The fashion house of Hermès has been around for over 180 years. In those years they have designed many iconic items, most of them that come with a great history. When buying a vintage Hermès bag, you can easily find out how old it is using the date stamp.
What is the Hermès date stamp?
Hermès items don’t have a serial number or a date code, but there is still a way to find out how old your bag is. Hermès uses date stamps, often referred to as “blind stamps” or “craftsmen stamps”. When you understand how to read the date stamp, you will be able to tell which year the item was manufactured. The stamp can also be used to authenticate the bag, however, there are many counterfeit Hermès products that have a fake authentication code or stamp. Just because an item has a stamp, doesn’t mean that it is real! Hermès also does not issue authenticity cards with their bags, they have never done this before, and will probably never start.
Do all Hermès items have a date stamp?
All leather items made by Hermès after 1945 have a date stamp, that cannot be seen from the outside. The Hermès date stamp corresponds with the year of the manufacturing date of the item. This is different from a serial number, since all items made in one year get the same stamp. In addition to this date stamp, you can find another stamp next to it that indicates the area at the atelier (workshop) where the bag craftsman works.
Hermès also uses a different kind of stamp to indicate different types of exotic leathers used in an item. This extra stamp can be found next to the branded “Hermès, Paris, Made in France”. However, a lot of vintage Hermès bags have no stamps at all, this doesn’t mean that they are not real.
Where to find the date stamp?
The date stamps used by Hermès are embossed with a hot iron and are always placed on the inside, or a place where it cannot be seen from the outside. The first places you should look for the Hermès date stamps are:
- On either side of the strap
- Inside of the bag
- Under the tab (depending on the model)
In general, each type of bag has its own specific area where the code can be found. However, this can change depending on the year. For example, the date stamps on the Hermès Birkin and Hermès Kelly can often be found on the exterior arm or interior panel of the bag. While the Hermès Constance commonly has the stamp on the middle interior panel.
How to read the Hermès date stamp
The Hermès date stamp always consists of a single letter. Depending on the year, this letter will be placed on its own or surrounded by a symbol. As from 1945 until now (2020), Hermès has only used letter without a shape, or surrounded by either a circle or a square. The letters A through Z are used in alphabetical order, with some years using a different order to through of counterfeit products. Use the image shown to check the date stamp on your item, and find out when it was created.
Extra stamps to identify exotic leathers
Hermès uses different stamps in their items to stay transparent about the production of their products. This leather type stamp can be found next to the branded “Hermès, Paris, Made in France”, and consists of a symbol.
A carat is used to identify an item made using Crocodile Porosus is.
A dash is used to identify an item made using Varanus Niloticus Lizard.
Double Dots (..):
A double dots stamp is used to identify an item made using Crocodile Niloticus.
A “S” is used to identify an item that is bought with an (employee) discount. This stamp varies, and sometimes these are also additional numbers and/or letters added.
Equal Sign (=):
An equal sign is used identify an item made using Varanus Salvator Lizard.
A horseshoe is used to identify a custom Hermès product.
A shooting star refers to a product that was created for a Hermes Craftman's personal use. This stamp is really incommon.
A square is used to identify an item made using Alligator Mississippiensis.
Hermès code checker and guide:
No shape (old)
Within a Circle
Within a Square
No shape (new)
1945 - A
1971 - A
1997 - A
2015 - T
* Note some Hermès bags including the Evelyne and Double Sens left the factory with a "JO" stamp in a rectangle instead of O stamp in square.
*Please note that Hermes releases new date stamps over time. It is possible that there are newer stamps released after this blog was posted.
We are very pleased to tell you that we have some beautiful vintage Hermès items in our collection at L'Étoile Luxury Vintage. Check out the Hermès collection here
With love, Millie & Jessica