How to spot a fake designer handbag

It can be difficult for non-specialists to spot the differences between genuine designer items and reproductions. Here is what to look out for.

A fake Yves Saint Laurent handbag

A fake Yves Saint Laurent handbag

Type of leather

Does the material of the bag you are looking at match the material typically used by the maker? Check the brand's website to view how the original bag should look and see if it matches the bag you are considering.

Exterior finishing

Genuine designer goods are well finished with neat stitching. Fake bags often have poor-quality work.


If the bag has a tassel check how well attached to the bag it is. A genuine one will be securely fixed and will not produce a squeaking noise when moved. The ends of the tassel should be a uniform length.


The chain on genuine designer goods will be well made with all links neatly finished. Fake bags will often have chains with partially open links.


A monogram - usually the initials of the designer (for example, YSL for Yves Saint Laurent) - will have a particular style which you can check on the maker's own website.


Check the brand's website for how the full logo is displayed, often printed inside the bag. Lettering on fake goods tends to be done without the same amount of care. Look at spacing between letters and words as well as where the logo should be correctly placed.


Some handbags may come with a dustbag. The correct dustbag will be the perfect size for the handbag it contains. A fake example will often be of a generic size and made with poor quality materials and stitching.

Know before you bid

Don’t be afraid to contact the auction house and ask questions relating to these matters about a bag you are considering bidding on. You can also ask the auctioneer about the provenance of the bag, whether it comes with its original packaging or original receipt of purchase.

Some handbags may be offered with an authenticity card. Check whether the numbers on the authenticity card match the bag’s serial number (which is often found on the handbag’s interior lining), and also has the right number of digits that should relate to the correct date of manufacture.

Look for auction houses that hold dedicated designer sales. They will have a specialist trained to spot the real thing and will prevent fake items from being entered into their sale so you can bid with confidence.

Ultimately, genuine designer goods are well made from long-lasting materials which, along with the prestige of the brand, is why they are worth buying.

Read our guide to buying designer handbags at auction.

Search the for handbags coming up for sale at auction.


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