Gucci Authentication

How to recognize an authentic Gucci Bag

Gucci is one of the most highly counterfeited luxury designer brands in the world, and it is no surprise as to why. With so many iconic styles and design cues in their handbags, Gucci sits at the top of the luxury fashion world alongside Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

High quality materials, premium craftsmanship, timeless styles and signature Gucci flair like bamboo handles, horsebit closures and the GG monogram canvas make Gucci handbags stand out in the crowd.

However, it is important to know your way around the real deal and be able to identify counterfeits when shopping for pre-owned Gucci handbags, as there are tons of fakes out there. The following guide contains tips and red flags that will help you conduct DIY 5-step authenticity check on a pre-owned Gucci bag.

Check the Serial Number Tag

This is what an authentic modern Gucci serial number tag looks like from the front and back.

Note the three key points: 1) the ® stamp; 2) the authentic ‘Gucci’ font, and; 3) ‘made in italy’ in all lowercase letters.

All three lines should be justified to the center of the tag, and the heat stamp should be clear and precise. On the right is an example of the back side of an authentic serial number tag. Note that Gucci’s number font on the back of its serial number tags should have serifs (feet) and look similar to a typewriter style.

The rear of a modern, rectangular serial number tag contains anywhere from 10 to 13 digits, arranged in two rows. The first denotes the style of the handbag, while the second row is the supplier/batch code. This code will never have letters, and the font contains serifs (feet) on the numbers.

However, be sure to note that this code is not unique to your specific bag - other bags identical to yours that came from the same series and supplier will have the same code, therefore two authentic Gucci handbags can share the same serial number sequence.

Also note that vintage Gucci handbags often have one row of less than 10-13 digits, located on more rounded leather tags.

What if my bag doesn’t have a rectangular tag?

Gucci branding, tag styles, and presence of a number varied very substantially over the years:

The shape and style of the tag also varies substantially in older vintage Gucci. If the bag is purportedly a newer model, and doesn’t have a tag, this is an instant red flag of counterfeit.

Furthermore, since 2016/2017 and through 2021, in addition to the serial number tag, Gucci began using QR codes, located on a black fabric tag inside the bag to help fight against counterfeiters. These QR codes can be scanned with smartphones to authenticate the bag.

Caption: Modern Gucci handbags made in 2016/2017 and after will feature a QR ‘Quick Response’ code, which is easily scannable by most smartphones to determine authenticity. This is a new step Gucci took to fight counterfeiters, as it is more difficult for them to replicate both the serial number tag and the QR code.

If you know that the bag is a new model, be sure to look out for a QR code in addition to all other authentication points.

Caption: the Gucci Arli bag - a beautiful vintage example featuring burgundy leather and two-tone gold and silver hardware. The interlocking GG closure is very different from the modernexamples, but is extremely unique and a true Gucci. Note that the inside of the bag does not have ANY serial number tag, yet it is unmistakably an authentic.

Caption: on the left is vintage Gucci Aviatrix Medium Boston Bag, featuring the signature Gucci crest. On the right, you will see an example of a vintage serial number tag with rounded edges, as well as the Gucci crest, with the numbers printed in gold. Examples like these do not adhere to the typical serial number tag standards and absolutely stunning.

Caption: Look at this gorgeous example of a vintage Gucci Crocodile Skin Bamboo Top Handle Bag finished in brown with gold hardware. The bamboo top handle is iconic Gucci, while the crocodileskin material is purely exotic.

You can see the quality in the hardware and craftsmanship. Take a look at the serial number tag - it has rounded edges and does not adhere to standard number codes. The front face of the tag is also different: note the gold print and lack of the ® trademark that you find on modern Gucci bags.

Examine the Stitching.

Authentic Gucci handbags feature precise stitching, with the threads sometimes, but not always being the same color as the bag itself. If you see any unevenness to the stitching, breaks or gaps in the threading or fraying, the bag is very likely a fake.

Authentic Gucci handbags feature precise stitching, with the threads sometimes, but not always being the same color as the bag itself. If you see any unevenness to the stitching, breaks or gaps in the threading or fraying, the bag is very likely a fake.

Feel the Hardware.

Gucci hardware varies greatly across its several handbag styles, particularly because the hardware is where Gucci places heavy design emphasis, which has changed significantly over the years (even the Gucci logo has changed recently from interlocking G’s to the Marmont GG overlapping style).

Some of the most iconic hardware featured on Gucci bags includes the horsebit closure, the piston lock on Jackie O Hobo bags and the bamboo closure and bamboo handles.

While there are obvious differences between the Gucci hardware types, they all have one thing in common: quality. Feel the hardware on an authentic Gucci handbag, and you will feel the weight and quality of the metal. It will never be light, cheap, scratch-prone or covered in plastic.

Gucci’s bamboo, which originated during the leather and metal shortages of World War Two, is meticulously handcrafted over an open flame and lacquered to achieve that quality bronze finish. It too feels dense and exquisite in the hand.

Note: be sure to closely examine the zippers! This is a hardware area where counterfeiters often make mistakes. Authentic Gucci zippers are solid metal and branded with a ‘GUCCI’ engraving. If the zipper feels cheap or flimsy, or has plastic covering it, it is likely a fake. Authentic Gucci zippers are built to withstand the test of time.

Caption: A far more modern handbag, this Gucci Red Guccissima Soho Tote was created to make a statement. The ultra-soft, supple and luxurious Guccissima leather is finished in a bright red and bold gold hardware.

Look for an Authenticity Card.

When shopping for a pre-loved Gucci bag, you may come across something called a “controllato” card. It is grey in color, featuring the ‘GUCCI’ font logo, 10 numbers, and says “controllato” in all lowercase font.

This card is issued with every new authentic Gucci bag - however do not be fooled . If counterfeiters can replicate a whole bag, they can replicate a card with ease. Do not just simply accept the presence of this card as proof that the bag is authentic.

On the other hand, if you do not see a “controllato” card with the pre-owned Gucci bag, you should not be alarmed. These are frequently lost (since they are not unique to your specific bag, but rather generic with all new Gucci bags) and the bag can of course be authentic without one.

Authenticating Gucci handbags may seem difficult at first because Gucci created so many iconic styles and innovations over the years. However, if you know about the foundation of the qualities shared by all Gucci handbags, you are well on your way to spotting the fakes out there.