How to Authenticate a Hermes Birkin Handbag

by Nina Makofsky

The Hermes Birkin handbag remains one of the market's hotly pursued designer purses, with a waiting list of several years to procure a new one. A single artisan crafts the Birkin bag, which has been seen on the arms of celebrities, such as Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, who has confessed to owning 10 of them. Authenticating Birkin bags requires consumers examining Birkin bags and packaging to ensure they are purchasing the real thing.

Items you will need

  • Packaging
  • Birkin bag
Step 1

Do your research. Online sellers, auction sites and fly-by-night street corner stands may offer bargain prices, but you will not get an authentic Birkin bag. A new Birkin bag starts at around $9,000 and can cost up to $34,000 for crocodile skin. A used Birkin bag in decent condition will cost about the same price. Never fall for a "vintage" Birkin, as Hermes has only produced them since 1984.

Step 2

Study the packaging. The telltale hanging tags on other designer bags are noticeably absent on the Birkin. The Birkin never comes in plastic wrapping. Instead, look for a dust bag, which may be orange cotton flannel or, for older bags, tan velour.

Step 3

Look for the logo. A high-quality Hermes logo appears on the Birkin bag. Hermes embosses, rather than just stamps, its logo. The logo should look crisp and even. The main logo, appearing on the front face of the Birkin, reads "Hermes Paris" and "Made in France." The company never attaches leather tags or metal nameplates with its logo onto the bag.

Step 4

Check the workmanship. A $10,000 handbag should look finely crafted. Check for even, tight stitching. All bag hardware, including the zipper, should be solid and not cheap feeling. The leather should look high-quality. The bag's profile is flat and should not bulge.

Step 5

Take inventory. A real Hermes Birkin bag comes with a lock and key set. The lock features an engraved logo on the bottom. The keys have engraved numbers that match the numbers on the lock.

Tip

  • While many Hermes boutiques do not have Birkin bags in stock, sometimes Hermes boutiques in St. Barts and Florence have a Birkin you can purchase on site.

About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.