Most COACH handbags have a “serial number” stamped on the inside, on a square patch of leather sewn into the lining. Some of the smaller purses (the “clutch,” the “swingpack” and the “mini”) do not have a serial number.
The serial number typically consists of a series of numbers or a number-and-letter combination. The last 4-5 digits of the serial number indicate the style number of the bag. Careful, though, as fake COACH bags also have a serial number – so just because the bag has a serial number does NOT mean it is authentic.
If the patch is not stamped – in other words, embossed into the leather – but is simply printed in ink – beware! The only bags I’ve seen with the creed patch printed in ink are the newer lines, like the Legacy, where the credo is lettered in gold-colored ink – and even then, it is still stamped into the leather before it’s lettered over in gold.
History: Bags from the late 1960′s did not have any serial number.
Coach added serial numbers to the creed in the 1970′s – each bag had a unique number – a “serial number” in the true sense of the word. This was apparently true through the 1980′s, and it was not until the 1990′s that Coach introduced the modern “registration format” of letters and numbers, with the last four digits indicating the style number of the bag – or, in the late 2000′s, the last five digits.