It goes without saying that Chanel's Classic Flap Bag is one of fashion's most iconic styles. Soon after Karl Lagerfeld joined the label in the mid-1980's, the purse made its debut. Designed with the modern woman in mind, the Classic Flap featured a more recognizable "CC" turn-lock closure and leather woven straps. Its popularity was nearly instantaneous, but along with the fame came counterfeiting concerns.
In attempt to limit counterfeits, Chanelfirst began manufacturing handbags and accessories with serial number stickers in 1986. Used as a benchmark of authenticity, these serial numbers are attached to the interiors of Chanel pieces and indicate when a piece was manufactured. Each of these numbers is unique to the bag in which it's found, and no number is repeated.
NOTE: Serial numbers will match the authenticity card, however they will not be able to allow you to determine the style/model of the bag. These serial numbers are unique to their item and the card.
When Chanel began using serial stickers, they began issuing authenticity cards, featuring corresponding serial numbers. These cards have had slight changes throughout the years but have always been a black plastic card with white text and gold borders. Below we have provided an examples of a serial number sticker with its corresponding authenticity card.
Although Chanel bags made between 1986 and present day are manufactured with serial number stickers and authenticity cards, stickers can be damaged or removed and cards can be misplaced. If a Chanel handbag is missing these features, it does not always denote the piece as a counterfeit.
The First Serial Numbers
The earliest of serial numbers were printed on white stickers featuring subtle interlocking "CC" logos. Each of these serial numbers feature 7 digits printed on a cutout positioned the left side of the white sticker, while an opaque film encompasses the sticker. An example from a vintage bag, produced in the late 1980's or early 1990's, is pictured below. The serial number is printed on the cutout portion of the sticker and is a 1 series, indicating that the handbag was made in between 1989 and 1991.
By the 1990s, Chanel’s serial number stickers started to evolve with much more distinguishable interlocking “CC” logos printed throughout the stickers. The serial number located on the bag below features darkened interlocking CCs with an opaque film on the sticker.
The early 5 series sticker indicates this bag was manufactured between 1997-1999.
Evolution of Serial Numbers – Late 5 series to Early 2021
Starting near the end of 5 series pieces, Chanel has continued their anti-counterfeiting efforts by adding additional features to their serial number stickers. The numbers are still printed onto a white sticker, but the sticker is now completely covered with a clear tape featuring gold and blue glitter throughout. These serial numbers are printed on two-layered holographic stickers. The bottom layer is printed with the serial number and incised with an X, making it impossible to remove without destroying the sticker. They feature a gray line running vertically down the left margin and a line of repeating “CHANEL” with a very small “CC” logo running vertically down the right margin.
Below we have included examples of bags ranging from 6 series to 26 series.
The 6 series sticker above indicates the bag was manufactured between 2000-2002.
The 9 series sticker above indicates the bag was manufactured between 2004-2005, while the 14 series bag was manufactured in 2011.
The 26 series sticker above indicates the bag was manufactured in 2019.
Additional information to consider about Chanel serial numbers include:
The stickers are typically affixed to items in two different ways:
Attached directly to the interior lining
most items with a leather interior lining will have the sticker attached directly to the lining.
Stickers that are attached directly to the lining can be placed with the numbers facing right-side up or upside-down.
attached to a leather tab inside of the item
Serial Numbers Chart
Below, we have provided a chart with the Chanel serial number format and their corresponding years of production. If you are curious about the production year of your Chanel piece, use the following chart to help you discover the year.
NOTE: Serial numbers from 0 series to 9 series included 7 digits, whereas serial numbers 10 series to present day include 8 digits.
Present Day: The Plaque
As of April 2021, Chanel has made an interesting new twist in joining the efforts to eliminate counterfeiting. Much like Louis Vuitton's switch to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips and eliminating date codes, Chanel has put an end to the need for authenticity cards and the serial number sticker. Beginning with handbags, their purses will now include a plaque that matches the color of the hardware with a CC and a seven letter and digit combination etched into it. Small leather goods will continue to include the authenticity card.
This new system is implemented to deter the removal of the serial since the removal of the plaque will damage the bag. With a plaque, this also eliminates the loss of authenticity cards allowing Chanel to have information about the purchase.
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. ***
Did you find this information helpful? What year was your Chanel bag manufactured? Let us know in the comments below!