Did you know that you can learn about a Louis Vuitton bags history by looking at its date code? It is the key to finding out when and where a piece was manufactured. A date code is also one of the many aspects that we look at during our authentication process. One of the most helpful ways to determine whether a Louis Vuitton bag is authentic is verifying the date code because unlike other brands such as Chanel, LV purses do not come with authenticity cards.
Louis Vuitton has been incorporating date codes in almost every bag, wallet, shoe style, and small leather piece since the early 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, there was no such thing as a Louis Vuitton date code, which makes it difficult to date vintage pieces. Sometimes, date codes are hidden and may be difficult to locate because they are usually stamped on the lining or on a leather tab within a pocket.
When searching for a date code inside a handbag, check the following places first:
On a leather tab stitched into the edge of an interior pocket.
The underside of an interior leather tab, usually with a d-ring attached.
Directly on the lining of the piece, usually on the interior edge of a pocket, either horizontal or vertical. *This type of date code may be the most difficult to locate because they tend to fade with use over time.
Underneath the hanging pocket (in the case of Speedy and Neverfull bag styles).
Louis Vuitton has changed the date code configuration multiple times, but the date code will always contain letters and/or numbers. Although counterfeit bags can have date codes that appear authentic, there are many other details to review when considering authenticity. Below is a quick guide to deciphering the meaning of date codes and what is the future of date codes as of 2021.
Early 1980s and Before: No Date Codes
Louis Vuitton did not use date codes before 1982, therefore older vintage pieces can not be pinpointed as accurately as newer ones.
1982 to Mid 1980s Date Codes: Three or Four Digits
Vuitton's first foray into dates codes began in 1982. These codes consist of three to four-digit numbers, and no letters. The first two numbers indicate the year, and the last one or two numbers indicate the month of manufacturing.
* The “853” date code in the bag above indicates the piece was made in March, 1985.
Mid to Late 1980s Date Codes: Three or Four Digits with Two Letters
Louis Vuitton changed the date code system in the mid-Eighties to include letters that indicate the factory location of manufacturing. In early 1980s date codes, the first two numbers indicate the year, and the last one or two numbers indicate the month of manufacturing.
* The “874 SL” date code above indicates the bag was made in April of 1987 in France.
Early 1990 to 2006 Date Codes: Two Letters with Four Digits
In the early 1990s, Louis Vuitton moved the factory letters to the front of the date code and revised the numbering system. In this format, the first and third numbers represent the month, and the second and fourth numbers represent the year of manufacturing.
* The “FL0041” date code above indicates the bag was made in April of 2001 in France.
2007 to Early 2021: Two Letters with Four Digits (Number System was Revised)
In 2007, Louis Vuitton changed the four-digit numbering system format. Instead of indicating the month an item was manufactured, the first and third numbers now represent the week and the second and fourth numbers still represent the year. The letters continue to represent the specific factory where an item was manufactured.
An exception for this rule is sunglasses. Sunglasses can have date codes with one letter and four digits, slightly different than any other date code format.
* The “AH2105” date code above indicates the bag was made during the 20th week of 2015 in France. The 20th week was in May that year.
Present Day: The RFID Microchip
After March 1st, 2021, Louis Vuitton began replacing date codes with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips to their items, and as of March 31st, all items will no longer include a date code. With this removal of date codes and the implementation of these microchips, only Louis Vuitton stores will be able to scan the chips to receive the manufacturing information including name, date, materials, and more about the item. The only identifier these items will continue to include is the made in stamping, unless it is made in the USA.
Louis Vuitton Date Code Factory Chart
Below, we included an easy-to-read chart with Louis Vuitton factory codes.
*If an item has been re-lined, Louis Vuitton issues a new date code with the factory location code of “DK”. Keep in mind, the re-lined date code factory location may conflict with the “made in” stamping on the outside of the bag (if applicable). For example, if a bag has been re-lined, the interior may say “Made in France,” but the exterior stamping may still say “Made in USA”, matching the country of its original origin.
Don’t forget to learn more about identifying authentic Louis Vuitton pieces and how to safely clean your Louis bag.
There are several companies that do offer authentication services. Mypoupette, CarolDiva, and Authenticate4U are all reputable authentication companies who would be happy to review your item for a small fee. ***
[Updated May 2021]
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