All About Date Stamps!
A blind stamp, also known in the Hermès realm as date stamp or date code, is an image or lettering embedded by creating an uncolored depression in a material. Many of today’s top luxury brands use blind stamps as one method of authentication.
Hermès is famously known for handcrafting all their leather products, using one master craftsman throughout the entire process, from leather hide to handbag or wallet. This means each craftsman is responsible for the quality of every piece he/she creates. The craftsman then hand stamps the date code alongside their individual craftsman's stamp. The craftsman stamp represents the area at the atelier where the artisan works.
Hermès utilizes letters surrounded by different shapes to convey the production year of their handbags. Blind stamp placements vary depending on the handbag style and year of production. Hermès leather pieces are always handmade and hand-stamped so there are rare occasions where an artisan feels “creative” and places the blind stamp elsewhere or does not place enough pressure when stamping, making it hardly visible. These are exceptions rather than the rule.
From 2015 until the present, Hermès reverted back to using only an alphabet with no shape framing the letter. Hermès deviated from their tradition of chronologically designating letters in alphabetical order. Unlike pervious years, letters are assigned in no particular order, with ’T’ designated for 2015, ‘X’ for 2016, and ‘A’ for 2017. Along with this change, placement of the date stamp and craftsman code on Birkin and Kelly bags were moved to the top of the left side panel (while the bag is facing you), adjacent to the back panel. Constance bags have the blind stamp located in the interior divider on the upper corner, right below the stitch line.
From 1997 to 2014, an alphabet framed by a square symbolized the production year. Letters were assigned in alphabetical order starting with ‘A’ in 1997 and finishing with ‘Z’ in 2014. For Birkin and Kelly bags produced during this time, the date code and craftsman code is located on the closure strap, opposite the hardware side.
From 1971 to 1996, a circle surrounding a letter symbolized the production year. Letters were assigned in alphabetical order starting with ‘A’ in 1971 and finishing with ‘Z’ in 1996. Birkin and Kelly bags’ blind stamps were placed on the closure strap, opposite the hardware side.
From 1945 to 1970, no shapes were used while the letters were designated in alphabetical order starting with ‘A’ in 1945 and finishing with ‘Z’ in 1970. Birkin and Kelly bags’ blind stamps were embedded on the closure strap, opposite the hardware side.
Unlike Chanel and some other designer brands, Hermès does not issue certificates of authentication. It is important to become familiar with Hermès blind stamps as one way to authenticate your bag. The most counterfeited items tend to be the most sought after such as a Birkin, Kelly, or Constance. With counterfeit Hermès products being so commonplace these days, being familiar with Hermès’ blind stamp is the first step to helping you with your next purchase. However, please remember that determining whether a product is genuine requires a vast knowledge that goes much further than being only aware of blind stamps because even those can be faked to a certain degree. We always advise our clients to hire an experienced and trusted authenticator if authenticity is questioned. Perhaps the most important safeguard, always purchase from a knowledgeable and reputable seller that specializes in Hermès, such as Maison de Luxe.