Is it Authentic or Fake Louis Vuitton???
This guide will provide helpful guidelines to distinguish authentic Louis Vuittons (from here on will be called "LV") from the overwhelming number of fake ones that are now being sold all over the world. I'm going to focus more on the classic monograms since they seem to be the easy targets of counterfeiters.
If you've ever had the opportunity to purchase an authentic LV from their boutique or reputable authentic designer bag resellers, then you already know if a bag/wallet is fake or not by smelling it. Authentic LVs have an unmistakable scent that only genuine bags carry. It's hard to describe, but the best way for me to describe it is that it smells like a mixture of brand new $ bills and high quality leather and it's a subtle scent. Key word is "subtle." Unless you put your whole face inside the bag, you won't be able to smell it. On the other hand, fake LVs have a stronger smell...like over-oxidixed leather. It seems that they tried so hard to "treat" their leathers so that it would change its color to a lovely patina that it created this odor to emit from the bag. I've had the misfortune of being a victim of "bait and switch" here on Ebay where the seller advertised photos of an authentic LV Tulum PM, but when she sent me the bag, the scent alone raised red flags to me. Being sealed inside a plastic bag only made the smell worse.
If you have never owned an authentic LV before, then visual flags should help you. First, pay attention to the color of the monograms, the glue that seals the leather, the exterior canvas & interior lining (whether its leather or its specific lining for that style), the buckles, and the studs. The color of the monograms is hard to pinpoint; it is almost like it changes color the harder you look at it. To me, it looks like amber...a mixture of yellowish brown. But when I take photos, it changes to yellowish green. I have compared a fake one to one my authentic LVs and these counterfeiters are getting mighty close to perfecting the color mixture.
The glue has to have a red tone. I've noticed that the majority of my bags have a dark reddish brown color...like reddish wine (think blood--I know that's gross, but that's what it looks like). The fake ones usually have an orange tint and they don't seal the edges very well (they would appear like a light coating. See photos below (the left is from an authentic Batignolle, the right is from a fake Tulum):
When in doubt...TAKE A PICTURE!!! The exterior canvas has a unique gleam to it. This is where you can use your camera flashes to its full extent. Let your camera decide for you. Authentic LVs shine or glimmer when you take a picture of them...it almost appears to be sparkly. The same goes for the interior canvas. Compare the Tulum photos below and see which one is fake vs. authentic:
If you think the right one is a fake, then you are absolutely right! You can also take a close look at how the monograms and fleurs are placed on these two bags. The lock is unevenly placed between the logo & edge of the bag and partially covers the right fleur.
Okay, let's take a look at the interior canvas, shall we? The authentic bag will show a white gleam on its canvas, which on a photo will look like a white smudge.
How about the gold studs? Familiarize yourself with the font of LV's name. They're fine and easy to read, not stamped so hard onto the metal that you can't make out what it says. You can also compare the seams and the way the leather is cut.
The other things you should look for is the correct date code, the size of font used & the spacing on the LV stamp (see photos above). The dustbag/sleepers should not have anything other than the LV logo or name on it. If you see any tags hanging directly from the bag, leave the auction! The tags are never attached. Nor are there any color swatches (what are they for anyway?). No yellow or greenish cards that says Louis Vuitton on it. I have no idea where the counterfeiters get that stuff from, but all they do is help me determine that they're auctioning a fake bag.
I wish I could provide more photos for you to compare, but as most of you know, this is just a guide, not a book report. I also don't want to give away too much since this guide is open for all to see, including the counterfeiters. I hope I have helped you enough so that you can at least make the best judgement whether to "buy it now" or not. A lot of sellers also almost always disclaims that the item was a "gift"---if it was, then the person who gave it to them should not be ashamed to say where they got it from if it was indeed authentic, right? When in doubt, please ask for photos from every angle! If the seller won't provide all or at least some of what you request, then walk away...they are probably trying to hide something from you since you know (or seem to know) what you are looking for. Good luck & happy bidding!