How to Buy a Guaranteed Authentic Pre-Owned Chanel Bag

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Gabrielle Chanel’s eponymous fashion house has existed for over a century and has remained one of the most popular French luxury brands in the world. As the second biggest luxury brand just after Louis Vuitton, it’s no surprise that many women dream of owning their very own luxury handbags from Chanel. But with many of its designer handbags fetching high price tags, there’s a big market for second-hand Chanel bags that cost less but still retain Chanel’s signature quality and style.

But how can you guarantee that the Chanel bag you’re buying is authentic? There are several ways to check if the bag you’re planning to buy is legitimate. From using third-party services to developing an eye for authentic luxury bags, here are some of the things to spot when looking for an authentic Chanel bag from second-hand stores.  

Use a Designer Authentication Service

If you don’t trust your judgment completely and want a professional service to verify the authenticity of a bag you’re eyeing, have the bag authenticated before you purchase it. For a fee, online authentication services can verify if you’re buying a real Chanel bag just by sending them photos and a link to the seller’s page. You can find plenty of legitimate authentication for luxury designer goods online.

Depending on the value of the luxury item and the turnaround time, the price of the authentication process can range from $20 to $200. For those who are buying in-demand bags that sell fast, you can rush the authentication, but it can start at $35 and reach up to $250.

Additionally, requesting a certificate of authenticity or a notarized statement declaring its authenticity can cost $35 to $250. If you’re buying Chanel bags with the intent to sell them back into the resale market, having this certificate can help buyers instantly identify the bag as authentic.

Spot the Signs of an Authentic Chanel Bag

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By knowing the signs of an authentic Chanel bag, you can avoid spending on a fake bag that offers lower quality. Chanel is a luxury brand that offers goods made with high-quality materials and world-class craftsmanship, so their bags shouldn’t look or feel cheap. But while some dupes are easy to spot, other counterfeit products are a bit tougher to detect. Here are some of the signs you should be aware of.   

1) Check the Leather Quality

Chanel sources its leather from around 15 tanneries. However, it gets its signature lambskin leather from Bodin-Joyeux, a tannery in France that Chanel has worked with for almost 40 years and acquired in 2013. Most Chanel bags are made with lambskin or pebbled calf leather, which have a soft, silky, and visibly smooth texture.

It’s easy to tell a real Chanel leather bag from a fake just by touching it. So if your seller has a physical store or gives you the option to see the bag in-person before purchasing it, you may want to take it. If it’s made of lambskin, the texture should be soft and silky to the touch. For pebbled calf leather, it should have a bubbly appearance and feel some raised dimples.

2) Examine the Quilting Pattern for Consistency

Chanel’s quilting pattern is a testament to its quality, so the consistency of the pattern is a sign of authenticity. The quilting pattern can be a diamond, chevron, or square, but this applies to all three styles. Check the bag in areas like the back pocket or the flap. The stitching should remain consistent even in places where the material overlaps with another.

If you’re buying a Chanel bag in good condition, the quilting pattern should line up perfectly. However, more worn bags may have stretched out and become slightly unaligned. So, if you’re buying a “like new” or “slightly used” bag, this sign should still work.  

3) Count the Stitches

The stitches on a Chanel bag are kept short and small to help maintain its shape and prevent it from bulging. This means one panel (a line of stitches that make up one side of the diamond or square quilt of the bag) should have around 9 to 11 stitches. A vintage piece may have eight stitches, but newer designs should have more.

Count the stitches on one panel and see if it falls within that range. If there are less than 8 stitches, it’s a fake bag. Also, while looking at the stitches, try to spot double-stitches or inconsistent stitches. Authentic Chanel bags have a high level of quality and the stitching should be immaculate.  

4) Check the Chanel CC Logo

Chanel bags feature an iconic “CC” lock that can come on its own or in a rectangular lock. One way to check for authenticity is to examine the points where the two C’s overlap. At the top, the right C should overlap the left C; at the bottom overlap, the left is on top of the right.

Next, check the lock stem. Chanel uses real 24K gold for the lock stem, which means it can maintain its durability. Replicas, on the other hand, are gold-plated and will tarnish and peel off with use.

5) Check the Backplate of the Lock

Check the lock’s backplate (the metal rectangle that secures the CC lock). There should be two screws on either side of the backplate. If the bag was made before 2015, it may have regular flathead screws. After 2015, Chanel began using star-shaped screws that required a special screwdriver only their brand has.

Another thing to check is the stamping mark. This can vary in authentic Chanel bags depending on the date and style. Bags made in France should have the stamp, while those made in Italy do not.  

To check if the Chanel bag is authentic, find out when the bag was made and where. If the bag has anything other than flathead screws (for older bags) or star-shaped screws or has no stamping, you may be looking at a replica.

6) Look for the Branding Stamp

Look for the brand stamp inside the bag. It should be embossed onto the lining, not just sitting on top of the leather. The color of the stamp should match the color of the hardware, so a bag with gold hardware should have a gold logo. Only vintage and evidently worn Chanel bags can have logos that have experienced metallic leafing. Otherwise, the branding can withstand the usual wear and tear.  

The brand logo should also measure a width of 3.3 centimeters. Check if the font matches Chanel’s logo, as replicas tend to use a thinner font. On the right of the logo, there should be a registered trademark symbol (a capital R inside a circle). Beneath the logo, there should be either a “Made in Italy” or “Made in France” in capital letters and a font smaller than the logo.

7) Ask for the Authenticity Card

Chanel’s authenticity cards should indicate when and where the bag is made based on the serial number. However, even authenticity cards can be replicated, so check if the number of digits on the serial number match the year range when the bag was made:

  • 1984 to 1986 – 6 digits
  • 1986 to 2004 – 7 digits
  • 2005 onwards – 8 digits

If the serial number has 9 or more digits or the number of digits doesn’t match when the bag was made, then the bag is a replica.

8) Check the Chain Straps

The chain straps are made with heavy materials, so it should feel heavy and substantial when you hold it. These aren’t meant to be lightweight, so if it does, it’s most likely a replica.

Buy from a Reliable Source

These days, replicas and counterfeit bags from all luxury designer brands are becoming more difficult for the everyday person to spot. The signs mentioned above are good indicators of authenticity, but if you’re not a hundred percent sure, then it’s best not to take the risk.

To avoid the risk of buying fake second-hand Chanel bags, your best option is to buy from established and reputable sources that are well-known for selling authentic luxury designer brands. Some of the signs you’re buying from a reliable store include:

  • A store that’s been operating for years
  • Has many reviews and recommendations from users
  • Has an active social media presence
  • Has a money-back authenticity guarantee and fair return policy in case of replicas
  • Inspects consigned goods for authenticity

Shop at HG Bags Online for Pre-Owned Chanel Bags

Chanel offers quality bags that exude timeless style. Buying pre-owned Chanel bags can be more affordable, but beware when you look elsewhere online. If you aren’t confident about your skills in detecting a real Chanel bag from a replica, you can either have it authenticated or, to be on the safe side, buy from reliable sources.

HG Bags Online has been operating since 2002. We guarantee that all our new and pre-loved luxury items are authentic – or get your money back. Shop at our online store today to find incredible deals and exclusive finds.