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.
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."
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
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::