Yes. You might have paid $3,500 for a fake Celine bag and you don’t know it yet. The good (?) news is you might be able to resell it because the authenticators don’t know it either.
One of the most difficult Celine bags to authenticate is Celine Box, not only because of its minimalist design and construction, but also that it is a style that retains one of the highest resale values, hence, more margin allowing counterfeiters to research, develop, and invest in.
Authenticating Celine not only requires extensively trained eyes, but most importantly, an obsessive curiosity to always return to ground zero and re-search, as well as the willingness to remain humble and challenge assumptions. You know what, those with these qualifications also make the best counterfeits. The best counterfeiters are just as inquisitive and adaptive, some of them even moonlight as authenticators.
While the good Celine authentication guides out there might shield you against some of the dumb fakes looming over social media, they are far from adequate to weed out the discreetly distributed and potentially legitified super fakes on big resale sites. They are outdated. It is my goal in this article to debunk some well kept “secret visual cues” employed by majority of the “authentication experts” in the resale space, and show you their methods probably won’t work.
Many authenticators rely heavily on inspecting the construction of the hardware. They look for brushed finishing, type of screw, degree of curvature of the clasp flip, just to name a few. The best fakes, however, have been crossing the past mistakes off the checklist.
Moreover, they started to generously gold plate the hardware and made it a major selling point. Gold plating itself is not significantly more expensive and lots of luxury designers gold plated their hardware by default back in the 80s and 90s. As of now, only Hermès sticks to gold plating all its gold hardware and better Hermès counterfeits do so too.
Some more experienced authenticators find the shortcut to go straight to the buckles attached to the shoulder strap. The devil is in the details but the devils are also catching up with the details!
Authenticators are inclined to fixating on fonts but when counterfeiters started to get down to the anatomy of fonts, it’s difficult to say who will get the upper hand.
Furthermore, Celine has subtly redesigned its fonts in addition to the most recent major Hedi makeover. While some authenticators could jump to a conclusion by simply looking at the “S” or “R”, not all of them were aware that these fonts all went through phases of changes.
Last but not least, there are many theories about count of stitching or double stitching. Relying on these overly simplified methods is concerning as the authenticators lack the common knowledge of products and ability to navigate ambiguities. Celine Box bag has undergone manufacturing updates every year, and irregularities and changes can been seen at the batch level.
This is not to say it’s impossible to authenticate Celine bags. However, traditional visual inspection alone is becoming obsolete. For authenticators who do not step up their game, they have unwillingly become the accomplice of the counterfeiters.
My advice is to stay away from pristine condition bags from resale sites. It’s not worth the risk to save just a few hundred dollars for a best in class fake.