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Coach purse lovers on a budget are on a daily quest to find authentic Coach bags on sale. While some sellers offer counterfeit bags for low retail prices, these purses are often inferior in quality and not worth the cheap price. But if you know the expert clues to cracking the fake Coach code, you can identify a real Coach handbag from the fake purses sold in swap meets, back alleys and online.

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Examine the purse’s lining. Check for suede or cotton fabric linings inside the handbag. If you see polyester or plastic-looking fabric inside the handbag, it is not an authentic Coach product.

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Check the clasps, zippers and hardware. According to Bag Vanity, “The hardware used in a Coach handbag is made of sturdy brass. The clasps on an authentic Coach purse have smooth clasps that are easy to fasten.” Fake coach purses use plastic zippers instead of standard YKK metal zippers.

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Look for faulty stitching along the outside of the handbag. A real Coach bag has seams with even stitching. If there are signs of puckering at the seams, and loose threads are hanging off the purse, it is not a real Coach purse. The New York Times reports, “the stitches on the handbag should be 12 to the inch.”

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Ask for a dust bag. Coach products are sold with a chocolate brown dust bag with red stitching along the outer seams of the bag. The dust bag is imprinted with the words “Coach EST 1941” in white, across the front of the bag. If the purse is sold without a dust bag, it is fake.

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Examine the leather Coach tag located inside the purse. An authentic Coach bag will have the word "Coach" embossed on the tag. Look for a unique numerical code, located beneath the logo. Coach uses this alphanumeric sequence to verify the purse’s authenticity.

Tip

If the Coach purse is made with plastic handles or straps, the handbag is fake.

Visit the official Coach website to view current handbag collections. To detect fake bags, check for differences in the design theme, colors and shapes shown on the website.

About the Author

Mimi Abney

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in NewsOK.com and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.