Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Counterfeit Coach Part 2

Because the All Coach Partner Auction also deals in vintage and pre-loved Coach merchandise as well as brand new factory and boutique items, I think it's important to let our customers know just how extensive our knowledge is on the subject.  At least once per auction someone pipes up and asks if the Coach;s are real or fakes.  I don't blame them for asking, as the counterfeiting of designer brands is rampant and you really do have to be knowledgeable about your subject.

Selling counterfeit merchandise is illegal.  I think most people know that, but did you know that sales of $1000 or more of counterfeit merchandise is a felony?  There are people who take that risk every day, and every day there are people who are caught and fined and jailed for doing it.  It's not something the All Coach Partners want to risk.  Our dedication and loyalty to the brand is stronger than our desire to make a buck and risk everything we've worked for.  And aside from the financial loss to the brands being replicated, (approx. 500 billion dollars), counterfeiting also accounts for an estimated loss of 750,000 jobs in the US.  Moreover, the profits from counterfeiting fund other crimes ranging from abusive child labor to drug trafficking and terrorist activities.  

Ok, so we've established our dedication to the Coach Brand, so let's move on to some examples of counterfeit Coach Bags.

This is a bag I recently bought (and returned as being counterfeit).  I suspected from the start that it was not authentic, but because there were no photos of the creed patch and it did look an awful lot like an authentic bag I saw, I figured it was worth a gamble.

Here is the authentic bag that I thought it might be, the Coach Madison Ombre Limited Edition Multi Calf Leather Sabrina Satchel 12952:

At first glance they look pretty similar don't they?  Well, when I got it home and checked the creed patch (sorry, I forgot to get a picture of it) it was obviously fake, but there was one obvious detail that tipped me off right away, can you spot it?

Here is a close up to help you:

I do have to say, everything else about the bag seemed authentic, the leather felt ok, the stitching looked even, but not having the authentic bag in hand to compare it to, it's hard to say if the "feel" was the same.  I would bet that someone with less knowledge would have accepted this bag as authentic and never questioned it.

Here is another example. the Coach Bubble Fish Tote:

And here is the authentic one:

Once again, they are very, very close in detail, the placement of the coral and the fish, the leather on the rope handles, but the linings are completely different and the creeds did not match.  As far as I could tell, there were other pieces to this limited edition line, but nothing that matched the tote I bought (and returned as counterfeit).

There are plenty of other examples out there, but I thought I'd share my first hand experience with seeing counterfeits "in the flesh".

And as always with our weekly articles, here is the link to the All Coach Partner Auction giveaway for September 24th.  And remember, you do need to be present to win.  Also, don't forget to follow our blog to be entered into our monthly giveaway, which is this Friday!!!!!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Ladies of Coach

 In the last few articles we have discussed the history of Coach, attending the auction, providing feedback and creed patches… Whew! Now that you are all Coach and Tophatter mini expertstime to go shopping? Wait, not so fast… there are still a few more basics to learn! Let’s get acquainted with some of the gorgeous ladies of Coach and help you decide which one might be the right one for you! Today we will talk Alexandra, Chelsea, Carly, Zoe, Ashley and Peyton

Alexandra, characterized by her grace and poise, can often be spotted in signature or leather as a tote or her most exotic form, python or most recently as an over the top satchel (watch out Ashley)… Alexandra Chain Tote

Is it a classic you’re looking for? Chelsea likes to be seen in pebbled leather and often has a turnlock closure… usually a medium sized shoulder bag… she is a more serious bag… but she is also a chameleonshe has special bags which have two first names… Chelsea Ashlyn, Chelsea Jayden,

Maybe Carly is your girl… with her brass O rings, studs and signature C fabric… she exudes confidence as a large shoulder bag and is quite sassy as a demi

Zoe… loves fun and shows it in flashy patent and she sometimes gets glammed up in patchwork… sleek with clean linesZoe Top Handle Pouch

Ashley is the grand dame of the Coach ladies and can often be found as both a small and large satchel in leather and signature fabric… she also takes the form of sateen and op art C to show off… she is also well known for her wallets and her life as a hippie… Ashley Satchel

Peyton… the drama queenknown best for her sometimes triangular silhouette, her python trim and big bold turnlocks… Coach Peyton Shoulder Hobo

Now that you’ve met some of the ladies which one might be the one for you?!!!
The bag(s) you love and carry the most should complement more than just your outfits, they should flatter your body type; it is just as important as getting the right fit in your clothing.

This season’s oversized bag is a must have, so sometimes we break the rules to carry the bag of the moment, but for the most part, your bag should always balance the proportions of your body.

Choosing your bags based on their relationship to your shape and size is key…

For Petite Women
Smaller styles are best, with shorter straps or handles. Choose a bag with minimal hardware and flash. When the body is petite, you need to keep your accessories clean, simple, and tonal to your outfits. Your bag should not compete with your small frame. Zoe Top Handle, Carly Demi or Ashley small satchel

For Taller Women
Most styles will flatter your figure. You're the coat hanger of the body types, so you wear accessories well. But keep in mind that a super-sized bag will only play up your lankiness and small delicate bags will get lost on you. Long shoulder bags, bucket bags and hobos are all winners. And bags with bold patterns and details will also play well against your model height… Large Carly or Peyton Hobo

Women with Fuller Figures
Carry a bag that has some volume and size to keep things in proportion with your silhouette. Keep your outfits simple and let your bag do the talking. Smaller pochette bags carried under your arm will only play up your fullness. Make sure the bag sits above or below the fullest part of your body not on it. Try and keep your bag away from your body if possible by carrying it in your hand, in the bend of your arm, or dropped low at your knees. Chelsea or Large Carly

The American "Average" Size 8 to 12 Woman
You should have an easy time choosing the size, shape and style of the bag you'll carry, since most will flatter. Keep things in the middle just like your body. Avoid extremes, large and small, and you should be fine. Alexandra, Peyton or Ashley…
These are just some of the many famous ladies of Coach… who suits you best?

Wait, before you decide, tune in for our next installmentwe will look at Amanda, Leah, Julia, Penelope, Mia and Hailey… more gorgeous Coach ladies you should get to know…

And here is tonight's All Coach Partner Auction giveaway question! And don't forget, you need to be present at the end of the auction in order to win!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Coach Spotting the Fakes

Spotting counterfeit or replica Coach bags is difficult. Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules that apply across the board. One myth is that all authentic Coach bags will have a creed patch with a number on it. This is simply not true. Many of the accessories that Coach makes have no creed or story patch, and as you read in the earlier article, some creed patches didn't have style numbers on them. It's pretty safe to assume that most, if not all, of your totes and larger bags will have a creed patch in them. Swingpacks, wristlets and smaller accessory type bags most likely will not. However, once again, this is not across the board because some of the smaller demi bags will have the creed patch inside. The bottom line is, the presence or lack of a creed patch is NOT an indicator of an authentic or replica bag. Concentrating on the presence of a creed patch in the bag, one now has to know what the numbers and letters stand for. Thjis was also covered in the last article .  

There are known fake numbers, much too numerous to list here, if you google you will find several resources that list a large percentage of them.  You'll never remember them all, so I'll give you some of the more common clues in creed patch numbers to keep in mind.

Any Coach item that has only 5 or fewer digits in the serial number, and / or is missing the “No” in front of the number, is almost 100 percent certain of being fake. If the creed also says “Made in Korea” it's fake, NO EXCEPTIONS. Every Coach made in or after 1994 will always have at least three digits in the first half of the number including a one or two-number year code in the center position. If there’s just a letter and a number, or only 2 letters and no number, the item is FAKE - no exceptions.

Serial numbers beginning with the letters N thru Z are not valid Coach numbers and are almost always fake. There are a few very rare exceptions for "N" so ask an expert.

A prefix of 3 LETTERS is always fake.  Bags made in 2000 will have a 0 so make sure that's what it is and not an O

This is only scratching the surface of counterfeit serial numbers.  The counterfeiters have also gotten good at using an authentic serial number, but on a completely different style bag.  You can google your style numbers to see if the bags match the one you're questioning, but again, that's not a foolproof method because it might be a popularly replicated bag.  And not finding a bag that matches doesn't necessarily mean it's fake either.

One hard and fast rule is that Signature style handbags will not  have signature C pattern linings.  Coach bags with signature patterns on the outside should have a solid interior lining or a Coach lozenge logo lining, not a C pattern lining.  Exceptions to this rule are  2 styles of the signature "wave" patterns that also have a signature C lining.  It should be noted that vintage Coach bags did not have linings.   

I think that's enough info to get you started.  As  you can probably see, it's not easy authenticating bags.  It takes a lot of time, a lot of knowledge and good resources to fall back on when you need an "expert" to authenticate your bag.  One great resource is The Purse Forum  the gals there are a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Here is tonight's All Coach Partner Auction Raffle Entry: 

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And remember, you need to be present to win!  Also, don't forget to follow this blog to be entered into our monthly drawing!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Mystery Revealed....The Coach Creed Patch

One of the most common topics of questioning from our first time buyers and even experienced Coach owners  is that of the Coach Creed Patch.  While it is a great tool at determining that you did in fact come across a wonderful authentic Coach bag, there are many misconceptions that hopefully can be clarified here with a little history on just what this patch tells you about your item!
Remember that not all Coach products will have a creed patch.  Many smaller items are not made with one and many are just not big enough for one as well.  The common misconception that all smaller items such as wristlets and swingpacks do not have them though is not the case.
Each style of item is assigned its own "style number" by Coach.  Bags made after 1994 are usually easy to find with a quick google search of the style number for quick comparision, although this is not a recommended method of determining authenticity of the bag itself.  It will help though with determining that the style number is the correct one for your bag. Older bags and lovely vintage finds will be a bit more difficult since the serial number on the creed was not introduced until the late 1960's to early 1970's.  Below is an example of what the first creed patches look like.  Note there is no style/serial number and the word leatherware is under the Coach name.  The lettering is all caps and includes "MADE IN NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A." as all Coach bags made at this time were produced in the Big Apple.
Then in the mid 70's-late 80's, Coach introduced serial numbers onto the creed patch, which were in the format "###-####."  This is also about the time period where Coach began producting their items in multiple locations, so you will notice the previous "MADE IN NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A." has been replaced with either "MADE IN U.S.A." or "MADE IN THE UNITED STATES."

 A switch in the format of the serial number came about in the late 80's.  Where before it was "###-####" now they became "####-###."

Around 1994, serial numbers stopped being unique to that particular bag and were given a more universal alpha-numerical format, "A#A-####."  The letters(in this case F & M) represent factory and manufacturing codes and the number in between(in this case "05") represents the year of manufacture.  So this example below would be an authentic creed with the style number 3577(Coach Signature Duffle Bag), and produced in the year 2005.

Around the time of this creed patch, double digits starting being used to represent the year and some style numbers included letters for a short period until they were expanded to be five digits (#####).  Bags began being produced in China as well, which is often cause for speculation of authenticiy since so many replicas are also made there.  
Bags produced exclusively for the Coach Factory stores have a letter F before their style number as well.  Prefixes representing the month and year of production were also introduced onto the creed patch.  So with the image above and using the chart below, we know also that the bag was produced in June, 2005.
Prefixes representing the month of manufacture:*Note that the letter "I" is not used
E- May
The zero for the year was not introduced until 2004, so you will never see the year codes of 00, 01, 02, or 03 on a creed patch.
Below is an authentic creed patch for a bag made exclusively for Coach Factory stores. Note the letter F before the 5 digit style number.
So now you're an expert on just what the Coach creed patch tells you about the bag!  Be sure and check back here for future articles about quick ways to spot a replica Coach and photos of ones that might surprise you with how authentic they appear, even to the seasoned "Coachie" eye!

And here's our auction raffle question for tonight's All Coach Partner Auction::

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