Any idea what’s the Coach Creed Patch? The term may not sound familiar but I am sure you have all seen it before.
Yap, this is it. It’s the leather patch inside Coach Bag that are most often used by people to identify a fake Coach bag. However, do note that examining the Coach Creed Patch is just one of the many ways to identify a fake Coach bag. Counterfeitor can put a genuine Coach Creed Patch onto a fake Coach bag. Hence, for more information on what are the things to look out for to identify a fake Coach bag, check out this excellent Ebay Guide.
Initially, I was interested to find out how to identify a fake Coach from the Creed Patch, after reading through the various guides, my conclusion is that there is no single sure-fire way as I had hoped. No single unique serial number or pattern as I had thought. Instead, I found out that the wordings and serial number on the creed patch had evolved over the years.
This in turn got me interested in the history of the Creed Patch and the Serial Number. So here’s a short rundown of my research. The reward of all these research is that I can now decipher the serial number for my Coach bags
1941- late 1960s
There was no creed or serial number on the Coach bags manufactured during this period.
Late 1960s – Mid 1970s
Coach introduced the creed without any serial number sometime in the late 60′s/early70s. The word “leatherwear” is under the word Coach and the wording of the creed at this time was all caps “THIS IS A COACH BAG. IT IS MADE OUT OF A COMPLETELY NATURAL GLOVE TANNED COWHIDE. THE SCARS, SCRATCHES, VEINS AND WRINKLES ARE NATURAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FULL GRAIN LEATHERS”.
Under the creed is in all caps, “MADE IN NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A.” ALL Coach bags made after the introduction of the creed and before serial numbers were introduced were made in NYC.
While searching for images of the creeds, i came across this really nice website, vintagelovegirl. Seems like she is an avid collector of Coach Vintage Bags.
There are some early to mid 70s bags that have the Coach Creed and an obviously glued-on serial mark that was added to the bag after it was manufactured. You can see that the serial number was applied to a leather strip and then placed under the Coach Creed in these early bags. Sometimes the strip with the number would come lose or fall off leaving just a strip of bare leather where the number should be.
The above image was also from vintagelovegirl. It certainly looks like the serial number was added after the bag was manufactured. Doesn’t it?
Mid 70s – Late 80s
Coach introduced the serial numbers on the creed patch in mid 1970s. The serial numbers were unique in the format “xxx-xxxx”. Only numbers were used with 3 digits followed by 4 digits after the hyphen, eg 103-5099. It is also around this time (mid 70s) that Coach started to manufacture bags in multiple location in U.S.A outside of just NYC. As you can imagine NYC bags are vintage and rare. The wording of the creed is the same, except on the bottom it will say ‘MADE IN THE UNITED STATES” OR “MADE IN U.S.A.”
Late 80s to 1994
In the late 80s, Coach changed the format of the serial number to xxxx-xxx, 4 digits followed by 3 digits, e.g. 1340-879. The serial numbers remain unique.
In 1994, the serial number became alphanumeric in the format LYL-xxxx, where L are letters representing the Factory codes, Y is a digit representing the year of manufacture and xxxx for the style number. For example K4M-5130 would be a Station Bag (5130), made in 1994 (the number 4, in the first set). The K & M are factory and manufacturing codes. So every single Station Bag made in 1994 in that particular factory could have the identical serial number. And some popular bags were made in more than one factory so the same style number could have different prefixes on different bags. Hence the serial numbers are no longer unique.
Several changes were made since 2004. First, double digits were used to represent the year to avoid repetition of year, so a bag manufactured in 2004 will have serial number such as K04A-6435. In 2005 some style numbers began to include letters as well as numbers until Coach decided to expand the style number to five digits. Bags made just for the Factory Stores will have the letter F before the style number. Seems like it was also around this time that Coach started to manufacture their bags in China.
The prefix was also increased to contain 5 alpha numeric characters such as MYYPP-Fxxxxx, where M is the represent the month, YY for year, PP is the manufacture plant code, F for factory store specific bags if applicable and xxxxx is the style number.
The first character of the prefix represented the month the bag was manufactured. Coach uses the following letters to represent each month starting with Aand ending with M. They do not use I, probably to avoid confusion with the number 1.
So for example the code E0877-19210
E – manufactured in May
08 – manufactured in 2008
77 – code for manufacturer plant
19210 – style number
The zero wasn’t added until 2004 so year codes 00, 01,02, and 03 were never used.
So there you go, now you can try to decipher the serial number of your own Coach bags too, although I was honestly disappointed that the serial numbers are no longer unique and there’s no sure-fire way to authenticate Coach bags just by reference to the serial numbers.
References and Credits
The above information was compiled with reference from postings by Hyacinth on the purseblog forum and Margo on thebagforum.
NOTE: The above info are based on my own research and are not comprehensive, nor are they affiliated in any way with Coach. If you see something that is inaccurate please feel free to leave a comment!