Louis Vuitton Date Codes: A Complete Guide
For decades, serial numbers have been considered a great help in verifying authenticity of luxury handbags. This might surprise you, but Louis Vuitton is one of luxury brands that don’t use serial numbers. Instead, they have date codes. In fact, it’s pretty easy to confuse a date code for a serial number as they both look very similar. There is, however, one major difference. A serial number is unique to an item, while a date code is not. Multiple Louis Vuitton items can have the same date code if they were all made in the same factory. So, in essence, all the date code tells you about is where and when the item was made.
Want to learn where and when your LV bag was made? Consider this blog post your complete guide to Louis Vuitton date codes.
Let’s start with a bit of history. Louis Vuitton has included dates codes with most of their items since the early 1980’s. The date code system has changed several times throughout the years. Date codes on older bags feature just numbers, while on newer items, date codes consist of both letters and numbers. Letters refer to the country in which the item was made and numbers correspond with the month and year of item’s manufacturing.
Why should we care about Louis Vuitton dates codes in the first place? Well, the thing is that date codes can be particularly helpful if you are considering to purchase a vintage or pre-loved Louis Vuitton anything. Date codes tell you the history of the item. They can also help to tell whether the piece is authentic or not.
However, when it comes to verifying authenticity of a Louis Vuitton item, date codes are just one piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, counterfeiters have learnt to stamp date codes on their fakes. So, the fact that the item does have a date code on it doesn’t verify that it is authentic.
However, there is one sure sign that can help you identify a fake. Try to match the date code with the “Made in” stamp. Very often, counterfeiters don’t care what letters and numbers to put on their date codes. On authentic Louis Vuitton items, the country indicated on the “Made in” stamp should match the country by the two letter factory code (see the list of factory codes in the table later in the blog post). If, for instance, the date code on your bag includes the letters FC (which means USA), but the bag says “Made in France”, it is a sure sign of a fake!
Where do you find date codes on Louis Vuitton handbags?
Typically, you will find a date code on the interior lining of a Louis Vuitton handbag. However, it’s not the only place where the dates codes are found. Actually, it can be rather tricky to find the date code on a handbag, as different bags might have them in different places. Here are the three most common places to find the Louis Vuitton date codes:
- Embossed on a leather tab stitched into the handbag lining;
- Embossed on a leather tab stitched onto the pocket’s interior seam;
- Stamped directly on the fabric (also on the handbag interior).
Older LV handbag models have date codes embossed on or near the handles.
How to read Louis Vuitton Date Codes?
A typical Louis Vuitton date code features two letters and four numbers. The letters indicate where the item was made, while the number show the month (or, week) and the year the item was manufactured. The date code system has changed several times throughout the years.
Where was my Louis Vuitton made?
If your handbag is from the mid-1980’s or later, in the date code you will find two letters which would indicate where (the country location of the factory) your Louis Vuitton item was made at. Louis Vuitton makes their products in several countries, not just in France. It actually, a pretty common misconception to deem a bag fake based on the “Made in” tag. Apart from France, Louis Vuitton bags are also made in Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and USA. It’s important to state that there is absolutely no difference between Louis Vuitton made in France and Louis Vuitton made in other countries.
Curious to find out in which country was your Louis Vuitton handbag made? See the table below for a full breakdown of Louis Vuitton factory codes.
|Country||Louis Vuitton Factory Codes|
|France||A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS, AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, CO, CT, CX, DR, DT, DU, ET, FL (also applies to USA), LA (also applies to USA), LM (also applies to Spain), LW, MB, MI, ML, MM, NO, RA, RI, SA (also applies to Italy), SD (also applies to USA), SF, SK, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, TY, VI, VX|
|Spain||BC (also applies to Italy), CA, LO, LB, LM (also applies to France), LW, GI, UB|
|Italy||BC (also applies to Spain), BO, CE, FH (also applies to USA), FO, FP, MA, NZ, OB, PL, RC, RE, SA (also applies to France), TB, TD|
|USA||FC, FH (also applies to Italy), FL (also applies to France), LA (also applies to France), OS, SD (also applies to France), TX|
* Keep in mind that Louis Vuitton keeps releasing new factory codes. So, at the time you are reading this blog post, the list above might be incomplete.
Production year: Early to mid-1980’s
Around 1982, Louis Vuitton started using 3 or 4 digit codes to represent the year and the month in which the item was made. The first two numbers represent the year and the last number (numbers), the month. For example, a “853” date code on the photo above indicates that the handbag was produced in March, 1985.
Production year: Mid to late 1980’s
In the mid-1980’s, Louis Vuitton changed their date code system for the first time. Now, the date codes were to consist of two letters, representing the factory location country and three or four digits that identified the year and the month the item was manufactured.
Production year: 1990-2006
Louis Vuitton changed their date code system again around 1990. This time to two letters followed by four digits. The first two letters in the date code identify the factory location. The following four digits can be read as follows: the first and third numbers represent the month and the second and fourth numbers represent the year of production. The “BA0916” date code seen on the photo above, indicates that the particular Louis Vuitton handbag was made in France in January 1996.
Production year: 2007-present
In 2007, the Louis Vuitton date code system was changed yet again. However, this time, the change wasn’t so major. The new date codes remained in the old format: as two letters followed by four digits. However, with a slight twist. Now, the first and third numbers represent the week the item was manufactured (instead of the month). The second and forth numbers keep representing the year. For example, the “DU0181” date code on the photo above, indicates that the bag was made in France, during the 8th week of 2011.
Is my bag fake if it doesn’t have a date code?
Not necessarily. The thing is that vintage LV items (made pre-1982) do not have date codes. The date code system was introduced in 1982, remember? So, if your vintage bag doesn’t have a date code, don’t worry! It might simply be an older bag. Another thing to remember is that with time, date codes can naturally fade. So, an absence of a date code doesn’t necessarily mean that your bag is fake.
I hope this blog post was helpful!
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I have a Louis Vuitton bag that I KNOW is real because I purchased it at the Flagship store in Paris on my 21st birthday. I’ve turned it upside down and inside out and there isn’t a serial number or date code to be found. Help!
Hi Diana! Many thanks for your comment. If you purchased your handbag just recently, it likely doesn’t have a date code. That’s because earlier this year, Louis Vuitton has switched from using date codes to placing microchips inside their SLG’s and handbags. If you bought your bag after March 2021, chances are that it already has a microchip inside it. So, there’s no date code to be found. However, if you bought your bag earlier, it should have a date code. If I were you, I’d try to look up the bag on resale sites, as they often feature date code photos inside their listings. This could be a way to find out where the date code is located. I hope it helps!
I bought my LV from the LV boutique in Vienna in 2019. When I run through the date code on the LV date code checker, it says it’s invalid. I don’t think a boutique would sell a fake item but would like to hear your opinion on this. Many thanks
Thank you very much for your comment. It is likely that the online LV date code checker you’ve used is out of date. Many of those are. That’s why it says the date code is invalid. I think if you bought your item directly from the boutique, there’s nothing to worry about.
HI, I just received my bag from Fashionphile and the bag looks amazing. Everything feels right except for the date code; it reads AR8909. So it looks like it was made in France in 1999 but the first and third digit reads 80. If it represents the month of August, it should read 08 and if it represents weeks…I don’t think the year 1999 had 80 weeks, lol. I would like to hear your opinion on this. Maybe there is another way of reading this? Many thanks.
It looks like your bag was made in France, but I am not sure when exactly. Louis Vuitton started using letters in date codes around the mid-late 1980s. Back then, the first two digits represented the year and the other two the month the item was produced. I think your bag could be made in September 1989 in France, but I am not sure. Perhaps, you could reach out to Fashionphile for clarification? I am sure they would be more than happy to help you!
All the best,
i just bought a vintage and the date code is M1091I . I tried using tools to verify hut doesn’t show up. And there is no history of LV ever making date code using one leter at the front and another letter at the end. What do you think?
Hi! I’ve just tried to verify your date code too, and it doesn’t show up as valid in any of the tools. Would you perhaps be able to share the name of the bag you’ve purchased (if you know it) and where you’ve purchased it from?
All the best,
Thanks for the helpful info, so I just received my vintage LV bag, it looks authentic and has the date stamp which look original and the bag is lovely and in vintage state, however, the made in part is missing the stamp, so it only has a plane square piece of leather sticked on the inside with no writing at all, no made in details at all, what are you r thoughts about this? I never seen anything like this? Have you come across thus before?
Hi there and many thanks for your comment! Yes, I’ve actually seen this before. In fact, Louis Vuitton items made in the USA are quite often missing the “Made in” stamp.
Hello I purchased my LV wallet I’m Italy on a flagship and the date code is two letters and three numbers ! Have you seen this before. And is it authentic??? Please help
Hi Dee! I have never seen this before, but if you’ve purchased your wallet directly from LV, it should be authentic. However, if you’re still in doubt, I would suggest that you contact your local LV boutique and inquire about this. Hope it helps!
Hi, I l purchased a pre-owed Cabas Mezzo 2 years ago. The date code is AD0307. I thought it was real without a doubt so I never looked it up. I just tried to sell it and was asked about the date of the bag so I looked the code up and I cannot find AD on any checker. I took the listing down but is this a fake code? I am so bummed if I got scammed.
Hi there! Not sure if the date code is fake, but I couldn’t find “AD” either. The only thing that goes into my mind to suggest is to get the bag professionally authenticated by a third party. Perhaps that could give you some piece of mind. Hoping you didn’t get scammed!
Thanks. I’m embarrassed to bring it into LV. I will see if there is an authenticator in the area.
Thank you so much!!
You’re welcome! You could also maybe try an online bag authentication service. I’ve heard “Real Authentication” are pretty good in detecting LV fakes!
I recently purchased a Speedy Damier azur ab0168 but not sure if it’s real I put in date code it says invalid and my bag says Made in France. Please help I would appreciate it.
Hi there! I would highly recommend to get bag professionally authenticated if you doubt its authenticity. Try checking a service like “Real Authentication”. They offer luxury designer authentication services online and seem to be really good in detecting fakes. Hope it helps!