Coach Authenticity Guide - AuthenticForum
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:54 PM
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Coach Authenticity Guide

**** Hi everyone! Thanks for your patience -- the Coach Authenticity Guide is finally here! I am keeping this thread locked for now, because it is already quite long with all the text and pictures. If you have any questions/comments/updates, feel free to post a thread or PM me. I am constantly looking to improve this, and will be doing so as new styles come out. If you have any pictures (real or fake) that you would like to contribute, please PM them to me. As always, many thanks to my fellow AFers. You guys are the best! Thanks ****

********** The information contained in this guide is property of the author (DarlinAnna) and Duplication in any form is prohibited without permission of the original owner. **********

Some general tips for shopping for Coach:

1) As with any other auction, avoid any listing that uses only stock pictures. Ask for pictures of the actual item being purchased. Also, you may want to contact the seller and ask for bigger pictures of the bag. As with most handbags, the devil is in the details (stitching, creed, hangtag, etc.) and most of those cannot be captured in a gallery picture.

2) Coach does not sell their items wholesale! The only places where you can get authentic Coach items are: Coach stores, Coach Factory stores, or Coach catalog, and authorized retailers (Macy*s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, etc.), corporate sponsors/events. Some discount stores sell them as well (Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Filene’s Basement, etc.), but even with those stores, authenticity cannot be guaranteed.

3) Check out the seller’s other items as well as their feedback. Most sellers are hit-or-miss when it comes to selling handbags. It is rare to see a seller with a mix of real and fake bags. If they sell in large quantities, they most likely are getting their bags from the same source.

4) Coach Factory items are not faked (not that I know of anyway! Why fake Factory items when you can fake the real thing?).

5) Signature and specialty bags are faked more than leather and suede bags.

6) Coach is only made with real leather, and over time, the bag will develop a patina. The patina isn’t as deep as that of Louis Vuitton or other bags though. Even for trim and detailing, real leather is always used. Thus, the leather shouldn’t pucker, wrinkle, or appear “plastic-y”.

7) From 1994 to present, Coach stopped using specific serial numbers for their bags. Like the cut number on most jeans, serial number can sometimes be used to judge a bag’s authenticity, but not always. There are some real bags with commonly faked serial numbers.

Tips for authenticating Coach:

Coach Cs:

SYMMETRY! Symmetry is very important in most Coach bags (I say most because some bags – like certain hobos – purposely have mismatched Cs). The Cs should always be symmetrical from the center of the bag to the outside seams. If the bag has a center seam, the Cs should be symmetrical along the seam.

REAL. Cs are centered both on front and bottom of bag.

REAL. Cs are centered along center seam.

REAL. Cs should be centered not just around seams, but also along the zipper, like on this bag.

FAKE. Look at the creed on the front. The Cs should be symmetrical around it, and they are not.

FAKE. Check out the bad quality of the fabric here. Also, the Cs are not symmetrical -- check out how crooked the bottom line of fabric is!

FAKE. Again, lack of symmetry. Check out the bottom of the bag, as well as the middle. Cs should be centered within the rectangular stitching in the middle.

FAKE. The pattern around the center seam is completely off. No symmetry!

FAKE. Make sure you get pics of the bag from angles. On this one, the front of the bag was symmetrical, but on the bottom, the Cs are off-center.

Coach Creed:

The creed should always be centered and easy-to-read. Most bags have a stamped creed on the inside. The creed should not be “puffy” and the stitching around it should be evenly spaced, with the same amount of stitches on all sides. The leather should also be thick – not wrinkled and cracked. Some newer bags have an embossed creed with gold font. For this creed, the font should be centered on each line. Coach is no longer being made in the U.S.A., as its production has been shipped to other countries. The most common country where Coach is manufactured is China, but I have also seen some creeds with Turkey as the country of manufacture.

REAL. Creeds are stamped firmly and easy to read. Font is centered. Stitching is bold and intact.

FAKE. The font on the serial number is incorrect -- too widely spaced and the letters are all different sizes.

FAKE. This creed it barely legible. It is too lightly stamped.

FAKE. That's real leather? Only if real leather wrinkles!


Stitching is a vital part of authenticity. Stitches should always be even and consistent. The number of stitches should always be the same around the hangtag, and stitches are not doubled up.

REAL. If the bag has "feet", they should have stitching around the feet.

REAL. The stitches are all the same size, even, and straight.

FAKE. Bad/uneven stitching here. Also, the Coach stamp is crooked!


The type of lining a bag will have is determined by the exterior of the bag. Signature bags will never have a signature lining. Signature lining should only be found on leather and suede bags. Signature bags will have a twill or silk-like solid lining. Some of the newer bags will have a rainbow colored lining.

REAL. Signature lining on red leather bag.

REAL. Signature lining on Hamptons Weekend bag.

REAL. Mini signature lining on blue leather bag.

FAKE. Signature lining on a signature bag? Big no-no. Also, check out the horrible stitching around the creed. You should be able to make out each individual stitch on an authentic bag.

FAKE. Another bad signature/signature combo.

Coach Hangtag:

The Coach hangtag should match the bag. For example, if the bag is pink signature, hangtag should be pink, etc. The size of the hangtag should also match. For clutches, wristlets, small bags, etc., the hangtag should be a small size. For larger bags, there should be a larger hangtag. The color of the chain should match the rivet on the hangtag as well (silver with silver, gold with gold, etc.) In addition to the traditional leather hangtag, they are also produced in brass, stitchless leather, silver, and gold. Like the creed, the hangtag should be nicely stamped, evenly stitched, and not overly puffy. The Coach stamp should have a border around it and the font should be the correct.

REAL. A stitchless leather tag. Stamp is evenly centered and not stamped too lightly.

REAL. Black patent leather hangtag. The leather matches the patent detailing and the keychain/hangtag hole matches the brass hardware on the buckle.

REAL. Gold hangtag on gold lurex bag (left) and metal hangtag (right)

FAKE. The hangtag on the left is too "puffy." The stamp should be indented into the leather. Also, the price tag has the wrong font and the stitching is sloppy/crooked. The hangtag on the right is the opposite -- too flat. Font on the price tag is also wrong.

FAKE. Corner stitches are rounded, not straight. Coach stamp is crooked and off-center.

Coach Stamp:

All Coach items contain the Coach stamp – whether it’s on the hangtag, the side of the bag, a button, a rivet, a buckle, the inside of a wallet, a keyring, etc. See above for details about the hangtag – the same rules apply to the Coach Stamp.

REAL. Coach stamp on Carryall clasp.

REAL. Coach insignia on a button. Font is centered all around and evenly spaced.

REAL. Coach insignia on buckle.

FAKE. The stamp on the buckle here is the incorrect font. Also, the Cs aren't symmetrical!

FAKE. Lots of things wrong here -- but one of them is the Coach stamp on the clasp.

Price Tag:

All Coach price tags are attached with a small plastic loop. The price tag should be a small, white, folded tag with the price perforated for easy removal. The tag has “Coach” written on the outside and the inside contains the style number, style name, color combination, and bar code. The price tag is always placed in a position where it can be tucked into the bag. If you’ve ever been to a Coach store or retailer, you’ll notice that the price tag is never visible – you always have to unzip the bag to see how much it is! Yes, this is done on purpose. The price tag should never be attached to a part of the bag where it cannot be hidden and the plastic loop should never hang down more than an inch or so.

FAKE. Among the many things wrong with this bag -- the "price tag" is incorrect and is in the wrong place. The Cs are also horribly off-center.

Factory Items:

All Coach Factory items have a stamp on the creed. Most of the time, the stamp looks like a bullseye, or “Target” symbol. However, there are some creeds with an “X” stamp (if anyone has a picture, please PM it to me). Both kinds of stamps indicate a Factory item and are authentic.

Please note that Factory items are not seconds. They are first-quality and discontinued items that are produced specially for the Outlet.

REAL. The creeds above are all from Coach Factory handbags.
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