When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. We would always do things together that I did not get to do with my mother. Despite having a car, we would take a city bus or a taxi cab downtown to shop. That was so exciting to me because I never got a chance to do such things. She had a red wallet with a kiss lock that I always admired and wanted. It looked a little like this:
Well any hoo, I was browsing through Ebay one evening using my new favorite search “vintage Louis Vuitton handbags” and stumbled some vintage Louis Vuitton wallets. They reminded me of the wallet my grandmother carried when I was younger and I just HAD to have the small wallet to hold my coins. Now Louis Vuitton no longer makes these and initially I could not find one iota of information on these coin purses. I had my eye on one that had a starting bid of $100. I looked at reputable pre-loved luxury sites and the small coin purses were $200 and up. The seller of the one that I was interested in did not have a good description nor any additional information. She did have a decent set of photos. I then decided to check out the pictures on the reputable sites and compare them to the one I was interested in on Ebay. Well in the process, I found out that Louis Vuitton could not keep up with their demand in the United States during the 1970’s. For this reason, Louis Vuitton developed a special relationship with a luggage company located in the U.S. called the French Luggage Company. From approximately 1976 to 1991, The French Company manufactured LV handbags with permission from Louis Vuitton. Back in those days, all of the Louis Vuitton factories were located in France. The French Company made Louis Vuitton bags here in the United States for the first time and sold these American-made bags in prestigious American department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. The coin purse I was looking at was one of those special American made items!
Since these items were made in the U.S., they did not have date codes as the merchandise made in France. The French Company used a sewn-in tag that was similar to paper instead of a date code. This tag was easy to remove or damage so items that were made during that time more than likely no longer have that original tag. Some of the items were stamped or embossed which faded with time. Items still around today may have no evidence of the original tag, embossing or stamps. Also, the hardware was different! It was silver in color instead of gold or brass. Basically all of the usual signs of authenticity were not used. The French Company even used a darker brown leather and not the pale untreated vachetta that we are familiar with today. (follow the link at Ebay.com for a more in depth explanation).
I read all of this and got overwhelmed. After all, the kiss lock was nostalgic to me and I love Louis Vuitton. I decided to compare the Ebay pictures to the sites that I knew were strict with authentication. The photos that my seller provided matched those on the more reputable sites. I felt comfortable and I really wanted the wallet so I placed a bid and won the wallet. I was the only one who place a bid though. Was that a bad sign?
This is my wallet:
It’s clearly as old as I am. It has the silver hardware. It has some red rayon-like lining. It looked exactly as the ones that were authenticated. Good enough for me. Besides, I love her! The seller I bought her from says she found the wallet in her aunt’s attic after she died. She just wanted to get rid of the piece. Lucky me, I guess!
So I suppose you may ask, what’s my problem? Why can’t I just go buy a brand-new LV wallet from the website or boutique? Well I already have a brand-new one but coins are dirty and they discolor the new bags and wallets. This piece is cute and rare and I can’t mess it up much more than it is now. Plus, not that many people have it and there is an interesting story behind it. I see where my son gets his fascination with history from!
Will this be my last adventure? No way. I have a list of old LV bags that I can only get through the pre-loved market. Now I’ve been lucky with Ebay but many people have not. I may decide to use my closed Facebook group for future purchases. Please don’t try this at home and blame me if you get a fake. Remember there are plenty of sites such as Fashionphile, TheRealReal, Tradesy, etc that guarantee authenticity. Don’t be a crazy addict like me! LOL!!!
I love these stories and the fascinated me to look in to more authentic LVs.
I am so glad you enjoyed it. Check back for more stories.
I enjoyed reading your article. I too love LV, especially vintage LV. I can relate to your adventure and reading about it made me smile. I have done the same to try to determine authenticity. And yes, I too have taken a few chances. The historical information is an added benefit. I will be following you and Nat! Great work ladies!!
Thanks so much!
We are so glad you enjoyed the post Vivian! Thanks so much for reading!