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Spotting Phony Coach Handbags For Absolute Beginners

1 Coach Logo patterns: If the Coach bag has the famous double C monogram pattern, then your initial step should be to inspect the center of the handbag for an asymmetric line up. Authentic double C patterns should appear symmetric in relationship to center seam line. This does not have to be geometrically perfect. Coach does allow for some variance with respect to their monogram pattern. That being said, there is a threshold that Coach will not cross , but many counterfeit handbags (due to the speed in which they are made), will inadvertently breach Coach’s quality threshold. And this quality breach is simple to spot.

Symmetric Coach monogram
centered monogram pattern

i Expect non-perfect seams: Coach will always maintain high quality symmetry concerning their monogram patterns and seam lines. However, they will not be perfect. Remember that you will encounter periodically some slight variance in the pattern symmetry, but there is a threshold. A good rule of thumb is: beware if the asymmetry draws attention to itself. If when you look at the pattern and you can't help but to notice that the pattern is slightly off, that monogram pattern may be beyond the threshold. However, keep in mind this should be used only as a general guideline. .

[Table I.] Coach label codes:

Pre-1994: [n=number, the table refers to the first three characters of a seven digit sequence]

Post-1994: [a=letter or number, the table refers to the first three or four characters of an alpha-numeric sequence]

Code sequenceManufacturing Year

2 Coach label:The Coach label should be the second element to inspect following the monogram pattern. Coach labels have undergone slight changes over time [Table I.], and they can be tricky to navigate as details can be slightly different between authentic models. Because of this difficulty, a solid baseline to work from is the sequence progression outlined in table I. At the very least, the Coach label should conform to these minimal details.

Authentic 2012 Coach label
10 character alpha-numeric sequence
The F1276 is the alpha-numeric sequence where the manufacturing year is found. In this case, the 12 refers to 2012.

3 Special label characters: You might encounter certain stamps that originate from licensed Coach properties. Such marks on the Coach labels will indicate something about the origin of the item. These are special cases that come from retail or outlet venues. These marking however do not automatically indicate that an item is authentic. (Counterfeiters could certainly reproduce the simple label stamps. Some such special characters are:

Outlet specific circle stamp

Special characters {

[Circle]: Outlet (Double circle pic left)
[X]: Discount store
[M]: Macy's
[N]: Nordstroms
[FS]: Final sale (void of warranty)
[ES]: Employee sale (This is an item to a employee of Coach. This may also void any warranty).


4 Coach font: The Coach font is another key location to inspect for counterfeit clues. The Coach font has a few distinct features, that which can be used to identify fakes rather quickly. (A general rule would be simply if the stamp impression looked sloppy). A good place to do a quick inspection is on the hangtag that is attached to the handbag with a beaded chain.

Key font details:
[A]: The A point. The top of the A in the Coach font should not be rounded. The top of the A should come to a precise point. The primary place to determine this detail is on the hangtag on the Coach handbag. Notice in the image on the right that the A point is rounded. (An authentic tag should also have a grommet –a metal ring around the chain hole.)
[C]: The C shape should remain uniform. Often times counterfeit manufactures due to their rushed work will leave behind footprints of their inferiority within the C font. Both C's in the Coach logo should be nearly an exact copy of each other. Always inspect for evidence of misshapen C's in the font. This detail can also be found on the fake hangtag example on the right. Notice the second C is misshapen when compared to the first C.

Fake Coach hangtag (A and C fonts problems)

5 YKK Zippers: The zipper manufactured primarily used by Coach is YKK. Checking the zippers is another key place to discover the fingerprints of counterfeiters. The YKK stamp on the Coach zipper will generally be fairly small and at times difficult to locate. Check on all sides of the zipper pull and locking mechanism. The YKK stamp is often located on the side of the mechanism.

Authentic YKK zipper