(First published on July 27, 2017)
In this part, we will be discussing an important, if not, the most important leather tag style. Of all the posts in this guide, this has the most number of photos attached.
The most popular bags under Alessandro Michele, including Gucci Marmont, Gucci Dionysus, Gucci Blooms and Gucci Padlock bags will have this leather tag.
Over time that I received authentication requests for these bags, I noticed fakes are getting better and better. Save yourself the trouble and have it professionally authenticated. I have seen scary good fakes, which will rattle the uninitiated.
You may click here for more information. What’s $5 for a thousand dollars lost for a fake Gucci Marmont bag?
The Rectangular Tag
You want your first Gucci bag. You browsed Ebay and got overwhelmed with all the bags listed. A bag looked identical to the one above and below it. You had eye fatigue and bought the one with the serial number. It has a serial number so, of course, it is authentic. WRONG.
A lot of authentic, contemporary Gucci bags (i.e. from the mid 90s, check the history here) have this style of leather tag attached inside:
This is a sensitive topic, as most of the fakes flooding the market now would have had this type of leather tag. It could have been the type of tag inside your first fake Gucci bag you bought from Ebay. So read on!
This type of leather tag is currently in production in most, if not all, Gucci bags. It, therefore, makes sense to be aware of what to look for. As I mention several times, the devil is in the details.
So, how to read Gucci serial numbers? Is there a meaning to a Gucci serial number? Can we have a Gucci date code like there is a Louis Vuitton date code?
Well, the Gucci tag’s “serial number” (as this is what most people call it) has, based on the information I researched, the style code/number in the first row that should also be reflected on the bag’s price tag, and the supplier code on the second row.
This means that 2 or more bags may have the same serial number. However, fakes also have the same serial number (i.e. style code and supplier code).
For small leather goods like wallets, cardholders or coin purses, the Gucci serial number is divided by a period: to the left of the period is the style code, while the number on the right is the supplier code.
The Gucci serial number, however, cannot give information the year a Gucci bag is made unlike the Louis Vuitton date code. Your best bet is to familiarize yourself with the styles/era the bag was made.
This could be instinctive as you get more acquainted on the evolution of Gucci bags. So, you’ll have no luck looking for information on a “Gucci date code”, unfortunately.
Without mentioning explicitly what makes the leather tag and the serial number fake, let us begin by looking at some fake ones. Heaven forbid that a “Gucci China”-made crossed your path! It will never be made in China, but there are reports of luxury houses outsourcing pre-production, but I digress.
Fake Gucci Serial Number & Tag Parade
With minimal discussion of the specifics, let us begin our fake Gucci parade!
Let’s begin with the very bad fake ones.
Look at the rectangular tag below. It is not even close to what an authentic GUCCI is supposed to look like. While I may take offense with the bad edging job on this bag, I’ve seen a couple of authentic Gucci bags that leaves a lot to be desired on this aspect.
For this fake Gucci serial number, it appears to be authentic for an untrained eye. Sometimes I watch fake items on Ebay to see how high these would go. Unfortunately, it’s either the seller feign authenticity or, most of the time, the poor buyer just did not know at all. I’ve seen hideous fake bags sold as high as $200!
What you should remember is that for rectangular Gucci leather tags, they are composed of two rows of NUMBERS (only numbers, you’ll eventually see below why I emphasized this).
A quick Google search of the serial number (even just one row) will show in Google Images a similar bag. Even if you search the whole thing, again, Gucci serial numbers are not unique. And, again, fakes may also have the same serial number as an authentic bag!
Here is an example of a fake serial number for a popular Gucci bag. This is for a Gucci Monogram Canvas Tote Bag with Red and Green Stripe Handle.
I might be jumping ahead of my post here, but I’d like to quickly post this authentic leather tag and serial number of the same style for instant comparison.
It is obviously a well-loved piece.
Anyway, compare the details of the serial number from the fake one and the authentic below it. The font of the serial looks miles apart.
Don’t worry, we’ll have more examples.
Let us continue with the fake parade, as things will progressively look more difficult.
Look how sloppy the GUCCI is. It appears that the two Cs got into a fight. Also, why is there a letter in a Gucci serial NUMBER?
In the next two photos, both are fake leather tags and serial numbers of the same style of bag.
Meanwhile, here is an example of a serial number for a fake Gucci Soho crossbody bag:
The last serial number photo in this Gucci fake parade is something you should be careful of. In the example below, it seems that the front of the leather tag got all the details correct. But as you turn the tag, you will see the waving red flag.
Scary, right? That’s why you must study all details as closely as possible. Look at the font at the front and, especially, the numbers at the back.
Better yet, have us at Bagaholic 101 authenticate your bag for a stress-free buying. A minimal $5 saves you a lot of time and hassle.
Here is another fake bag, this time a Gucci GG Canvas Positano bag with a scarf. It is worth zooming into the photo because the leather actually looks decent. But upon close inspection you can see the details are off, and the serial number is nothing like what is used on authentic Gucci bags.
(Same can be said of a super fake Gucci Dionysus bag discussed with photos and tips here)
Authentic Gucci Leather Tags & Serial Numbers
This will be the most tedious, but definitely the most helpful part: what to see on authentic Gucci leather tags. I have combed my hard drive and other storage to compile as many photos of authentic Gucci bags on Ebay (and other online platforms) that I sold.
A COUPLE OF NOTES:
- The front should have the registered trademark symbol (®), which I guess you already know from the fake parade above. Then the GUCCI font under it, followed by an all lowercase ‘made in italy’. BUT there are rare cases where the symbol is missing in authentic Gucci bags (I posted a photo towards the end).
- Contrary to what you may have already read online, it is impossible for ALL Gucci bags to have that defined embossing on the leather. Why? There are a couple of factors. This could be because: a) the material itself could resist properly defined embossing (e.g. pigskin leather with hair follicles), b) the leather eventually got worn and soft that made the print shallow (this is especially evident on GUCCI embossed zipper pulls), c) there are bags bought from Gucci handbags outlet, which are made from excess (I prefer this than scrap) materials, and had less stringent quality control, or d) a bag even from a flagship store could have been deemed acceptable under inspection because all other details are up to standard (again, Gucci is no Hermès, quality-wise). This list is not exhaustive.
- A Gucci serial number should have two rows. While the bottom row is made up of a block of numbers, the top row can vary. On some bags, it could also be a block of number. But in others, it is grouped into clusters of two, divided by a dot or in rarer cases, a dash.
Again, I would not want to give out as many details to prevent counterfeiters improving their fake bags.
Remember the authentic Gucci coated monogram canvas messenger bag I bought for $10? Here is its leather tag and serial number.
I also had a similar messenger bag before, but made with a black nylon canvas bag. Here is its leather tag and serial number (notice they have the same top row?):
These are some of pigskin Gucci leather tags, making it tricky to make out the details but you can still see it. The follicles also make some of the details look a bit weird.
Remember what I mentioned about leather getting worn and soft? See the details of the first Gucci leather tag and the serial number below from a monogram canvas messenger bag (this has perforated leather trims on both sides, and two leather straps with velcro in front, if I remember correctly). The rest suffer from the same fate.
Here are also a couple of interesting colors and materials:
The one below is an exception. It is missing the registered trademark symbol on top. This is a Gucci bamboo handle with a satin body. But it is, definitely, authentic.
We can also observe this side-by-side comparison of a Gucci Gifford tote (one brown and one black).
Last but not the least, look at this Gucci leather tag and serial number below. There is a rectangular leather tag with studs outside the flap of the bag. The embossed number in this outside tag is the same as the top row of the serial number. =)
I hope that by now, you already get the gist of how to tell if a Gucci bag is real, with the help of scrutinizing the leather tag and the serial number inside. Next section will discuss exterior details of a Gucci bag.
(Still unsure? Then you may try BAGAHOLIC 101’s authentication service below — QUICK AND EASY!)
‘ULTIMATE GUCCI GUIDE’: CLICK A SECTION