Coach, the company that makes Coach handbags, was founded in 1941 in New York City. Originally designed to have the same quality as a baseball glove, Coach bags are known for their supple workmanship, fine leather and even stitching. Though its bags and other luxury products are now sold throughout the world, Coach’s company headquarters is still located in the original Manhattan loft where the company was founded. If you have ever wondered how old your Coach bag is, there are some ways to tell.
Find the name given to your style of Coach handbag. If you don’t know the name, visit or contact your nearest Coach store or outlet for assistance (888-262-6224).
Check for the bag’s serial number, which is located on a stitch patch on the inside of your purse under the zipper. Since 1990, serial numbers have been given to all Coach handbags except for slingbacks. Before 1990, not all Coach bags carried this registration information, so bags manufactured before that date are much harder to identify.
A typical serial number reads: No A09 12-12345. "No" stands for number. Preceded by a letter, 09 is the year of manufacture (for the 2009-2010 model year). The final number, 12-12345, is the registration number that verifies the style.
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Search the Coach website or a catalog to see current styles if you cannot find a serial number. Find the closest style to use as a reference to help in your search. Style names in 2011 include variations of Kristin, Madison, Mia, Poppy, Alexandra, Natalie, Sierra, New Occasion, New Waverly and Sutton.
Use current catalogs to help narrow your search, since Coach periodically revamps its classic styles and collections.
Research on the Internet. Type in "vintage Coach" and check the sites shown. Your bag may match other purses being sold from past seasons.
Check a Web shopping site like eBay or ShopStyle to locate vintage Coach styles. Find your purse style from the numerous photos posted, which can give both age and value. Be aware that information posted on the Internet may not be accurate.
Without a serial number, the only way to ensure that you have a genuine Coach bag is to have purchased it from a Coach store or distributor.
Helen Holzer is a veteran journalist who began writing in 1972 and has lived all over the country. She has written and edited on nearly every topic for major daily newspapers and other publications. She has also been a book reviewer and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Minnesota.