How to Authenticate COACH Bags!

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Welcome to the newest addition of AuthenticForum's guides on spotting counterfeit merchandise! This guide is a result of many years of a Coach addiction as well as my passion for the ongoing fight against counterfeit designer goods. Along with designer bags, I also have a love of designer denim. To find out more information, please scroll to the bottom of this guide.

As the Coach Moderator on  AuthenticForum , I make it my mission and passion to help my beloved community avoid the plethora of fakes that flood eBay and other sites. In sharing my knowledge with the eBay community, I am hopefully doing my small part in helping you avoid buying fakes! If you have any questions, please feel free to message me and let me know. If you'd like to join one of the most friendly, passionate, fashion-forward,  communities on the Internet, be sure to check out AuthenticForum.

If you have found this guide helpful, please vote "yes" on the bottom of this page. Thank you! :-)

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Here are some general tips about shopping for Coach:

  • As with any other auction, avoid any listing that uses only stock pictures. Ask for pictures of the actual item being purchased. Also, you may want to contact the seller and ask for bigger pictures of the bag. As with most handbags, the devil is in the details (stitching, creed, hangtag, etc.) and most of those cannot be captured in a gallery picture.
  • Coach does not sell their items wholesale! The only places where you can get authentic Coach items are: Coach stores, Coach Factory stores, Coach.com or Coach catalog, and authorized retailers (Macy*s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, etc.), corporate sponsors/events. Some discount stores sell them as well (Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Filene’s Basement, etc.), but even with those stores, authenticity cannot be guaranteed.
  • Check out the seller’s other items as well as their feedback. Most sellers are hit-or-miss when it comes to selling handbags. It is rare to see a seller with a mix of real and fake bags. If they sell in large quantities, they most likely are getting their bags from the same source.
  • Coach Factory items are not faked (not that I know of anyway! Why fake Factory items when you can fake the real thing?).
  • Signature and specialty bags are faked more than leather and suede bags.
  • Coach is only made with real leather, and over time, the bag will develop a patina. The patina isn’t as deep as that of Louis Vuitton or other bags though. Even for trim and detailing, real leather is always used. Thus, the leather shouldn’t pucker, wrinkle, or appear “plastic-y”.
  • From 1994 to present, Coach stopped using specific serial numbers for their bags. Like the cut number on most jeans, serial number can sometimes be used to judge a bag’s authenticity, but not always. There are some real bags with commonly faked serial numbers.

Tips for Authenticating Coach:

Coach Cs:

SYMMETRY! Symmetry is very important in most Coach bags (I say most because some bags – like certain hobos, and the new signature stripe series – purposely have mismatched Cs). The Cs should always be symmetrical from the center of the bag to the outside seams. If the bag has a center seam, the Cs should be symmetrical along the seam.


REAL. Cs are centered both on front and bottom of bag.


REAL. Cs are centered along center seam.


FAKE. Look at the creed on the front. The Cs should be symmetrical around it, and they are not.

Coach Creed:

The creed should always be centered and easy-to-read. Most bags have a stamped creed on the inside. The creed should not be “puffy” and the stitching around it should be evenly spaced, with the same amount of stitches on all sides. The leather should also be thick – not wrinkled and cracked. Some newer bags have an embossed creed with gold font. For this creed, the font should be centered on each line. Coach is no longer being made in the U.S.A., as its production has been shipped to other countries. The most common country where Coach is manufactured is China, but I have also seen some creeds with Turkey as the country of manufacture.


REAL. Creeds are stamped firmly and easy to read. Font is centered. Stitching is bold and intact.


FAKE. This creed it barely legible. It is too lightly stamped. You should also look out for creeds that are too "puffy", creeds with wrinkled leather, and creeds with unevenly spaced or inconsistent fonts.

Stitching:

Stitching is a vital part of authenticity. Stitches should always be even and consistent. The number of stitches should always be the same around the hangtag, and stitches are not doubled up.


REAL. If the bag has "feet", they should have stitching around the feet.


REAL. The stitches are all the same size, even, and straight.

Interior/Lining:

The type of lining a bag will have is determined by the exterior of the bag. Signature bags will never have a signature lining. Signature lining should only be found on leather and suede bags. Signature bags will have a twill or silk-like solid lining. Some of the newer bags will have a rainbow colored lining.



REAL. Mini signature lining on blue leather bag.


FAKE. A bad signature/signature combo.

Coach Hangtag:

The Coach hangtag should match the bag. For example, if the bag is pink signature, hangtag should be pink, etc. The size of the hangtag should also match. For clutches, wristlets, small bags, etc., the hangtag should be a small size. For larger bags, there should be a larger hangtag. The color of the chain should match the rivet on the hangtag as well (silver with silver, gold with gold, etc.) In addition to the traditional leather hangtag, they are also produced in brass, stitchless leather, silver, and gold. Like the creed, the hangtag should be nicely stamped, evenly stitched, and not overly puffy. The Coach stamp should have a border around it and the font should be the correct.


REAL. Black patent leather hangtag. The leather matches the patent detailing and the keychain/hangtag hole matches the brass hardware on the buckle.

Coach Stamp:

All Coach items contain the Coach stamp – whether it’s on the hangtag, the side of the bag, a button, a rivet, a buckle, the inside of a wallet, a keyring, etc. See above for details about the hangtag – the same rules apply to the Coach Stamp.

The Coach stamp and insignia should be the same font, and be centered and evenly stamped/spaced.

Price Tag:


All Coach price tags are attached with a small plastic loop. The price tag should be a small, white, folded tag with the price perforated for easy removal. The tag has “Coach” written on the outside and the inside contains the style number, style name, color combination, and bar code. The price tag is always placed in a position where it can be tucked into the bag. If you’ve ever been to a Coach store or retailer, you’ll notice that the price tag is never visible – you always have to unzip the bag to see how much it is! Yes, this is done on purpose. The price tag should never be attached to a part of the bag where it cannot be hidden and the plastic loop should never hang down more than an inch or so.


Factory Items:

All Coach Factory items have a stamp on the creed. Most of the time, the stamp looks like a bullseye, or “Target” symbol. However, there are some creeds with an “X” stamp. Both kinds of stamps indicate a Factory item and are authentic.

Please note that Factory items are not seconds. They are first-quality and discontinued items that are produced specially for the Outlet.


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Due to the limited space and picture restrictions on eBay, my entire guide cannot be posted here. If you would like to view the full guide, with detailed pictures, please visit AuthenticForum!

For other helpful guides on how to authenticate designer denim, please see  Idalis's Guides !

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