An OpenLuxury guide to Hermès date stamps
May 12, 2023
Hermès is a renowned luxury brand known for its exquisite craftsmanship, timeless designs, and superior quality. Each of their products is created with meticulous attention to detail, making them highly sought after by fashion connoisseurs around the world. Among the various elements that contribute to the high-end appeal of Hermès products are the date stamps and craftsman stamps. These small yet significant markings offer valuable information about the product’s manufacturing date and the craftsmen who created it.
The date stamp (or date code) is a code stamped into the item that indicates the year of production. It is a critical element for collectors, helping them to determine the authenticity and chronology of an Hermès product. Similarly, the craftsman stamp is a symbol that denotes the artisan who created the product. These stamps serve as a testament to the expertise and skill of the craftsman, reflecting the brand’s commitment to quality and excellence.
We will delve deeper into the significance of Hermès date stamps and craftsman stamps in this post. We will explore their history, evolution, and how they contribute to the brand’s exclusivity and prestige. We will also discuss how collectors and enthusiasts can decipher and interpret these stamps, and what they should look for when purchasing Hermès products. So whether you are an Hermès aficionado or a curious fashion enthusiast, this post will provide valuable insights into the world of Hermès and its unique manufacturing process.
A note about authentication before we begin:
While it’s always important to ensure the authenticity of a luxury handbag purchase, it’s also crucial to be cautious about the risks and pitfalls of authentication.
The market for counterfeit luxury goods has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, and some counterfeiters can create near-perfect replicas that are difficult to distinguish from genuine products until they begin to break down with use. Additionally, some authentication services may not have the necessary expertise to detect counterfeit items accurately. Therefore, it’s essential to do thorough research before selecting an authentication service and to be aware that even reputable authentication services can occasionally make mistakes.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that while Hermès date stamps can hint toward whether an item is an authentic article, it is not a guarantee. As mentioned before, counterfeiters are continually improving their techniques and can get this aspect uncannily similar to the real deal. This is why we take a holistic approach to authentication at OpenLuxury, and don’t simply rely on this one variable alone.
What is a blind stamp?
A blind stamp is the umbrella term for both the date and craftsman stamps combined. This includes any letters, numbers or symbols in the brand code, regardless of their location or format.
The blind stamp consists of one date stamp and at least one craftsman stamp, although there can be more than one craftsman stamp on any given item if there were more than one craftsman involved in the item’s creation. There have also been rare examples of items missing one stamp or the other, due to Hermès’s hand-done manufacturing process and standards for production allowing for some leniency here.
What are date and craftsman stamps and what do they look like?
The date stamp is the part of the blind stamp that indicates the year of manufacture for the item. Hermès began implementing their date code system in 1945, and prior to this year no stamps were used to indicate craftsmen nor the year of manufacture. At first they only used a single letter, until 1970. At this point, a circle surrounding the letter was added and the alphabet was reset back to the beginning. Once the alphabet was reset again in 1996, Hermès changed out their enclosed circle for a square. The square formatting lasted until 2015, at which time Hermès forwent this format altogether, opting for one similar to a serial number, with the date code represented by a single letter again in the first digit position.
Craftsman stamps on the other hand are generally either letters, numbers, or symbols. They will be in a different font and generally slightly larger than the date stamp. Typically they are near the date stamp, so once you deduce what the date stamp is, any remaining stamps are most likely the craftsman stamps.
Interpreting an Hermès date stamp
When interpreting Hermès blind stamps, it’s important to distinguish first between the craftsman stamp and the date stamp. Some craftsman stamps are letters and/or numbers and not just symbols, so it can be tricky sometimes to differentiate.
Once you distinguish the date stamp, you can use our handy guide to find the corresponding year of production. Voilà!
Using the blind stamp to date a bag
Chart Key: (Letter only, no shape)
Chart Key: (Letter surrounded by a circle)
Chart Key: (Letter surrounded by a square)
Chart Key: (Letter only, now in the updated alphanumeric format)
Last thing to say on date stamps
It should be noted again that Hermès bags older than 1945 may not have a date stamp, and that some counterfeit bags may have fake or incorrect date and craftsman stamps. If you are unsure about the authenticity of an Hermès item, it is best to have it authenticated by a professional, which you can do right here on OpenLuxury.
Where to find the blind stamps
Depending on the model of handbag or accessory, as well as the time period it was created in, the blind stamp can be found in a number of different locations.
Here are a few places to check, to help you locate the blind stamp on an Hermès handbag:
- Look on the back of the closure strap. Especially on Birkins and Kellys before 2015, this is likely where the stamp will be.
- Look inside the bag. On older models as well as items created after 2015, the stamp may be pressed into the lining in a slightly hidden location.
- Check all pockets and zipper pulls. Sometimes, especially on vintage items, the stamps are pressed into the pocket linings or onto the zipper pulls or leather trims.
If you are still having trouble locating it, use online listings as a reference. Once you know the model name of your bag, a quick search for it on reputable websites’ listings will usually turn up an image of the bag’s code, which will help show you where it might be on yours!
A final note on Hermes date stamps
Hermès blind stamps are an important feature that allows buyers to gain insight into the production history of their bag. These stamps typically contain a combination of letters and shapes that reveal when the bag was produced. By understanding how to locate and interpret the blind stamps, buyers can gain a deeper appreciation for the history and craftsmanship behind their Hermès bag.
It is important to note that while the blind stamps can provide useful information, they should not be the only factor used to authenticate an Hermès bag. Other factors such as the materials used, craftsmanship, hardware, branding, etc. should also be taken into consideration. It’s impossible to accurately authenticate Hermès bags without many years of intimate experience with the brand and its products across many eras to get the full picture.
That’s where we come in! If you’re looking for assurance that your Hermès accessory is the real thing, order an authentication today and give yourself that peace of mind.
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