Please note that my guide focuses on recent collections, I'm afraid I don't have much experience regarding vintage bags.
I've written this guide from my experience - I am by no means a Mulberry expert.
I'd place a safe bet that the majority of mulberry bags auctioned on ebay are fake - I made the mistake of buying one! I've since bought a few real bags from Mulberry and have prepared this guide as a result. There are a lot of replica bag websites out there (just google fake mulberry or the likes and you'll soon find some) and it is scary how good some of the fakes are. A lot come with mulberry shop tags, care cards and boxes, I suspect a lot of people buy bags from these sites and re-sell them on ebay passing them off as authentic to make a profit.
The bags I feel most qualified to talk about are the ones I have: Bayswater, Effie, Alana, Somerset pouch, Poppy and Belle, the fake bag I bought was a Roxanne. I have friends who have a Small Mabel, a Blenheim and a Phoebe so I know a little bit about them too. From checking out the Mulberry Website I have also been able to identiy fake Emmys, Somerset Totes, Roxanne Totes, Mabels and East-West Bayswaters.. There is another ebayer's guide out there on Annie bags which I found very informative. I have recently purchaseda Del Rey and plan to include some information on this bag shortly.
I'll start with general points then I'll cover bags individually.
- Watch out for titles describing bags as 'in the style of' or 'looking like'
- Just because a seller says it is 100% authentic - doesn't mean it is eg many say 100% genuine leather Roxanne bag - this could just mean it is genuine leather not a genuine Roxanne
- Check out what other items the seller has sold - are they are selling multiple mulberry items ? How likely is someone really going to sell lots of 'unwanted' expensive bags complete with tags at a fraction of their real value?
- Check feedback - what have they sold previously, do they have much feedback etc. Bear in mind though that not everyone will know that they have bought a fake.
- Are a lot of their auctions private?? Sellers sometimes use this as a way of disguising what they have sold previously - still check their feedback though as sometimes a buyer will state what they have bought eg 'great bag'
- Check the grammar / language used in the sellers description - if they can barely string english together, avoid. Some fakes come in from overseas.
- Are the photos stock photos or photos of the actual bag you are bidding on?
- Deal only with ebayers who use paypal - that way there is an element of protection. Paypal by no means guarantees you your money back (I've been stung by this).
- The bags tend to come with dust bag, tag and carecard - but very rarely do you see one come with a receipt - you'd think if someone has gone to the effort of keeping the tags on the bag they would still have the receipt... Ask if an original receipt (not a photocopy) is available.
- What colour is the bag - is it a colour/material that Mulberry have actually produced bags in?? The Mulberry Web page may help you do this (link at the bottom).
- Dust bag - the real ones are high quality with a gold tree printed on them (bottom right corner - on both sides) - the fake felt like a dusting cloth and had poor stitching, the tree was printed on but the gold was not as bright. The real dust bag is more of a burgundy/brown colour, the fake was brown. (photo of genuine bag). Mulberry also produce dust bags in white with a dark tree.
- Shop tag - is attached with black string onto the real bags. It was attached by a plastic tie on the fake bag. Fakes do have them attached with string - so don't just go on this alone
- Genuine care cards can be brown as shown above or cream as shown below
- The genuine bags do not come with a 'genuine leather' tag in the shape of cow hide. Believe it or not I saw a fake Roxanne tote with one of these - even although the real bags are made from vynl!
- Inside the bag - the fake had no 'made in' label inside. The real ones have a black 'made in England' or 'Made in Turkey' or 'made in China' label inside. In addition there is a letter(s) on the reverse. Mulbery used to make all their bags in England but have been outsourcing for a few years now. I've been told by another ebayer that the letters represent the year/season that the bag was made and apparently this is to assist with the guarantee of the bag. I've detailed against my bags what the letters are but depending on when your bag was made, these letters may differ.
- Mulberry brass disc - This can be confusing as some genuine bags have no serial number whilst others have. My effie has no serial number but my other 5 bags have a 6 digit number (small feint numbers). My friend's Phoebe and Blenheim bags have no serial number. The fake also had a serial number but larger dark numbers. Probably best to check for other tell tale signs rather than just going on the brass disc. Also, on contemporary bags the stitched leather rectangle or oval that the disc is attached to doesn't have any letters embossed on it. There should be the tree and the word Mulberry in Gold only. My fake bag had the letters LR embossed on the bottom right corner. I've seen a lot of bags on ebay with this.
- PLEASE NOTE THAT I HAVE HAD A COUPLE OF PEOPLE QUERY MY COMMENTS ON THE EMBOSSED LETTERS. I can only go by my own experience of the genuine bags my friends and I have, the fake I bought and the fakes I see online. I personally have never seen a genuine bag with letters embossed. In fact, many of the replica bag websites have letters embossed on their fake bags. I believe some vintage bags may have embossed letters.
- The metal work is high quality on the real bag - it looks like brass. the fake bag looked more tarnished.
- The embossing on the metal work had a more smudged appearance on the fake and not all the trees were centred on the studs. The embossing of the mulberry name and tree logo on the real bag is crisp and centred.
- Brass magnetic clasps - many of the fakes have flat discs on the clasps but the genuine bags have a more curved disc (although some fakes do have curved discs - so be sure to check other aspects of the bag). Photo of genuine bag.
- The fake bag I bought came with clear plastic round the buckles - the real bags I have didn't. I bought my real bags direct from the mulberry web page or direct from a Mulberry shop - none of them came with plastic or paper wrapped around the handles and buckles. My poppy did however have a clear plastic protective film on the large silver disc on the front of the bag.
- The made in label has M on the reverse
- the strap is 2.4cm wide and 59.5cm long and has 22 buckle holes
- no brass feet on the base
- The made in label has XL on the reverse
- Alana bags do not have brass studs on the underside of the bag and they are not fully lined inside. The genuine alana is suede inside with a single mulberry material pocket (closing left to right). The stitching on the strap is as my picture shows, some bad fakes the stitching is straight across instead of tapering to a point.
- Alana bags come with one strap, not two.
- The holes for the buckle start about an inch from the zip - not further down the strap, there should be 10 buckle holes. The straight section of the buckle holes is 3cm wide
- There are a lot being sold on ebay as it is one of Mulberry's most popular bags. Some look very good so it can be difficult to tell the real from the fakes.
- My bag has a made in label on the inside of the bag, the brass disc has a serial number and the leather patch that the brass disc is attached to is oval shaped - although just to keep us guessing Mulberry also do bayswater bags with a regtangle tab!!
- The zipped pocket zips closes from left to right and the zipper is oval shaped with a hole in the middle (not a rectangle with no hole as I've seen on a few bags on ebay).
- The brass disc is attached to the pocket side of the bag - not on the opposite side where the width adjusting buckles are.
- Often on fake bayswater bags the key fob is too long or not the correct shape (I'll be adding measurements for all bags shortly)
- The padlock is brass but the u shaped section is silver in colour. It has a mulberry tree engraved on one side. the base is not rectangular, the short edges are straight but the long edges are slightly curved. Looking at the base with the tree side facing upwards there should be a small hole to the left of the keyhole. The bag comes with 2 brass coloured keys.
- I haven't seen any fakes of these yet - probably because they only retail at £150 any way.
- The made in label has ZA on the reverse
- No internal brass disc only a leather stitched oval with mulberry and the tree in gold.
- Zipper has a brass disc hanging from it with a serial no on the reverse.
- Again I haven't seen very many of these getting auctioned on ebay but I do know from looking at a fake bag website that fakes do exist!
- The made in label has YA on the reverse
- There is an oval shape leather tab holding the brass disc which has a serial number.
- this bag went in the sale in Dec 08 (around 50%) off so bear this in mind if bidding on a new bag on ebay.
- The made in tag is stitched into the seam of one of the side pockets - mine was made in Turkey
- Mulberry disc and serial number are stitched onto an oval leather patch on the inside zipped pocket
- The easiest way to identify these is to look at the stitching on the handles - not the easiest to describe but I'll try. the strap is attached by a brass rectangle, above where the strap is stitched on the stitching and leather tapers to a triangle - the fakes don't have this. To see what I mean, visit the mulberry web site or my bebo site (below) for fake photos.
- One thing that surprises me about this bag is that mulberry stopped making them a couple of years ago yet people still seem to have BNWT bags in colours the bags were never produced in.
- My friend's bag has no serial number.
- A tell tale ares can be the insde pocket of the bag. On a genuine bag, only the metal teeth of the zip are visible, the leather comes flush (or very near) against the zip. On a fake I looked at the material above and below the zip was clearly visible as the leather stopped short of the metal teethby quite a big margin.
- Tell tale areas of a fake roxanne are the proportions of the bag, quite often the size of the pockets are wrong fo the straps are too long or wide. Different number of buckle holes too.
- Quite often with fakes the shape of the leather (where the arm straps are attached to the bag) is wrong, thisd should be quite angular but on a lot of the fakes it is more rounded.
The variety of fake mulberry bags is increasing - as styles become popular so do the fakes. I've seen fake bags sell for hundreds of pounds.
I often find the proportions of fakes are slightly out.
A fake is all very well and good if you want the look for a fraction of the cost and you know exactly what you are buying but be realistic - is it really worth paying hundreds of pounds for?? You'd be better off saving for a real one.
My ebay bargain ended up not being such a bargain - I re-sold it on ebay but as I was honest and did not pass it off as a genuine bag I didn't recoup what I spent. In the end I was £70 down with no bag!
THE MULBERRY WEBSITE - www. mulberry. com
I can't stress enough how good the mulberry website is for doing comparisons with ebay bags. Please take the time to do this before bidding, it could save you a fortune. The site has pictures of all the bags in their current colections and often there are alternative views of the bags which show you inside etc. Unfortunately once their bags go in the sale and they stop producing them you can no longer view them on line.
Check out the Mulberry Web page for the sales - they usually have a sale on twice a year (typically January and June). You can sign up to their mailing list and you even get a sale preview before the items go on sale in the shops with an extra 10% off the sale price! Also, sometimes Mulberry do a private sale through the website - typically it will run for a couple of days - these sales aren't on in the shops only online and only viewable by those with an account!
I try to update this as often as I can, in the meantime you may want to check out my ROGUES GALERY below. I can't post pictures of current fakes, these are some from previous months.
If you found this guide useful - please vote YES at the end. This will help my guide rise up the ranks and will mean that more people will choose to read it.
Last updated December 2012
ROGUES GALERY OF FAKES BAGS
embossed letters on the tag
studs on underside of alana and you'll see the stitching on the strap is straight across and it appears to have two straps!
Dodgy dust bag
Fake Emmy - the genuine bags are not lined inside
Fake Roxanne - the magnetic clasp shown here is flat - real bags have a slightly curves clasp (as shown in one of my genuine pictures). Be careful though as some of the better fakes have the curved clasps too!
If you have a face book account I've started a group called Mulberry Hangbags - Spotting a Fake. It basically contains this guide but it allows me to post lots of photos of fakes and there is an opportunity for you to share your experiences.
thanks for you time - and good luck!