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how to spot a real Chanel bag from a fake ?

chanel vintage 80

Found a Chanel Timeless in perfect condition for 200€ on Craig's list ? Don't waste your money before reading my guide.

Chanel bags are a fantasy for many women and men who are remotely interested in fashion. It is the object of desire for some, a social status for others. In any case, it leaves you dreaming.

But when you want to buy a Chanel bag after months of saving, you can think second hand. Sure, it's tempting, a Chanel Timeless at half price or a Boy at 30% off. But be careful! On sites where ads are not verified (eg eBay, Depop ...), vigilance is required. Especially for bags like these, which can reach 4 figures.

In this article, I show you the basics of how to recognize classic counterfeit bags. In another article, I'll tell you about "super replica" bags which are exact copies of bags from the big houses, which can reach 3 to 4 digits in purchase.

Follow my guide to know how to recognize a real bag from a fake Chanel bag based on photos.

1. The leather's quality

From pictures, you can recognize the quality of a beautiful leather from the house.

Chanel uses two types of leather on its bags (excluding exotic):

- Lamb leather which is a relatively expensive skin and can be recognized by its soft, thin and light appearance. The pores of the leather are very tight and not very apparent.

cuir chanel vrai vs faux

cuir chanel vrai vs faux

- The caviar leather is a grained leather typical of the house of Chanel. It is often made of grained lamb leather. Caviar leather is known to give a 3D and bouncy look to the rhombuses of Chanel bags. It is the most resistant leather at Chanel.

cuir chanel vrai vs faux

Overall, if the leather looks "cheap" to you, it is not a good sign. The leather should look as high quality as possible, otherwise you are certainly facing a counterfeit.

2. The cc Clasp

Often the fake Chanel has a domed CC clasp where the real Chanel has a flat CC logo.

The CC clasp should be centered and the width of each C should also match the width of the gap between the two C's. In the two photos below, observe the space above and below the logo and the position it takes.

fermoir chanel vrai vs faux

The back of the clasp should have two screws, with "CHANEL" engraved on the left and "PARIS" engraved on the right.

fermoir chanel vrai vs faux

3. Serial Number

Serial numbers on Chanel bags indicate the model of the bag and the year of manufacture. They were introduced in 1986, so on older bags you won't find an authenticity sticker.

You can find a guide to help you recognize if the serial number is real here. Chanel does not produce bags with 9 or more numbers.

On the Chanel 2.55 and Timeless, the serial number sticker can be found inside, in the lower left corner of the bag.

numéro de série chanel vrai vs faux

4. The chanel's quilted

While the bag in question should have Chanel's signature diamond-shaped quilting, a real bag will have continuous lines that line up, regardless of whether the bag is open or closed.

If the lines don't line up, or if there is a mismatch, it's a fake!

matelassage chanel vrai vs faux

matelassage chanel vrai vs faux

Also, the quilting is often overstuffed on the counterfeits. I leave you an example below.

matelassage chanel vrai vs faux


All authentic Chanel bags have lots of stitching to make the bags last over time and add value to the item. If the bag has few stitches and looks "puffy" then it must be fake.

It is important to know that counterfeit factories reduce the number of stitches to lower production costs and therefore sell the bags much cheaper.

coutures chanel vrai vs faux

6. the authenticity card

First, look to see if the number on the authenticity card is similar to the sticker inside the bag. It's a good sign if the two match, but it's not necessarily an authentic Chanel bag because the cards are easily replicated.

carte authenticité chanel vrai vs faux

If the card has a hologram around the border and the numbers on the card, it is a fake. The fake card in the image above does not have a hologram because it is a well-made card. But, some details can tell us that it is a fake.

Real authenticity cards have the same consistency as a blue card. Some fake cards are lighter, softer and less resistant.

All written information must be aligned and straight.

Since 2005, the cards in the bags have a round sticker in the upper right corner which is slightly grey. On the fake card, you can see that the sticker is much whiter.

If the authenticity card does not have a round sticker, it may be a pre-2005 bag.

You may also have a difference in font that you can easily detect by comparing a genuine card with another card.

7. the bag's structure

The structure of the bag is the most significant clue to its quality. When you place a real Chanel bag and a fake Chanel bag side by side, you will immediately see that the real one is more structured, sturdy and stands up straight. The Chanel knock-offs have much less structure, and stand less upright.

Chanel uses the best materials, which are designed to last over time. The bag should not sag, even for the oldest models.  

structure sac chanel vrai vs faux


Be sure that the "CHANEL" brand stamping is the same color as the attributes of the bag. Example: for a bag with silver attributes = CHANEL stamping in silver, same for gold.

It is also important to pay attention to the font used on the Chanel stamping.

estampillage sac chanel vrai vs faux

estampillage sac chanel vrai vs faux

9. Zippers

You have to take a good look at the zipper and make sure it matches what Chanel usually uses in its bags.

We can note a few types of zippers:

- The "Lampo" brand zipper for a metal zipper.

- The zipper "EP" with a leather zipper.

- For a round zipper with the CC logo, the zipper "OPIT DMC" or "DMC", "éclair" or "YKK".

- For vintage bags, there will be an unmarked zipper.

Several variations are possible, the best is to refer to this guide, you will find it by clicking here, it will show you the possible variations for zippers.

10. [UPDATE] The case of Chanel bags from private sales (staff sales)

vente privée chanel sac vrai vs faux

Thanks to Rym for her question which allows me to update my article.

You may have come across a used Chanel bag with the words "Private Sales XXXX (year)" on the inside.

Chanel bags from private sales (reserved for the staff of the house) are often devoid of serial numbers and authentication cards. Most of them are unsold items from previous collections.

By removing the serial number and adding the mention "private sale", Chanel wishes to protect itself from the resale of these bags sold at knock-down prices (up to 90% off the original price). The employees are not supposed to resell the goods they acquired during these sales before X years.

spot a real chanel bag

While it can sometimes be difficult to spot the difference between a real and a fake Chanel at first glance, it becomes obvious when you start to examine the product more closely.

Always remember that counterfeit factories always try to save money on some details to keep the production cost low and so this is reflected in the bag details.

You can't authenticate your Chanel bag?
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