Louis Vuitton Guide
Contrary to popular belief, Louis Vuitton handbags (excluding luggage and rare limited edition pieces) do not have serial numbers. Rather, Louis Vuitton handbags have "date codes" stamped either on interior tags or directly on the interior linings. These date codes simply serve to identify the manufacturing location and date for a Louis Vuitton handbag, not to verify its authenticity. With the exception of early handbags (early 1980s and older), date codes can be found on all Louis Vuitton handbags and other items made by the luxury brand (e.g. sunglasses).
Most date codes are a combination of letters and numbers. The letters indicated the country in which the item was made while the numbers indicate the month/year of the production date. The formats of the date codes are as follows:
The French Company
From 1970's through 1991 Louis Vuitton and The French Luggage Company in United Stated had a collaboration/licensed relationship. Goods therefrom have other markings and no date codes.
Louis Vuitton goods manufactured prior to 1980 have no date codes and can only be authenticated by meticulously inspecting the construction: brass pieces, hardware, lining, leather quality and condition, stitching etc.
- French Company - no date code (tyvek-like tag only)
- Saks Fifth Avenue - no date code (stamp only)
- Fabric Design - no date code (stamp only)
- Legend: Y=Year, M=Month, W=week, CC=Country Code [country list further below]
Louis Vuitton starts marking their goods with three to four digit Date Codes, representing the month and year when the particular item was manufactured. The first two numbers represent the year and the last number(s) the month i.e. "836" would indicate that the item was manufactured in the sixth month (June) of 1983.
Mid to Late 1980s
Louis Vuitton ads two letters to the previous three to four digit date code. The letters represent the factory location. "VI8610" would thus indicate that the item was manufactured in France, October 1986. On some pieces the date code may be split up, showing the letters in one place and the numbers in an adjacent area. In the late 1980's, standards were set in place that ensured letters to always be placed before the numbers.
- 3 numbers YYM: 821 = January 1982
- 4 numbers YYMM: 8312 = December 1983
- 2 letters 3 numbers CC YYM: TH 863 = France March 1986
- 3 numbers 2 letters YYM CC: 865 TH = May 1986 France
- 2 letters 4 numbers CC YYMM: TH 8812 = France December 1988
- 4 numbers 2 letters YYMM CC: 8910 TH = October 1989 France
1990 to 2006
By 1990 some date codes were given a new format; having the year and month digits staggered. The first two letters represent the country, the first and third number represent the month, and the second and fourth number representing the year i.e. "SD0070" would indicate that the item was manufactured in USA in the 7th month (July) of 2000.
- 2 letters 4 numbers CC MYMY - TH 1920 is December 1990
2007 and Later
In 2007 Louis Vuitton made further changes - date codes are now in week format. The first two letters represent the country, the first and third numbers represent the week of the year, and the second and fourth number representing the year i.e. "VI3058" would indicate that the item was manufactured in France in the 35th week (late August) of 2008.
- 2 letters 4 numbers CC WYWY - TH 3077 is 37th week of 2007
DATE CODE BY COUNTRY:
- France: A0, A1, A2, AA, AH, AN, AR, AS, AX, BA, BJ, BU, CT, CV, DR, DU, ET, FL, GR, IT, LW, MB, MS, MI, NO, RA, RE (also Italy), RI, SA (also Italy), SD (also USA), SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, VI, V.I.
- USA: FC, FH, OS, SD (also France), LA
- Spain: CA, CR, LB, LM, LO, LW
- Italy: BO, CE, FO, RE, MA, RC, RO, SA, TD
- Switzerland: DI, FA
- Germany: LP
- BA Mostly (France) but there have been some LE pieces made in Spain.
- CA Mostly Spain but there have been some Vernis made in France in 1999.
- FC USA bags made in 1980's.
- LA USA bags which are largely discontinued (have appeared on Boulogne 30, Montsouris Moyen, Papillon 26.
- Speedy 30, Pochette Orsay.
- SD France bags prior to 1995 [until opening of San Dimas when SD became USA]
DATE CODE BY LINE TYPE:
- A2 (France): Mono Canvas, Epi
- AA (France): Mono Canvas, Vernis, Damier Ebene
- AR (France): Mono Canvas, CB, Damier Canvas, Epi, LV Cup
- AS (France): Suhali, Epi, Vernis, Mini Lin
- AX (France): Mono Canvas
- BA (France): Mat Mono, Vernis, CB
- BJ (France): Mat Mono, Epi, Vernis
- BU (France): Mono Canvas
- CA (Spain): Mono Canvas, CB, Epi, Mini Mono, Vernis, MC, Damier Canvas, Mat Mono, Damier Azur, Suhali, Glace, Groom
- CB (?): Mono Ambre
- CE (Italy): Vernis, Damier Sauvage
- CR (Spain): Damier Canvas
- CT (France): Mono Canvas, Cerises, Mono Groom, Damier Canvas
- DU (France): Mono Canvas, Mono Mirage, Damier Canvas
- ET (France): Mono Canvas
- FC (USA): Mono Canvas
- FA (Switzerland): Monte Carlo Loafer
- FH (USA): Mono Canvas
- FL (France): Mono Canvas, MC, Damier Canvas, Mono Denim, Epi
- FO (Italy): Damier Lune, Paris
- JA (France): Patent sandal from 2009 RTW
- KU (?): Taiga desk set
- LA (USA): Monogram
- LM (Spain): Mat Mono, Vernis, Damier Canvas, Suhali
- LW (Spain): Vernis
- MA (Italy): Balmoral Heels
- MI (France): Mono Canvas, Mini Mono, Vernis, Mat Mono, Damier Canvas, Epi, Damier Azur, Mono Dentelle, MC, Damier Centenaire, Mono Perfo, Cerises
- MB (France): Mono Canvas, Damier Canvas, Mono Charms, Mono Motard
- RA (France): Mono Canvas, Damier Canvas
- RC (Italy): Mono Denim, Nimbus
- RI (France): Vernis, Tobago
- SD (USA & France): Mono Canvas, MC, Damier Canvas, Damier Azur
- SL (France): Mono Canvas, MC
- SN (France): MC Wish Bracelet, Mini Mono Wish Bracelet, Vernis Wish Bracelet
- SP (France): Mono Canvas, Mini Mono, Damier Canvas, Epi, Mono Denim, MC, Cerises, Damier Azur, Mono Perfo, Mirage, Mini Lin
- SR (France): Mono Canvas, Mini Mono, MC, Mono Satin, Epi, Vernis
- TH (France): CB, MC, Vernis, Mat Mono, Suhali, Damier Canvas, Mono Canvas, Damier Azur, Mono Mini, Epi, Mono Leopard
- VI (France): Mono Canvas, Mini Mono, Vernis, Damier Canvas, Epi, Mono Denim, MC, Damier Azur
- VX (?): Mono garment bag born in April 1988
DATE CODES SEEN ON SO ITEMS
- AAS 11339 (France) SO Epi item
- DU… (France) SO Damier Looping
- AAS… (France) Mono wallet
DATE CODES SEEN ON RE-LINED ITEMS
- DK… (USA)
- DK 1047 (France)
- DK 4077 (France)
- DK 2907 (France)
- DK 1068
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: I can't find a date code on my bag. Does that mean it is not authentic?
A: No. Louis Vuitton implemented the use of date codes in the early 1980's. Your bag may have been produced before date codes were used. In addition, date codes are difficult to locate on many items.
Q: Can you tell me where a date code should be located?
A: If you send photos of your item, I may be able to point you in the right direction.
Q: Can I assume my bag is authentic if it has a date code?
A: Having a date code does not assure authenticity. Most good fakes have valid date codes. However, an invalid date code means that the bag is not authentic.
Q: Is a serial number and date code the same thing?
A: The proper term is "date code" and the two terms refer to the same thing: The number assigned by the factory when the item was manufactured.
Q: Are there any LV bags that do not have a date code inside?
A: Yes. Vintage (pre-1980) bags do not have date codes.
Q: Does every single Louis Vuitton purse or wallet have a date code?