(ETA: It has come to my attention that the ‘Chicago Tribune‘ has mentioned Bagaholic 101 in their article ‘Is that handbag real, or fake? Here’s how to prove your designer bag is the real thing‘. Thank you very much, Ms. Ellen Warren for the feature and recognizing this Ultimate Gucci Guide!)
material | vintage serial number | rounded tag serial number | rectangular tag serial number | exterior | hardware | zipper | lining | seams | vintage gucci and gucci accessory collection | gucci outlet | gucci plus | case study 1: gucci abbey bag | case study 2 : gucci soho bag | case study 3 : gucci dionysus bag
Before I start this ‘Ultimate Guide’ in buying Gucci purses on Ebay, or online for that matter, let me tell you a not-so-brief history on where this knowledge came from. I bet for anyone contemplating to buy from the pre-loved market, this is an anecdote you can easily relate to. And this is the motivation why I thought of helping others with tips in spotting an authentic from a fake Gucci bag.
(Though if you want to skip this inane trip down memory lane, click here to jump to the ‘Sections’ below this post).
In May 2007, I bought my first ever Vogue magazine. At the time, I was a precarious, freshly out of uni 22-year old on my first job. I remember flipping madly at the March 2007 issue of US Vogue during lunch break (the thick Spring Issue with Jennifer Hudson on the cover, on the trail of the awards season for her Dreamgirls fame).
I cannot remember if it was an editorial or an advertisement, but it was only then that the name Gucci rang a dusty bell in my mind. The beautiful monogram, trimmed with luscious leather from that glossy page reminded me an old purse from our closet.
As soon as the clock hit 5, I hurried off home right away. I grabbed this pouch from the bowels of our closet and marveled at the monogram design.
I used it everyday for 5 months straight. The pouch on its own, the pouch inside a bigger bag, the pouch kept under my arm while just buying bread from the bakery across the street; name it, I carried it everywhere.
One Isn’t Enough, Buy a Bag!
On the 6th month, I thought why not buy a bag now? But as I barely had a lot in my bank account, the pre-loved market crossed my mind.
As a devout academic, I did my research. For hour’s end until the break of dawn of the same night (or day), I read everything about buying Gucci purses on Ebay.
But something was amiss. With all these related literature at hand, it finally dawned on me. I was gobsmacked. THE PURSE I’VE BEEN LOVINGLY USING FOR THE PAST 5 MONTHS WAS FAKE.
I inspected it closely from the information I had and, yep, it was a counterfeit Gucci; and not even a good one. It never saw the light of the day again.
I had left my infatuation at the drawing board, and had been focused on other things (e.g. left my first job, fell in love, got heartbroken after only a couple of months — you get the gist).
During that heartbroken phase, I pulled out my virtual dossier. The opportunity from this despair was the rekindled interest. Most of all, the wealth of information I managed to gather eventually empowered me to buy. (Interestingly, I’ve been with a new, and still the same, person months after. We’ve been together for almost 9 years now.)
As you can see, I even managed to save (from an old 250 MB flash drive) the original photo sent by the seller with a 14 July 2008 watermark. It was the serial number of a messenger bag in black monogram canvas.
I also managed to score a bag from a thriftstore, which the seller claimed as fake, sold only for about $10! No way! It’s a popular and widely faked style, but upon close inspection, it was the real deal.
But the opportunity from this information was that I then began selling bags I bought from thriftstores and online (I cannot overstate the power of good photos and presentation skills), and this is where the ‘Ultimate Guide’ took its roots. Who knew this could be an additional source of income?
The Devil is in the Details
Few months after this first authentic Gucci bag, I passed by a garage sale with a bunch of bags on top of a table. Curiosity kicked in and I checked out some of the items.
Among the lot, I noticed this nondescript but elegant bag. With its black nylon canvas body and metallic frame closure, my heart pounded quickly. It was a Gucci bag!
Long story short, I bought the bag and sold it on Ebay for more than 6 times the price I had bought it.
Suffice to say, my research a year ago for Gucci was the start of a long career in buying and selling bags. But not all bags are created equal. Even some fake bags look convincingly authentic with an untrained eye. That’s the reason why I compiled this useful guide in buying Gucci purses, whether on Ebay or other online platforms, where we rely mostly on images. I have already stopped this venture because of lack of time, but I thought it is better to share this information online.
From material, hardware, zipper and even seams, I have created this series to see the devil in the details when looking for authentic Gucci bags. I have also included an especially long section for Gucci leather tags and serial number — because, sometimes, a close Gucci bag serial number check is all you need.
I have also added special topics dedicated to know what to look on commonly-searched authentic vintage Gucci bags, the vague “Gucci Plus” bags, as well as case studies of comparing real vs. fake Gucci bags.
The aim of this ‘Ultimate Guide’ is to help the Gucci newcomers be informed, the same way I had hoped my 22-year old self could have stopped carrying that fake Gucci pouch. Oh, the foolishness of youth! =)
A picture paints a thousand words, that’s why this whole endeavor of how to tell if a Gucci bag is real (or fake) is accompanied by more than 300 clear photos of fake and, of course, authentic Gucci bag details. This is especially helpful for those who find “How to Spot Fake Gucci Bags” guide (wiki/wikiHow) especially frustrating because they are so sparse with details.
You can thank me later, after you evaded your potentially fake bag. Let us start with Gucci bag material.
‘ULTIMATE GUCCI GUIDE’ SECTIONS: