 10 stitches per inch. Fake Chanel bags usually have a low stitch count, which creates an overall “puffier” look on the handbag.
8 | LEATHER
If you close your eyes and touch the caviar leather on both bags, you would notice that you feel the embossed pebbled caviar more on the authentic bag. The fake Chanel caviar leather did not feel as embossed and felt flatter and smoother. Take a close look and make sure the imprint is unique. On fake leather, the imprint is sometimes repeated.
9 | QUILTING
The quilting should always maintain a consistent diamond pattern even when the front flap is closed. This also applies to the pocket on the back.
10 | OVERALL QUALITY, STRUCTURE
The biggest telling sign for us between the two bags was the overall quality. In the picture below, the bag on the left is authentic, and the bag on the right is a replica. When you placed both down, the authentic Chanel was much sturdier, structured and stood up straight. The fake Chanel did not stand straight, folded, and was clearly not as structured as the authentic. Chanel uses the best materials that are made to last – this should not happen, even with older models.
You can also see how the replica bag (silver-tone hardware) folds more from a birds-eye-view (it is thinner at the top). The chain straps also start further back on the auth
If you’re looking for the guide on how to spot a fake Chanel bag, you’ve come to the right place! But before you get to the goods, read this e-mail sent to Wondermika by a loyal reader…
I almost fell prey to a fake designer seller. Of all people, I really thought that I would be the last one to be cheated. After all, I’m educated, exposed and I keep up with the latest in fashion. Recently, I almost bought a fake Chanel bag.
It all started when I was surfing the net. I found this Facebook account of a lady who claims to sell authentic designer goods. The Facebook page even has tenths of thousands of fan likes. So I thought, people must trust her. Right? Plus, most of what she posts on Facebook gets sold out very quickly. The story is that she has a sister who is a flight attendant who helps her buy all her designer goods. On top of that, she says that she also goes to Paris on holidays. She even posted a photo of her in front of Eiffel Tower!
And one day, I saw a Chanel 2.55. I had always wanted the bag but the price had always made me pause. I thought if I bought it from this lady, I would save $1500. Yeah, that extra $1500 would buy me a designer purse to match the bag.
I did my research, asked her lots of questions. At the time, I thought I could tell a fake from a genuine Chanel. So I decided to buy. The agreement was to meet in person as I was reluctant to have the bag mailed to me. After all, I am still paying a high price!
We met at a shopping mall. It just so happened that my colleague ‘F’ was with me at the time because she drove that day. The lady took out the bag for me to see. I really saw nothing wrong with it and was ready to make the payment. Until my colleague nudged at me as if trying to signal something. I didn’t understand. F suddenly said that she needed to go to the toilet and that she wanted me to accompany her. So I apologised to the lady and asked her to wait for us to return.
In the toilet, F broke the news to me, “The bag is fake!”. According to F, the first rule of thumb is to check the CC logo. Apparently, the C on the right should overlap the left C which is facing the other way and when she saw that the other C was on top, she knew it was fake!
In my head, I had already planned what to say to this lying sack. To call her a con and embarrass her in front of shoppers, get her arrested, etc. But when we went back to the meeting place, she was gone! She must have guessed that we were on to her.
Since that incident, I never bought anything from Facebook retailers or even blogs. I’ve learned to tell the difference now since I bought a genuine Chanel from the boutique itself. Sometimes, when I go up the escalator, I see the person in front of me carrying a bag that appears to be a Chanel 2.55. I could tell it is a fake but I always wondered if the owner knew.
Thanks again for all your stories. Can you please do a story on how to spot a fake Chanel bag?
Too many like Maiisa have nearly fallen prey to fake designer sellers. And many more have burnt their hard earned money on something they thought was real. Our advice is to always purchase your designer goods directly from the Chanel boutique or from a reputable department store like Saks. Counterfeit manufacturers are becoming more sophisticated in making fake designers. In conjunction with Wondermika’s Anti Fake Designer Campaign, we’ve lined up lots of stories for you from brand stories to guides on how to spot fakes. Below are some tips from www.vintageheirloom.com, yoogiscloset.com, Lollipuff.com, Extrapetite.com and various experts on how to spot a fake Chanel bag.
Top 10 things to look out for when authenticating a Chanel bag
#1 THE CC LOGO
The right C should overlap on top, and left C should overlap on the bottom. If it’s the other way around, it’s a fake. The width of the C should also match the width of the horizontal gap between the two Cs. If the bag you are looking at has a CC on the inside, it should feel soft and not as if there is a card board inside.
#2 TURN STYLE LOCK
The lock on the authentic bag is much flatter in shape and wider in font type whereas the lock on the fake bag is thinner in font type and bulky, rounder in shape.
The double C lock is the most recognisable designs on the 2.55. This iconic lock was designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. The lock designed by Chanel herself is very different from Karl Lagerfeld’s lock as it is rectangular in shape and has no Chanel logo stamping. The double C lock is also referred to as the mademoiselle lock as Chanel never married. (Source: Lollipuff.com)
This will differ with year and style, but on the classic flap, the snap button and the back of the turnlock closure should be engraved with CHANEL PARIS. On the other side of the turnstyle lock, the backplate (left picture) should have flat head screws. On the left it should say Chanel, and on the right it should say Paris. (Source: extrapetite.com)
Screws: This is another quick and powerful tool for detecting counterfeit Chanel. The screw test. Above are three types of screws you might find on a Chanel item. B and C are ok, but A (Philips head) is not. Chanel never uses Philips head screws to fasten metal hardware. This example is of a Philips head screw and is generally not be found on a Chanel handbag. This might be something that can be seen in lower class counterfeits whereas a higher quality Chanel fake might still be able to have this detail correct. (Image: authenticationfiles.com)
Chanel Zippers: Chanel has utilized several different zipper manufactures throughout the years, and each specific zipper brand will generally map to a specific time frame, model or style. The zipper manufacturers utilized have always been high quailty producers, and as such, the zipper mechansims found on authentic Chanel should always be high quality. Below are Lampo zippers which Chanel uses however they also use other zipper brands like YKK. Scroll below to learn more thanks to Vintage Heirloom‘s comprehensive guide:
Other logo stamps that may be found on Chanel zippers are:
Always check if the quilt stitching on flap and pocket match the body. On an authentic Chanel, the quilt stitching should line up neatly on the front flap and back pocket. On the back pocket, it is not one continuous stitch that runs from the purse onto the pocket. The pocket and purse are two distinct pieces that were stitched separately, and joined via a stitch along the outside perimeter of the pocket. If you see a bag with quilting that does not line up between flap and body as well as pocket and back, beware, think twice. However, we’ve also seen top grade fakes that manage to get the quilting to line up. Our advice is to buy directly from the Chanel boutique or go with reputable department stores or reputable consignment stores. (Source: extrapetite.com)
The photo of the left shows a fake Chanel and the right photo shows an authentic Chanel. A low stitch count causes the quilted effect to be puffy whereas the authentic Chanel which has a high stitch count doesn’t end up puffy. Notice how the fake bag on left has thinner ‘diamond’ quilt stitching? The ones on real Chanel are much squarer. The turn lock on the fake bag is also as big as the leather bit that secures the bag and the leather around the turn lock also puffs up. On the authentic bag on the right, the turn lock has good spacing around it and leather around it does not puff up.
More on stitching:
The quilted stitch design was designed by Coco Chanel to resemble the quilted jackets of horse jockeys back then. There should be at least ten stitches PER inch. Anything under that is simply not authentic. (Photo: thehautecookie.com)
Here are some pictures of the lining of FAKE Chanel bags below:
This CC is simply messy. A dead giveaway. See how the CC is too raised and puffy as if filled with something hard.
This fake manufacturer managed to line up the button with the CC but the CC is terribly made with crooked lines.
Just look at how the lining is bubbling and collapsing. This should not happen with authentic bags.
#7 Chanel stamping
Check the colour of the stamping in the bag. If the hardware is Silver, the stamping in the bag should also be silver. If the hardware is gold, the stamping should also be in gold. An authentic Chanel bag never has mismatched hardware and stamping. (Source: thehautecookie.com)
#8 CHAIN STRAPS
Check the chain and see if the part where the chain breaks is clearly visible. In authentic Chanel bags with chain leather straps, that part where the chain breaks should be well hidden. In a lot of bags made before 2008 there is no stitching in the leather interwoven in the chain at all. If there is stitching on the interwoven leather in the chains of the bags you see now, it will only be on one side like above. By the way, Coco Chanel came from an orphanage, and her caretakers wore chains around their waists which held their keys. That is the meaning behind the chain. In the 80s when Karl Lagerfeld took over, he added a leather strap interwoven in between the chains. (Source: thehautecookie.com)
#9 AUTHENTICITY CARD
The “card system” was introduced the same time as the serial sticker. There should be absolutely no rainbowy “hologram” type effect. It is made out of plastic and feels just like a credit card just like PRADA cards. As you see above, the serial number on the bag, and the number on the authenticity card, always match. It always comes with a small 2×2 creme envelop with info on the bag. Now, if a bag doesn’t come with a card, don’t dismiss it as fake as the previous owner could have genuinely lost it. But do look out for other signs of authenticity.
#10 SERIAL STICKER
Serial stickers were first introduced in 1984 and continue to be used today. As mentioned, numbers on serial stickers should match numbers on the authenticity card. Bags made before this time, don’t have stickers.
- 6 digit codes-bag was made some time between 1984 and 1986.
- 7 digit codes- handbag was made between 1986 and 2004.
- 8 digit codes have been used since 2005 until TODAY.
- 8 digits is the max amount of digits you should see on a Serial Number.
Anything over 8 digits is not authentic.
If you would like a more detailed explanation, here’s a guide on the sticker, Chanel logo, and hologram design varied with the manufacturing date compiled by Yoogi’s Closet which sells authentic designer goods:
|Serial No. and Year Manufactured||Style of Numbers||Style of Serial Number Sticker||Picture of Serial Number Sticker|
|14XXXXXXYear: 2011||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Eight digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|13XXXXXXYear:2009 to 2010||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Eight digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|12XXXXXXYear:2008 to 2009||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Eight digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|11XXXXXXYear:2006 to 2008||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).|
|10XXXXXXYear:2005 to 2006||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).|
|9XXXXXXYear:2004 to 2005||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|8XXXXXXYear:2003 to 2004||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|7XXXXXXYear:2002 to 2003||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|6XXXXXXYear:2000 to 2002||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s have small serifs (feet).|
|5XXXXXXYear:1997 to 1999||0’s have strikethroughs up to 51XXXXX. 0’s have no strikethroughs
from 52XXXXX to 56XXXXX. 0’s have strikethroughs from 57XXXXX on. 1’s have small serifs (feet) from 57XXXXX on.
|Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape with two Chanel logos from 57XXXXX on.”X” cut-lines prevent sticker from being removed without damage. “CHANEL” appears on rightright side of the sticker. Dark line appears on left side of sticker. Gold speckles appear throughout sticker.|
|4XXXXXXYear:1996 to 1997||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s are sans-serifs (no feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker with Chanel logos. Opaque film covers sticker.|
|3XXXXXXYear:1994 to 1996||0’s have strikethroughs. 1’s are sans-serifs (no feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker with Chanel logos. Opaque film covers sticker.|
|2XXXXXXYear:1991 to 1994||0’s have no strikethroughs up to 27XXXXXX. 1’s have serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker with Chanel logos. Opaque film covers sticker.|
|1XXXXXXYear:1989 to 1991||0’s have no strikethroughs. 1’s have serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker with Chanel logos and left-sided cutout. Opaque film covers sticker.|
|0XXXXXXYear:1986 to 1988||0’s have no strikethroughs. 1’s have serifs (feet).||Seven digit serial number printed on white sticker with Chanel logos and left-sided cutout. Opaque film covers sticker. Note that early serial numbers (starting with a 1 or 2) did not have a leading “0”. Therefore, these were six-digit serial numbers. Also, the sticker was larger than the stickers produced later in the series.|