A Guide To Deciphering Louis Vuitton's Evolving Date Codes
18 January 2018

A Guide To Deciphering Louis Vuitton’s Evolving Date Codes

We all know that number that we see inside a Vuitton bag, and it really isn’t a serial number like you have on most bags. Contrary to popular belief, serial numbers are only assigned to Made-to-Order items. So what are those numbers and letters that we being stamped onto the interior (or the exterior for the Noé), either on the item itself or on a leather piece attached somewhere inside the bag?  Well, it’s actually known as a Date Code, which reveals when and where (i.e. the country in which it was produced) the item in question was made. Oh, and at this point, I should also mention that Date Codes are not just found on the bags alone; you can also find them on shoes, scarves, bag charms, key holders, and jewellery.

The Evolution of Date Codes

Pre-1980: no date codes

Early 1980s: 3- to 4-digit Date Codes which denote the month and year in which the item was made. The first 2 numbers indicate the year, while the last 2 correspond to the month. (e.g. 849 = September 1984).

Mid- to Late 1980s: This was when Louis Vuitton began to add 2 alphabets to the previous 3-4 digit Date code as above, with the letters indicating the factory location. (e.g. VI8712 = France, December 1987). Depending on the item, the date code may be split, with letters in one place and numbers in another. By the late 1980s, however, Louis Vuitton had standardised this so that all date codes appear with letters preceding the numbers in the same area.

1990-2006 – Since 1990, Louis Vuitton had switched it up a little. Although the letters still come before the numbers, the first and third numbers now represent the month, while the second and fourth denote the year. (e.g. CA0025 = Made in Spain, February 2005)

2007-present day (2015): In 2007, Louis Vuitton began to use the week format, instead of the month. So while the letters still represent the country, and the 2nd and 4th numbers the year, the first and third numbers now indicate the week of the year. (e.g. SD5120 = Made in USA, in the last week of 2010).

Do note that when you have sent your bag to Vuitton to be repaired (especially the interior), don’t be alarmed to find a new date code after repair. This is because Vuitton will not repeat nor use the same date code once the bag has been sent in for repairs. Instead, a new date code would be added. And it doesn’t stop there. Let’s say the interior lining of your Made in USA Vuitton bag tears while you’re in France, and you decide to send it in for repair because, hey, you’re in the brand’s country of origin, aren’t you? When you get your bag back, not only will you have a new date code as explained above, you’d also get different letters attached to the date code, to denote that it was repaired in France. So, if you’re If you’re purchasing a preloved or vintage item, it would help a great deal if you check whether the bag had previously been repaired, especially when you notice conflicting date codes. If the owner tells you that yes, it had previously been repaired, but you don’t see that reflected in the date code, then well, you know there’s something fishy going on.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can tell the country of manufacture just by looking at the alphabets. Well, here you go. But, before I proceed with that, do note that, yes, there are Made in USA bags for Vuitton, but this isn’t specific to the models. For example, you could purchase a Neverfull GM in the US (Made in USA), and your friend could have purchased a Neverfull GM in Singapore (Made in France). No, the “Made in USA” one isn’t fake, just less common, which is why many of us are baffled when we see the “Made in USA” tag because we expect it to be only made in France. Did you know that Vuitton actually has factories in Spain, France, USA, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland?

Country Date Code
France A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS (special order), AH, AN, AR, AS, AX, BA, BJ, BU, CO, CT, CV, DR, DU, ET, FL (also USA), GR, IT, LW, MB, MI, MS, NO, RA, RE (also Italy), RI, SA (also Italy), SD (also USA), SF, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, VI, VX
Germany LP
Italy BC, BO, CE, FA, FO, MA, NQ, PL, RC, RE (also France), RO, SA (also France), ST, TD
Spain CA, CR, JI, LB, LM, LO, LW
Switzerland DI, FA (also Italy)
USA FC, FH, FL (also France) LA, OS, SD (also France), FL
Relined Bags DK

 

And now, I’ve organised them more specifically below, according to their respective Vuitton ranges.

Date Code Type of Vuitton Range
A2 (France) Monogram Canvas, Epi-Leather
AA (France) Monogram Canvas, Vernis, Damier Ebene
AR (France) Monogram Canvas, Damier Canvas, Epi-Leather, LV Cup
AS (France) Suhali, Epi-Leather, Vernis, Mini Lin
AX (France) Monogram Canvas
BA (France) Monogram Mat, Vernis,
BJ (France) Mat Mono, Epi, Vernis
BU (France) Monogram Canvas
CA (Spain) Monogram Canvas, Epi-Leather, Monogram Mini, Vernis, MC, Damier Canvas, Monogram Mat  Monogram Groom (a.k.a. the “Porter” Collection), Damier Azur, Suhali, Glace
CB (-)  Monogram Ambre (Limited Edition Vinyl collection)
CE (Italy) Vernis, Damier Sauvage
CR (Spain) Damier Canvas
CT (France) Monogram Canvas, Monogram Cerises (Limited Edition “Cherries” by Takashi Murakami), Monogram Groom, Damier Canvas
DU (France) Monogram Canvas, Monogram Mirage, Damier Canvas
ET (France) Monogram Canvas
FC (USA) Monogram Canvas
FA (Switzerland) Monte Carlo Loafer
FH (USA) Monogram Canvas
FL (France) Monogram Canvas, Monogram Multicolore, Damier Canvas, Monogram Denim, Epi-Leather
FO (Italy) Damier Lune
JA (France) Patent sandal from 2009 runway
KU (-) Taiga desk set
LA (USA) Monogram
LM (Spain): Monogram Mat, Vernis, Damier Canvas, Suhali
LW (Spain) Vernis
MA (Italy) Balmoral Heels
MI (France) Monogram Canvas, Mini Monogram, Vernis, Monogram Mat, Damier Canvas, Epi-Leather, Damier Azur, Monogram Dentelle, Monogram Multicolore, Damier Centenaire, Monogram Perfo, Monogram Cerises
MB (France) Monogram Canvas, Damier Canvas, Monogram Charms, Monogram Motard
RA (France) Monogram Canvas, Damier Canvas
RC (Italy) Monogram Denim, Nimbus
RI (France) Vernis, Tobago
SD (USA & France) Monogram Canvas, Monogram Multicolore, Damier Canvas, Damier Azur
SL (France) Monogram Canvas, Monogram Multicolore
SN (France) Wish Bracelets: Monogram Multicolore Wish Bracelet, Mini Monogram Wish Bracelet, Vernis Wish Bracelet
SP (France) Monogram Canvas, Mini Monogram, Damier Canvas, Epi-Leather, Monogram Denim, Monogram Multicolore, Monogram Cerises, Damier Azur, Monogram Perfo, Mirage, Mini Lin
SR (France) Monogram Canvas, Mini Monogram, Monogram Multicolore, Monogram Satin, Epi, Vernis
TH (France) Monogram Multicolore, Vernis, Monogram Mat, Suhali, Damier Canvas, Monogram Canvas, Damier Azur, Monogram Mini, Epi-Leather, Monogram Leopard
VI (France) Monogram Canvas, Mini Monogram, Vernis, Damier Canvas, Epi-Leather, Monogram Denim, MC, Damier Azur

Hope you find this useful, and let me know if you have anything else to add to the list, or if I missed anything!