To help you avoid falling victim to the purveyors of fakes, we’ve compiled expert advice on identifying imposter Gucci bags.
The controllato card comes with every new Gucci bag, evidence the bag was inspected after completion. (Controllato means “checked.”) While every new genuine Gucci bag will have one, its existence does not authenticate the item.
Counterfeiters who can copy a leather bag can also duplicate a simple paper tag. And it is simple; real controllato cards have the Gucci logo in the center, below that the word “controllato” in lower case letters and below that are the numbers 1234567890. Then again, a fake might have this, too.
Inside a Gucci bag, there should be a leather tag stamped with ®, Gucci and “made in Italy.” Check this stamp it carefully for the correct font, spacing, spelling and positioning (generally centered). Also, keep in mind clarity of the stamp itself; real Gucci heat stamps are clear and even, not muddled.
The serial number is on the reverse side of the leather Gucci tag. It’s usually made up of two numbers, one atop the other. (It may also be formatted in one continuous line.) On top is the style number and below is the supplier code. The number “corresponds to a style,” explains Ridolfi. “If you Google that number and what comes up is a totally different bag, that’s a red flag.”
For example, “if you have a hobo, and when you search for that number you get a wallet, clearly something is off.” The serial number should include a total of between 10 to 13 numbers. Because these are heat-stamped into the leather, they present a good opportunity for to assess quality. As with the tag, if the stamp is uneven, sloppy or hard to read, it’s time to reconsider.
Cheap hardware is a common indicator of a replica Gucci bag. Real Gucci hardware is sturdy, solid metal, and most pieces — from the snaps to the zipper — are cleanly engraved with “Gucci.” Fake hardware may be lightweight, chipped, flakey or even rusted. Restorers are extremely careful with real Gucci hardware. “You would never want to put real Gucci hardware on a fake bag,” explains Anthony “Tony” Rago, of Rago Brothers Shoe and Leather Repair.