How to Spot Fake Coach Handbags: 9 Ways to Tell Real Purses

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Founded under the name Manhattan Leather Bags by Lillian and Miles Cahn in 1941, Coach has grown into one of the most successful entry-level luxury brands. With each bag handcrafted to perfection, it’s hard not to fall in love with the kind of love and effort the brand puts into its products.

Colorblock Coach Dreamer Handbag, $495 at Coach

Bold, saturated color amplifies the sophisticated style of a structured leather bag dripping with elegant metallic accents

After Emma Roberts and Chloe Moretz, in 2018 Coach signed on megastar Selena Gomez as its latest endorser. The result was the Coach x Selena Gomez leather line that you can shop at Coach.

Coach endorser Selena Gomez signs a bag to give away to fansCoach endorser Selena Gomez signs a bag to give away to fans

According to The Financial Times, the US handbags and accessories group has taken “a higher-profile approach than many of its competitors in fighting counterfeiting in China” in order to keep the “brand’s integrity intact.” Despite their efforts, it’s important to know how to tell a fake Coach bag from a real one.

The New York Times reported in December 2018 that investigators had seized fake luxury goods worth half a billion dollars. The knockoff handbags included Gucci, Tory Burch, Hermes, Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors, and Louis Vuitton.

Check out these nine easy ways to know if your bag is authentic or not:

1. Check the retailer

Coach does not sell products at flea markets, through street vendors, or in kiosks in malls. In addition to the official Coach website, you can buy authentic handbags and shoes at Zappos, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

If a deal or price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For discounted luxury bags and shoes, we recommend Amazon and Nordstrom Rack

2. Each handcrafted bag should exude quality

Coach prides itself on being a company that creates handcrafted bags. Established in 1941, the brand has held quality craftsmanship to the highest regard. The same is still true today.

One of the first things you should check is the overall craftsmanship of the bag. A poorly made bag will have ill-fitting leather pieces that cause the product to bulk in areas.

Check that the outer shell is made from high-quality leather material. Overall, it should smell and feel like genuine leather. If your bag is second hand, real leather will stand the test of time, growing beautiful aging marks such as tiny creases at the most.

Each handcrafted Coach bag should exude quality

For bags with rings, the leather loop where it connects should feel snug. This prevents the handles from moving around loosely. Counterfeit bags usually have a lot of space inside the loop.

3. The stitching should be symmetrical

When spotting counterfeit Coach bags, the difference between beautiful and sloppy stitching is a dead giveaway.

While most Coach bags are now made in China – which is basically the motherland of counterfeits – Coach still prides itself on quality stitching that runs beautifully across their products.

The stitching should be symmetrical

Although Coach is by no means perfect in their stitching, the hiccups are minor compared to counterfeit ones. Fake Coach bags will have stitching that is blatantly bad with some stitches running over each other. The spacing between the stitching is also often uneven.

4. The hardware and tags should be made from quality materials

Coach hardware is usually made out of brass or nickel. A great way to tell whether your bag has quality hardware is to check its weight. Authentic hardware should feel solid and heavy, while the hardware on fake bags is light and made from cheap metals.

If your bag has rings connecting the handle to the body, check to see if the rings are solid and seamless. On rare occasions, Coach will have rings with seams but they are beautifully polished and aligned.

The hardware and tags should be made from quality materials

Be wary of Coach bags with plastic over the hardware. Counterfeit bag makers do this in order to prevent humidity from tarnishing the low-quality metal. Authentic hardware won’t tarnish.

Check to see if the zipper snags. Real zippers should unzip easily. Also, Coach uses YKK and Ideal zippers so don’t panic if you see these brands on the hardware.

Coach tags are usually made out of leather hanging from a beaded chain. However, recent models have made use of metal tags as well.

5. The iconic C pattern should be neatly aligned

There’s a lot of talk behind the do’s and dont’s of the monograms but with Coach releasing different versions of the C’s, it has become increasingly unclear what the standard is.

Two things are for sure: first, the C’s have to be symmetrical and second, they always follow a certain pattern. Whether printed or embroidered, the pattern should follow two C’s facing each other, followed by two C’s beside each other.

The iconic C pattern should be neatly aligned

Some claim C’s that are cut off are perfectly aligned at the seams. Due to certain styles (like those having invisible zippers or diagonal darts), this has not been a consistent standard.

6. The lining is usually solid and made out of quality cotton, satin or canvas

A quick way to spot a fake Coach bag is simply by looking at the lining. When a Coach bag has C’s outside, it will have a solid-colored lining.

Occasionally, vibrant linings are used for limited edition items. When the brand does use C’s for the lining, it’s a subtle dark-on-dark coloring.

The lining is usually solid and made out of quality cotton, satin or canvas

Another good way of determining fakes is to look at the lining quality. Coach uses thick cotton, satin or canvas to line the insides of their bags. If the lining is overly shiny or it reminds you of an 80’s prom, chances are it’s fake.

Coach uses thick cotton, satin or canvas to line the insides of their bags

7. For most bags, the creed patch and serial number should be easily found

Regular sized Coach bags usually come with a creed patch on the inside. For smaller bags and wallets, the creed patch is usually absent.

Creed patches contain a paragraph in all capital letters that actually make sense. Some fake creed patches look okay from afar but make no sense when you read them. Others will have a mix of upper and lower case text.

The creed patch and serial number should be easily found

Below the paragraph is a serial number that starts out with a letter followed by four numbers, a dash, and more numbers. The letter corresponds to the month it was made (A – January, B – February, etc.), followed by two digits referring to its make year, then two digits referring to its place of manufacture.

The last set of digits is the style code. When buying from a factory outlet, you can usually spot the letter F right before the style code.

If you don’t find the serial numbers on your creed patch, don’t panic. As of 2014, Coach stopped putting the numbers on the patches. Instead, they include them on little white labels that you can find inside the inner pocket.

8. The dust bag and packaging should be consistent

The dust bag should be white with the Coach logo on the bottom right. If the dust bag has the logo strewn in the middle, it’s probably a fake.

If you order your purses through their website, the package comes with a letter explaining a little about Coach’s history. It should be signed by Coach’s president of retail. The official invoice should also be included inside the box.

Coach bags usually come in sheets of thin quality paper that has a gold sticker on it. The gold sticker should also have the Coach logo on it.

9. The iconic horse and buggy logo should be tastefully detailed

The Coach logo differs depending on the line where the bag came from. Some have the words “Coach New York” underneath while some read “Coach Leatherware Established 1941”.

The iconic horse and buggy also differ in size. Usually for the older models, the horse and buggy are quite big compared to the newer ones. They should also be facing to the left.

The iconic horse and buggy logo should be tastefully detailedThe iconic horse and buggy logo should be tastefully detailed

A good way to tell a fake is by looking at the details of the horse and buggy. The original will have a detailed, artful one (except for the line where they changed the horse into a dinosaur – true story) while the fakes will look sloppy.

If you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to call Coach for help in authenticating your purse. Have your product’s serial number ready and ask them to run it through their system.

Coach Questions and Answers

How much does a Coach handbag cost?

Wristlets usually retail from $75 and small bags from $135. On the high end, some handbags made from luxurious genuine alligator leather and other expensive materials cost several thousand dollars.

Do all real Coach purses have a serial number?

Smaller items like wallets, pouches, wristlets, and cosmetic bags will usually not have serial numbers. While most bags have serial numbers, unfortunately, Coach does not respond to email requests to authenticate products or identify authorized distributors. Even if you have a serial number, you will not be able to verify the authenticity of your product online.

Do I need to register my Coach purse?

No, there is no way to register your Coach purse. The company offers a one-year warranty on all bags and small leather goods. To address any quality-related issues within this time frame, bring your receipt when visiting your nearest Coach store.

Do Coach bags have a lifetime warranty?

While you can expect your bag to last for a really long time if you take good care of it, Coach does not offer a lifetime warranty. Instead, you get free lifetime leather care at Coach retail stores. It’s recommended that you make a call to schedule an appointment.

Coach Celebrity Fans

Check out some of the brand’s Hollywood celebrity followers below:

Emma Roberts, Ariana Grande, and Chloe Moretz love their Coach bagsEmma Roberts, Ariana Grande, and Chloe Moretz love their Coach basics

Alessandra Ambrosio and Selena Gomez take their black Coach purses out on errandsAlessandra Ambrosio and Selena Gomez take their black Coach purses out on errands

Chrissy Teigen toting her favorite Coach handbagChrissy Teigen toting her favorite Coach handbag

Eva Longoria, Karlie Kloss, and Kate Bosworth are only among the long list of Hollywood celebrities who love their Coach bagsEva Longoria, Karlie Kloss, and Kate Bosworth are only among the long list of Hollywood celebrities who love their Coach bags

For more tips on busting fake Coach bags, watch the video below:

Credit: Coach / Alberto Reyes / Sean Thornton / WENNCHELA / Kento Nara / Future Image / Michael Wright / WENN

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