Hermès History and Authentication Techniques
History of Hermés
The Hermès family believes in quality hand craftsmanship and carries on this tradition to this day. Most of their factories are in France and many items are crafted from start to finish by one individual, insuring unwavering quality. In fact the Hermès family still owns the majority shares of the company, they briefly went public and deemed against it.
Hermès was established in 1837 by Thierry Hermès in France. Hermès handcrafted harnesses and bridles for carriages, his clientele consisted of European royalty including Napoleon III as well as the who’s who around Europe. Thierry’s son, Charles-Emile Hermès, expanded the business in 1873 by opening an additional store in France and adding saddles to their line.
Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the son of Jean-Louis is the current creative director of Hermès and because of him, Hermès has had is largest growth in decades. Hermès has stuck with it’s roots and still handcrafts saddles, but they have included many other product divisions, leather goods, scarves, ties, men's wear, women's wear, scarves, jewelry, perfume, stationery, footwear, gloves, enamel, decorative arts, tableware, and watches.
Knowing how to authenticate is extremely important, Hermès will not authenticate, in fact, Hermès employees will be fired if they do so. There are many things to take in to account when authenticating, overall shape, quality, stitching, hardware, Hermès stamp, date stamp, handles, leather type and even the smell. Below is a chart to decipher the Hermès date code, information regarding their lesser known stamps, as well as more Birkin and Kelly bag details.
Hermes Date Stamp Cheat Sheet:
*Here's a tip for remembering dates like a pro - The year 2000 is letter D, from there you can go up or down to date handbags and accessories correctly. See our date list below for specific details by year.
Birkin and Kelly Bag Sizing:
Below are the sizing dimensions of Birkin and Kelly handbags. Keep in mind sizes have been discontinued over the years, brought back into circulation and special size releases not mentioned below.
Birkin bags have been crafted in sizes 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm, 45cm, 50cm and 55cm.
25cm: 10" L x 5" W x 8"H
Kelly Bag Sizes:
Kelly bags have been crafted in sizes 20cm, 25cm, 28cm, 32cm, 35cm, 40cm, and 50cm.
20cm: 8" L x 3.5" W x 6"H
Hermès Authentication Facts:
Hermès is known for hiring the best of the best artisans, most have graduated from École Grégoire-Ferrandi, a school known for working with luxurious leathers. Once an artisan has handcrafted a bag, it goes to the inspector who goes over every tiny detail. If it passes, it's stamped. The stamp will contain the date code and allow Hermès to identify the artisan and the workshop in which it was made.
If you were to see a stamp that had an hourglass, AR, P inside a square, the hourglass is the mark of a master artisan, AR marks the factory, the square/p is the year it was made.
*Not all handbags have the additional mark like the hourglass, most have two letters with the date code (square P). For collectors this hourglass stamp is an added additional level of specialness, the hourglass stamp is an internal stamp for Hermes and the mark of a master craftsman. All handbags are stamped so Hermes can trace each bag back to the factory it was made in and artisan who made it, especially if it sent back for a repair.
Font and size on date codes have changed though out the years, but stamping always clear and legible. There are even instances of authentic stamps being a bit crooked (sometimes upside down) and stamps being in different spots. Contrary to popular belief not all Hermès handbags have blind stamps, but most do. Blind stamps are named blind stamps because they are meant to be just that, hidden. If handbags are sent to the Hermés Spa, most likely they will come back with additional blind stamps, including the mark of the artisan that took care of the repair.
Look below to date your Hermès handbag or leather accessory. In case you were wondering what happens to bags that don't make the cut by inspectors, sadly they are destroyed.
Special Exterior Stamps - Some Hermès handbags have unique stamps on the exterior of the bag stamped on the left of the Hermès Paris stamp, we’ve decoded them for you:
Special Interior Stamps -
Hermés Stamp and Corresponding Date
|1945 A||1971 A||1997 A|
|1946 B||1972 B||1998 B|
|1947 C||1973 C||1999 C|
|1948 D||1974 D||2000 D|
|1949 E||1975 E||2001 E|
|1950 F||1976 F||2002 F|
|1951 G||1977 G||2003 G|
|1952 H||1978 H||2004 H|
|1953 I||1979 I||2005 I|
|1954 J||1980 J||2006 J|
|1955 K||1981 K||2007 K|
|1956 L||1982 L||2008 L|
|1957 M||1983 M||2009 M|
|1958 N||1984 N||2010 N|
|1959 O||1985 O||2011 O - In some instances"JO" was stamped in a square instead of O stamp in square, this happened on some handbags including the Evelyn and Double Sens.|
|1960 P||1986 P||2012 P|
|1961 Q||1987 Q||2013 Q|
|1962 R||1988 R||2014 R - Late production had no square.|
|1963 S||1989 S||2015 T - Hermes skipped 'S' this year and also went sans square. No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1964 T||1990 T||2016 X - Hermes moved the blind stamp on the Birkin and Kelly to the interior, which continues to this day. No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1965 U||1991 U||2017 A - No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1966 V||1992 V||2018 C - Hermes passed the 'B' in a square to throw off counterfiters. No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1967 W||1993 W||2019 D - No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1968 X||1994 X||2020 Y - No Square, L LL NNN LL Format|
|1969 Y||1995 Y||2021 - Waiting in anticipation.|
|1970 Z||1996 Z|
Hermés Color List
Hermés has offered many types of leather and many colors over the years, however there are a limited amout of colors available in store. Many colors are/were seasonal, special ordered, infrequently released and some discontinuned.
|Etoupe||Gris Paris||Cognac||Potiron||Rouge Casaque|
|Fauve||Gris Perle||Ebene||Sanguine||Rouge Garance|
|Gold||Gris Souris||Ecorce||Rouge H|
|Kraft||Gris Tourterelle||Havane||Rouge Imperial|
|Natural||Plomb||Marron d'lnde||Rouge Indien|
|Noisette||Marron Fonce||Rouge Moyen|
|Tabac Camel||Rouille||Rouge Vif|
|Bois de Rose||Amethyst||Bleu Atoll||Bamboo||Cumin|
|Fuchsia||Crocus||Bleu Brighton||Eucalyptus||Jaune d'Or|
|Peche||Cyclamen||Bleu de Galice||Granny||Jaune Poussin|
|Pink||Iris||Bleu de Malte||Kiwi||Lime|
|Rose Confetti||Mauve||Bleu de Prusse||Lichen||Mimosa|
|Rose des Sables||Parme||Bleu Electrique||Malachite||Moutarde|
|Rose Dragee||Prune||Bleu France||Menthe||Soleil|
|Rose Jaipur||Raisin||Bleu Hydra||Pelouse||Soufre|
|Rose Lipstick||Ultraviolet||Bleu Indigo||Pistache|
|Rose Sheherazade||Violet||Bleu Izmir||Toundra|
|Rose Shocking||Bleu Jean||Vert Anglais|
|Rose Tea||Bleu Lin||Vert Anis|
|Rose Tyrien||Bleu Obscur||Vert Bengale|
|Rosy||Bleu Ocean||Vert Bronze|
|Rubis||Bleu Orage||Vert Caucase|
|Tosca||Bleu Pale||Vert de Gris|
|Bleu Paon||Vert Emeraude|
|Bleu Paradis||Vert Fonce|
|Bleu Saphir||Vert Olive|
|Bleu Tempete||Vert Veronese|