Hermes date codes are contained in what they refer to as “blind stamps.” The blind stamp is a code indicating the date of manufacture and can be used in authenticating a bag, as many people do when considering purchasing a used or vintage designer purse.
The blind stamp is designed to blend into the bag, so sometimes it can be difficult to find. In some cases, you can find the Hermes blind stamp either on the inside of the bag, situated beneath the bag tab, or sometimes it might be underneath a strap. Where the blind stamp is located will differ according to the type of bag you own.The blind stamp will always be heat-stamped into the leather of the bag.
Hermes uses letters in alphabetical order to date the bags, often surrounded by a shape. From 1945 to 1970, no shapes were used. From 1971 to 1996, a circle shape was used. From 1997 to 2014, a square shape was used. Most recently no shape was used. If there are additional numbers or letters next to the blind stamp, these indicate the section of the atelier in which the bag maker works.
It’s entirely possible that you’ll come across some other stamps on your Hermes bag that don’t fit the above descriptions. Don’t worry — those aren’t errors or flaws. Instead, Hermes uses a range of other stamps to indicate other bag information. There are additional stamps next to this stamp that indicate the material the bag was made from. A carat indicates leather from the species crocodile prosus. Two dots indicate crocodile niloticus. A dash indicates various niloticus lizard. An equal sign indicates various salvator lizard. A square indicates alligator mississippiensis. Other potential stamps that could exist around this area include a horseshoe, which means that the purse is a custom item (this is extremely rare), or a shooting star, which means the bag was made by a particular craftsman for their own use (which is even rarer).
Use the chart below to help you decipher when your Hermes handbag was manufactured. You can find the stamp on the outer arm on Kelly or Birkin bags, or sometimes, on an interior panel as found on the Constance. Start by looking at the shape contained in the date code, and follow the column to find the manufacture date based on the letter shown inside of the shape.
*From 1971 to 1996, the first alphabet of the stamp in this period is in a circle.
*And then from 1997 to 2014, the first alphabet was changed to be in a square.
*To be noticed, 2014 stamp can be both with or without square on the first alphabet as it started to be a bare letter again from that year.
There are additional shapes Hermes uses to mark their handbags, often found next to the branded "Hermes, Paris, Made in France" hot stamp, which can seem misplaced or random to the untrained eye. Ever find yourself wondering what the horseshoe on a Birkin Bag means? Confused as to the square symbol on your Hermes Kelly Bag? Keep reading to learn how to decipher the Hermes code!
The square (☐):
This symbol is used to identify an item as being made using Alligator Mississippiensis.
The carat (^):
This pointed symbol is added to an item when Crocodile Porosus is used.
The Double Dots (..):
The shortened ellipsis symbolizes when an item is made using Crocodile Niloticus.
The Dash (-): This unassuming dash symbolizes when Varanus Niloticus Lizard is used. The Equal Sign (=): The equal sign is used to represent when Varanus Salvator Lizard has been used to create a particular item. The Horseshoe: Displayed on each custom Hermes product, a horseshoe will be stamped as a marker. The Shooting Star: Not as common, this stamp refers to a product that was created for a Hermes Craftman's personal use. The Employee Stamp: While it does vary, there will usually be a debossed S to indicate an item that has been purchased at a discounted employee rate. In some cases, there are additional numbers and/or letters included.