At Madison Avenue Couture we take the time and effort to rigorously authenticate each piece in our inventory, so you’ll never have to worry about purchasing a counterfeit bag with us. However, we know that our customers have been gifted Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags, and are often concerned about the authenticity of what they’ve been given – but of course you cannot ask the gifter! With that in mind, our experts have put together a list of tips on what to look for to authenticate a Hermès bag for yourself.
The iconic Hermès logo is an embossed stamp on the front of the bag under the flap and below the stitching. It reads “Hermès Paris Made in France” on three lines. The lettering is smaller on each line. Authentic logos are of block letters that are equally spaced, as are the spaces between the lines. However, since the letters are embossed on the bag, the lettering may be affected by the texture of the leather or skin. As a result, there may be parts of the logo where the embossment is lighter or absent or has spread to the letter next to it or beneath it.
In contrast, most fake Hermès bags have printed or pressed-in lettering. The letters are often not consistent in font, size, or direction and the spacing between the letters may be uneven. Also, the accent over the second E in HERMÈS may be too light or absent.
The logo of an authentic Hermès bag is below.
Hermès Hand Stitching
Every Hermès bag is handmade and painstakingly hand-stitched. Due to the handcrafting, the stitching will not be perfectly symmetrical all over the entire bag, giving authentic Hermès handbags a unique touch. Stitches typically have a slight upward sweep and while stitches are singular, there may be some double stitches notably on the clochette and back of the bag where the handles are attached. Hermès artisans finish the stitching in the inside of the bag under the flap so don’t be surprised if that area is less than perfect.
In comparison, counterfeit Hermès bags are typically machine stitched and will have uniform straight small stitches. Even hand-stitched Hermès bags lack the pattern typical of an authentic bag.
Hermès Date Stamp
Authentic Hermès handbags have a Blind Stamp embedded into the leather that include the year a handbag was manufactured and the code for the artisan that produced the bag. Location of the Blind Stamp depends on the handbag style and the year. Toward the end of 2015, Hermès relocated the Blind Stamp on Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags from the back of the closure strap to inside of the bag on the left gusset in late 2015. Current Blind Stamps start with the Date Code (year of production), followed by a series of numbers and letters with two letters below. You can read more about Date Stamps in a post we did devoted to that information here.
Hermès Leathers and Skins
Authentic Hermès bags are made from the highest quality leathers and skins. The sources and tanning processes vary so that bags will have unique characteristics. For example, one Togo leather Hermès Birkin may have many veins, while another may have none. A minor imperfection in a leather bag is not unusual.
Variations in authentic Hermès exotic bags are even more common. Scales on virtually every crocodile and alligator bag are different. In fact, people can often identify their bag by the pattern of the scales. Hermès collectors often select bags based on the number and pattern of the scales. Minor creasing or lines through scales are also common to authentic Hermès crocodile bags.
In comparison, counterfeit bags often are too “perfect”. For example, counterfeit “Togo” leather bags are typically highly textured with an unusual consistency throughout. Crocodile bags are often not made of skin but of embossed leather and have perfect and consistent scales. Bags made of actual skin are also likely to have no imperfections.
Hermès Interior Lining
The inside of almost all recently produced Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are lined in chevré or goatskin, a lightly textured and very durable leather with a touch of sheen. In many bags, there is a “spine” in the bottom of the chevré.
Fake Hermès Birkins and Kellys are lined in leather or faux leather and do not have the richness of chevré.
Authentic hardware on Hermès bags are always plated or finished in a genuine precious metal, typically palladium or gold. On rare bags you might find brushed gold, silver, brushed silver, or ruthenium finishes. The hardware on new bags are sealed in plastic. The plaques, or hardware on the front straps, on Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are engraved with HERMÈS-PARIS. On gold plated bags, there is a symbol after the PARIS which is not present on palladium plated bags. The font and spacing of this engraving can vary but counterfeit bags cannot achieve the same lettering as authentic bags.
The rest of the hardware can also indicate if a bag is authentic or not. On authentic Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags the feet are secure and cannot rotate or come off. Similarly, the toggle and back plate should also be secure and the toggle should turn smoothly. Finally, the rivets that hold the hardware in place have a particular shape that is almost impossible to replicate on counterfeit bag.
Hermès makes its own zippers that feature the HERMÈS name engraved with its lower half towards the end of the metal zipper pull. A matching metal letter “H” is at the end of the zipper.
Zipping a Hermès bag should feel like a luxurious experience, it should never catch or be difficult to open or close. Similar to the rest of the bag’s structure, the zipper pull should not hang down at a 90 degree angle from the zip line. It should remain parallel to the zipper at all times. The metal used on an authentic Hermès zipper would be more of a matte finish as opposed to a shiny metal.
Authentic Hermès Birkin and Kelly Hermès bags will include a lock and set of keys. The lock is engraved with “HERMÈS” on the bottom, matching the other hardware on the bag. The number on the lock should match the number engraved on the accompanying keys. The keys should be attached on a tiret (a leather string) and fit neatly inside the leather clochette. On a fake Hermès bag, the lock and keys may not match the hardware of the bag and will feel lighter weight than authentic Hermès lock and keys. It may not fit entirely fit in the clochette.
Hermès Dust Bag And Accompaniments
Hermès’ current dust bag is a beige herringbone of high quality durable cotton. The signature “Le Duc” logo is on the front encased in a double circle. On authentic bags, the logo is crisp, whereas it tends to be blurred on fake dust bags. The strings at the top should also be thick and durable.
Similarly, counterfeit bags are accompanied by fake accompaniments, such as the rain hat, the tissue paper and the box. Comparison of these accompaniments to authentic ones can quickly indicate an issue.
Hermès Authenticity Card
One of the quickest ways to check is to see if the bag comes with an authenticity card. Unlike many other designers, Hermès bags DO NOT include an authenticity card. Hermès has never issued an authenticity card, and most likely never will. Many counterfeit Hermès bags come with an orange plastic credit card that says “Hermès” on them. If the bag comes with one of these cards, it is most definitely a fake.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Hermès is a luxury brand, and unsurprisingly it has a luxury price tag. An authentic new or very excellent used Hermès leather bag will not cost below $10,000, with most new ones approaching twice that amount. Authentic new crocodile bags typically cost more than $50,000, with the premium bags like the Himalaya in the six figures.