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An OpenLuxury guide to Louis Vuitton date codes

Feb 27, 2023

Louis Vuitton is a well-known luxury brand synonymous with high fashion and sophisticated travel for over a century. The brand has a rich history, and its products are considered some of the most recognizable and covetable in the world.

One unique aspect of Louis Vuitton handbags is the presence of date codes, which are a series of letters and numbers stamped inside to indicate when and where it was manufactured. These date codes can provide valuable information about the item’s origin and history, as well as offer a clue about the item’s authenticity.

Let’s dive deeper into Louis Vuitton date codes, and explore their meaning, significance, and how to translate them.

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 manufacturers for a counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag 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 Louis Vuitton date codes 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.

Country codes

Louis Vuitton example date code SD2101
This date code includes a “SD” factory code.

The first part of a Louis Vuitton date code is typically a combination of two or three letters that indicates the factory of origin for that item. Typically they are grouped by nation, since that will correspond to the “made in”, or country of manufacture depicted on the logo label.

One notable example that is relatively common is “SD”, which indicates that the item in question was created in the San Dimas, California atelier at a given date. They are not always abbreviations of a particular city however, as each code is created by the brand and is only used as an indicator of the factory of origin.

An example of this is perfectly illustrated with the country code “TX”, which indicates that the item was manufactured at Louis Vuitton’s atelier in Alvarado, Texas.

Louis Vuitton Date Code Guide

Louis Vuitton country code guide

This table shows a cumulative list of Louis Vuitton country codes and their associated ateliers. There are two notable codes that have special meanings:

  • AAS – this country code is used exclusively for special order items
  • DK – this country code is used exclusively for relined items

You’ll also notice that a few of these codes are applicable to multiple countries. This could be because the country codes can shift as Louis Vuitton opens, closes, or moves their ateliers. Louis Vuitton continues to change the factories (and thus the codes), so there are always new ones being added and taken out of use.

Reading the date codes

Pre-1982

Before the early 1980’s (until around 1982), Louis Vuitton did not use a brand code system, so a Louis Vuitton handbag manufactured prior to this date won’t include any date or country codes inside. This is why some vintage bags do not have a Louis Vuitton date code within them.

 

1982-1989

Chart Key: C = Country code, M = Month, Y = Year

Louis Vuitton Reading The Date Codes (1982-1987)

Louis Vuitton example date code VI884
This date code is from August 1984, and includes a “VI” factory code.

Starting in 1982, Louis Vuitton began to date their handbags and accessories. This included three or four numbers on their own. Toward the middle of the decade, Louis Vuitton added the country code, two letters near the date code to indicate more clearly the factory of origin for a given handbag. This is the first time both the Louis Vuitton date code and country code are used together.

There was great variation in format during this time, as each atelier was left to their own discretion about the font and format of the codes they stamped into their handbags.

1990-2006

Chart Key: C = Country code, M = Month, Y = Year

Louis-Vuitton-Reading-The-Date-Codes-1990-2006

Louis Vuitton example date code CA0045
This date code is from April 2005, and includes a “CA” factory code.

By the 1990’s, Louis Vuitton decided to finally standardize their date code system across all of their ateliers. They implemented a more straightforward format, including the country code at the front, followed by the numbers indicating the month and year of manufacture.

 

2007-2021

Chart Key: C = Country code, W = Week, Y = Year

Louis Vuitton Reading The Date Codes (2007-Present)

Louis Vuitton example date code DU0139
This date code is from the 3rd week of 2019, and includes a “DU” factory code.

Louis Vuitton switched up their date code system yet again in 2007, this time due to increasing global demand for their handbags and small leather goods. They simply swapped out the month numbers for numbers that indicate the week of manufacture, that way they could get more specific information about the item as well as more easily differentiate it from others of a similar time period.

This system was used until March 1st, 2021. After that date, Louis Vuitton stopped using stamped codes and switched to an NFC-scannable microchip system.

About authentication and date codes

It should be noted that Louis Vuitton bags older than 1980 may not have a date code, and that some counterfeit bags may have fake or incorrect date codes. If you are unsure about the authenticity of a Louis Vuitton handbag, it is best to have it authenticated by a professional, which you can do right here on OpenLuxury.

Where to find the date codes

Depending on the model of handbag or accessory, as well as the time period it was created in, the date code can be found in a number of different locations:

Here are a few places to check, to help you locate the date code on a Louis Vuitton handbag:

  1. Look at the lining of the bag. Sometimes they can be behind folds and interior components.
  2. Check the pockets. Most Louis Vuitton handbags have at least one interior pocket. Check the interior of each pocket for the date code, especially on the right or left side of the pocket, near the seams.
  3. Look for a leather tag. Some Louis Vuitton bags have a leather tag attached to the interior lining, which may contain the date code. This can be behind other interior elements, like interior pockets (ex. Neverfull bags).
  4. Check for a heat stamp. Some Louis Vuitton handbags may have a heat stamp pressed directly onto the interior lining, so check the lining carefully. You can even turn the lining out to make it easier to search.

If you are still having trouble locating the date code, 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 Louis Vuitton date codes

Louis Vuitton date codes are one crucial aspect to Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories. These codes provide valuable information about the time and place of the bags production, as well as hint at its authenticity.

If you are having trouble deciphering the Louis Vuitton date code on your particular handbag, contact us and we can assist you!

It is important to note that while the date codes can provide useful information, they should not be the only factor used to authenticate a Louis Vuitton bag. Other factors such as the materials used, craftsmanship, hardware, branding, etc. should also be taken into consideration.

It’s impossible to accurately authenticate Louis Vuitton 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 Louis Vuitton accessory is the real thing, order an authentication today and give yourself that peace of mind.

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