Hermès Blind Stamps: The Signs of Greatness

Hermès Blind Stamps

With a lineup of bags that has earned Holy Grail status in the world of accessories, Hermès is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, yet there are many small signifiers on each of its creations that people wouldn’t recognize. These are the markers that indicate the year, skin, and even the craftsperson who put your treasure together. One example? Crocodile bags are identified by two dots stamped next to the logo, alligator by a square, and lizard by a double hyphen. As a collector, I’ve come to recognize various features, but even the most dedicated aficionado can learn more through research. In this post, I’ll be sharing my findings with you, starting with the blind stamps that identify the year a bag is made…

How to Read the Hermès Blind Stamp:
The letter “A” inside of a square denotes a bag from 1997, the first year that letters were encased in squares instead of in circles. My vintage Kelly bag has a “B” stamped in a circle, and it’s from 1972. Birkin and Kelly Bags made after 2015 are stamped on the side interior gusset.

Years 1997-2015: Stamped with letters inside of squares

Years 1971-1996: Stamped with letters inside of circles

Years 1945-1970: Stamped with a letter corresponding to the year

2015 T

2014 R

2013 Q

Hermès Blind Stamps

The letter P in a square denotes the year 2012, which is when I acquired my lovely Rose Tyrien crocodile!2012 P

Hermès Blind Stamps

2011 O

2010 N

2009 M

2008 L

Hermès Blind Stamps

2007 K

2006 J

Hermès Blind Stamps

A 2005 bag with a double ring on the handle, an updated strap, and Ruthenium (gunmetal) hardware2005 I

2004 H

2003 G

2002 F

2001 E

Hermès Blind Stamp

A bag from the 2000s with a double ring and modern clasp2000 D

1999 C

1998 B

The letter “A” inside of a square from 1997, the first year that letters were encased in squares instead of circles.1997 A

1996 Z

1995 Y

1994 X

1993 W

1992 V

1991 U

Hermès Blind Stamp

Strap hardware on a 20cm Kelly from the 1990s1990 T

1989 S

1988 R

1987 Q

1986 P

Hermès Blind Stamp

An updated clasp on the strap of this mid 1980s bag but note the single ring on handle.1985 O

Hermes_CircleNBlindStamp

1984 N

1983 M

1982 L

1981 K

1980 J

Hermès Blind Stamp

Claw clasp from the 1970s – early 1980s1979 I

1978 H

1977 G

1976 F

1975 E

1974 D

1972 B

1971 A – From 1971-1996, letters were stamped inside of circles.

A bag made prior to 1970 is identified with a letter only that has no circle or square stamp around it.

1970 Z

1969 Y

1968 X

1967 W

1966 V

1965 U

1964 T

1963 S

1962 R

1961 Q

1960 P

1959 O

1958 N

1957 M

1956 L

1955 K

1954 J

1953 I

1952 H

1951 G

1950 F

1949 E

1948 D

1947 C

1946 B

1945 A

Hermès Sizing for the More Popular Bags:
Kelly bag: 15cm and 20cm are very rare and have been discontinued since the ’90s. The new Kelly Mini II 20cm was reintroduced in 2017. Custom orders are on a case-to-case basis. More common are 25cm/28cm/32cm/35cm/40cm.
Birkin bag: As with the Kelly, birkins sized 15cm and 20cm are very rare and have been discontinued since the ’90s. More common are 25cm/30cm/35cm/40cm/50cm.
Constance bag: 10cm/18cm/23cm
Evelyne bag: 18cm, 29cm, 33cm (TPM/PM/GM/TGM)

Fun Facts:
Hermès’ signature orange boxes and bags have come to be associated with the highest form of luxury, but the color was initially chosen for its inexpensive price. Post-WWII, no one wanted the hue for their bags, thinking customers would prefer other colors like black, so there was an abundance of orange dye.

The Sac à dépêches was a saddle holder. After a few changes in design, it was renamed the Kelly bag, as Grace Kelly had popularized it while using the now-beloved style to hide her growing baby bump from the paparazzi.

The HAC (Haut a Courroies) is the original iteration of what we today know as the Birkin. In my opinion, this is highly collectible. Created in 1892 as a horse feeder bag, it was updated in the ’80s and customized for Jane Birkin’s jet set needs after Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas saw her fumbling to fit her straw bag in the overhead compartment on a flight from Paris to London. They customized the Birkin to be wider and shorter than its predecessor. This year, Birkin requested her name be removed from the crocodile version of the bags due to allegations of abusive practices in obtaining the skins.

Hermès uses the most expensive alligator (American alligator mississippiensis) in the world, the skins don’t have small holes on the scales, as you see with less expensive alternatives. This is slightly more costly than crocodile skin, of which the company prefers the niloticus and porosus species (they don’t fool with Caiman croc or any lesser crocodiles).

Vintage: An Hermès 20cm Kelly with a shoulder strap, a super rare Hermès Amsterdam bag, an Hermès 20cm Kelly with top handle
Hermès Blind Stamps

A square stamp next to the logo denotes alligator skin. This is a matte malachite alligator; see how perfect its scales are without a single pinhole? It’s truly perfection. 
Hermès Blind Stamps

Rouge Vif lizard with gunmetal hardware
Hermès Blind Stamps

A double hyphen stamp signifies lizard.
Hermès Blind Stamps

A 25cm orange ostrich Birkin. Hermès ostrich quills are hand-pounded.
Hermès Blind Stamp

A 30cm Rouge H matte niloticus crocodile BirkinHermès Blind Stamp

Matte crocodile
Hermès Blind Stamps

This identifies the craftsman who made this Birkin bag.
Hermès Blind Stamps

Rose Tyrien shiny, porous crocodile. Hermès uses an agate stone to polish its crocodile and alligator skins to a shine. They don’t glaze their skins as other brands do, so your bag won’t peel or crack as easily. With use, the shine will dull, creating a nice patina.
Hermès Blind Stamps

You can order canvas straps (Bandouliere Supplement) for your Kelly bags. It’s a sportier look and can transform an exotic like my white ostrich into a casual bag. I mix and match my straps. It’s so much more fun!Hermès Blind Stamps

The 20cm orange Kelly is a Retourne with a soft and supple finish. The others are Sellier with sharp and stiff edges.Hermes_KellyBag

Hermès Blind Stamp

Dust covers from different erasHermès Blind Stamp

Constance bag (18cm Rouge Vif ostrich)

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61 Comments

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 8:42 am

      More to come! There’s so much info I didn’t want to overwhelm… xx Tina

      • Robert Donoghue
        January 26, 2020 / 7:01 am

        Hi I know this is an old article but I recently found a Hermes bag in a charity shop and wondered if it was real.

        Is there any way I could send you photos? It has an actual Hermes logo on the front of the bag which looking online none seem to have?

        • Billy
          August 15, 2020 / 4:50 pm

          I have one too.. My father in law came across it. He sells antiques and maybe he got it at an estate sell? We can share pictures if you like. I want to figure out what the list it for. Real or Faux. billywood@jetbroadband.com

    • Viv
      August 15, 2018 / 4:59 am

      I’m grateful for your blog…I was worried my new lizard jige was a fake as I’ve never seen an equal sign beside the Hermes stamps… well little did I know. Thank you for all the information!!

      • Carol Yankay
        August 27, 2018 / 1:43 pm

        My bag is marked with a square around the letter C I think and to the left of the opening a 41S. I’m not sure how to measure but I think it is 34 cm or so. Please help. Do I measure height or width?

        • August 27, 2018 / 11:15 pm

          Hi there, it’s most likely a 35cm. Size is indicated by the width of the widest part of the bag! x Tina

          • CarolYan
            September 16, 2018 / 7:04 pm

            Thank you Tina.

    • Kimberle
      July 21, 2020 / 1:46 pm

      Hi,

      I really enjoyed your thoughtful and insightful article. I have a Black Crocodile Kelly Bag with stamps that I do not understand. They are: S in a circle followed by R…then in the other side there are either 16 or L6.

      I am selling my bag and the buyer quite rightly needs to know this before purchase. Since the bag has always been in my family and rarely used but sent to Hermes to be conditioned, both to Her es, Paris and to Hermes, NYC (Mr. Claude worked on this bag until he retired).

      Any information would be GREATLY appreciated.

      Best wishes,
      Kimberle

  1. Shannon
    August 14, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    best post ever on this blog!

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 8:42 am

      Thank you ❤️ xx Tina

  2. August 14, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    Love the green and orange bag! Great choices girl.

    XO, Jessi
    mywhiteT.com

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 8:41 am

      ??? Thank you xx Tina

  3. Lysandra
    August 15, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Amazing info… Today I’m better educated on this wonderful piece of art work.

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 8:41 am

      Glad you enjoyed! xx Tina

  4. Joyce Loves Hermes
    August 16, 2015 / 8:38 am

    I’ve been a long time follower on your Instagram and most recently discovered your site. This is a brilliant post for all Hermes lovers, thank you! You’re truly an expert.

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 8:40 am

      Aww, thank you! Hope you enjoyed the article. xx Tina

    • Brooke
      August 31, 2017 / 10:41 am

      Hi I got a plum colour Hermes handbag for sale if your interested it’s got a q in a square so it’s from 2013 please email me if interested littlesaatci@outlook.com

  5. Tamara Jacobsen
    August 16, 2015 / 10:18 am

    Priceless information. I’ve recently discovered your Instagram account and now I follow your blog too on Bloglovin’. This post is one of the best blog posts ever. We can finally decipher more about this coveted item. Thank you, Tina!

    • Tina Craig
      August 16, 2015 / 7:43 pm

      You’re most welcome! I’m so thrilled everyone has taken time to not only read it but appreciate all the info. xx Tina

  6. LaurelH
    August 21, 2015 / 6:34 pm

    Tina, I’ve been fanSnob for many years and always appreciate the care and attention you give to your topics. You drill down, analyze, organize and synthesize the material presenting it in a format useful to your readers … and you make it look so easy! It’s not … your expertise and elegance in delivery are much appreciated.

  7. Suriati
    April 17, 2016 / 9:59 am

    Amazing info! Tell us more ?

  8. Drexell Frederick
    May 30, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I love this info, but I just recently came across a Kelly bag, and would like to know if it is authentic. Do any of the Kelly bags have material lining on the
    inside with Hermes Paris on it ? I can’t seem to find any stamps on it, and it has gold coverings on back and front of the straps that closes the bag, from
    other pictures I’ve seen the gold coverings are only on the front and the back of it is where the stamp should be, can you help me with this.
    Thank you !

  9. Anonymous
    July 31, 2016 / 5:45 pm

    lol. alligator is more expensive than porosus? get educated!

  10. Jane
    June 11, 2017 / 2:06 am

    Hi just bought an alligator mini Kelly II but it has no worksman stamp, is that correct?

  11. Nho
    June 28, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    Wow! Love all the info, please share more! These bags are to DIE for!!!

  12. July 7, 2017 / 6:59 am

    I’m obsessed with flap & colourful bags. That’s my favourite!!

  13. Alice
    September 25, 2017 / 11:07 am

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge and beautiful bags with us!!

  14. November 22, 2017 / 2:34 am

    Amazing Post, All bags are very beautiful and awesome.

  15. Chris
    December 4, 2017 / 2:21 am

    I acquired a clutch off white 29 ’13 8j t inside a square omega symbol is this a fake?

  16. Laura
    December 7, 2017 / 3:32 am

    Great info!
    I think I own a very old ostrich navy Kelly.
    On mine there is a box stamp first two top letters GB and bottom two letters MM on the front strap gold hard wear? What is this?

  17. Tess
    January 29, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    Is there any birkin 28 ostrich? How would you know the birkin oatrtuxj2 authentic? Cuz i measure it its less than 30cm. Tnk you

    • February 1, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      The 28cm is not called birkin, it’s an HAC! The predeccessor to the birkin. x Tina

    • February 19, 2018 / 4:24 pm

      Yes the HAC 28cm comes in ostrich, I had one in hot pink! x Tina

  18. Mira
    June 17, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    Have you ever come across a blind stamp that is sideways? As in, the letter A is in a square (so dated 1997) but it’s on its side and not the usual straight on behind the sangle/strap? To be honest I’ve only seen it straight. I’m currently looking at a vintage kelly but because of the alignment of that stamp I’m iffy about buying it. Please help. Thank you!

    • June 22, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      that’s really strange… I have not encountered that! Let me do some sleuthing… xo Tina

      • Mira
        July 1, 2018 / 10:56 pm

        Thank you Tina❤️

      • Mira
        July 29, 2019 / 4:08 am

        Hi again Tina,
        Have you found out anything about sideways stamps? 🙂

  19. September 3, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    Hi! I recently purchased an Hermes Birkin. It is a 2007 (K in a square), 25S. It passes every test of authenticity, except it came with an card of authenticity. It came with an orange duster for both lock and key and bag. Does that card really automatically rule it out as a fake? I found at a thrift store (I’ve purchased Milly and DVF there for $2- they dont care what stuff actually sells for as they are a non profit, religious organization). I am grasping at straws at this point but am hoping someone maybe had 2, a real and fake and accidentally donated the card with the real? HELP!

  20. Jan walmsley
    October 4, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    I bought a Vintage black croc Kelly at a sale of designer clothes and bags which had belonged to a well known local lady who had died. It comes with gold hardware, with Hermes-Paris and a hallmark, no Hermes Paris gold stamp. The odd thing is it has 5 feet. I don’t know much about early bags but I guess it must be a v nice fake but i’d love to be sure

  21. Fern
    February 7, 2019 / 3:30 pm

    Hello, I was given a new SAC Evelyne 16 …. Everything looks authentic…I am investigating the tab codes
    this one is MM (looks like OO next to the letters & under neath an 8 or B & C
    If you can help me understand what MM means that would be so appreciative. Thanking you for your time.

  22. Andrea Bath
    February 9, 2019 / 10:13 am

    Hi I have a jypsiere the code is 001 MM. Do you know what that means? No circles no squares?
    Thank you

  23. sabina
    June 4, 2019 / 8:55 am

    Hi,

    Thank you for your fantastic post. What do the symbol alpha next to the letter meaning?

    I World be very greateful for an quique answer.

    Thank you .
    Best regards
    Sabina

  24. Nelis
    June 13, 2019 / 3:42 pm

    Can you tell me why there is a horsefeet stamp on the first 2 bags( the red and Rose) next to the year stamp? Thanks

    • June 28, 2019 / 10:39 pm

      Hi there, horseshoe stamps denote custom orders! xo tina

  25. Alex
    August 2, 2019 / 12:07 am

    Looks like I have Hermes Kelly bag from 1948 from my 83 years grand mother but there is no : made in Italy under Hermes Paris on the front stamp. Is it common on early bags they did not print where it was made.

  26. Bridget
    September 23, 2019 / 4:47 pm

    The little holes you refer to on Crocodile skins are sensory ‘pits’. All Crocodiles, Alligators and Caimans have them. The difference is that Alligators and Caimans have them only on scales around their jaws and Crocodiles have them on scales over most of their bodies. It is one way of telling Crocodile skin from Alligator skin. Their purpose is unclear but probably to do with pressure sensing and in Crocodiles possibly for salinity detection as Crocodiles live in salt water and Alligators principally in fresh water. Generally speaking Crocodile skin is more expensive than Alligator and usually considered to be more desirable. However, there are considerable ethical issues around purchasing new items made from exotic skins and personally I would not do so.

  27. October 3, 2019 / 11:09 am

    I have a vintage Kelly 32 croc bag where the stamps says D2?

    Is there anyone that knows what it means?

  28. brandy
    December 8, 2019 / 10:47 am

    Hi,
    Great article! I have a vintage bag. It has circle Z(inside the circle) 12 O (empty circle). From your article, it was made in 1970. Is the 12 O a code for an artisan?

  29. AC
    December 29, 2019 / 6:56 am

    hello! I just acquired a vintage hermes (circle G) but found that the hermes paris wording kn the gold hardware of the strap to be put in two rows instead of one. I wonder if it is a real bag then?

  30. February 6, 2020 / 12:10 am

    Thanks for sharing the information. It becomes very imperative to buy original both for buyer and seller. Thus, realizing value for both the stakeholders.
    We are also dealing with designer handbags;satchel handbags, shoulder handbags, crossbody messenger handbags, bucket handbags and many more

  31. Annina
    April 23, 2020 / 5:57 am

    Hi!
    I’m interested in buying a second hand Hermes Kelly 32 but the seller says it has no blind stamp as there were no blind stamps before 70’s. I’ve understood that ALL bags have a stamp since the launch of this model. Could you please advice?

  32. Paula
    May 6, 2020 / 8:44 pm

    Hello, with all the information posted here you would think it would be enough to know if I have been left a authentic Hermes Clutch but alas I a still unsure. Can you please help me to find out if I have an authentic or a fake because it is a very cute bag but I cannot see one similar anywhere. This particular Clutch has the letter A in a circle and its on the round stud (the kind that is magnatised). Also on that stud and the other smaller one are numbers (very hard to read). The bag has 8 gorgeous colors with the main color Orange on the back and the front consists of Tan , Teal, Pink, Red and Yellow. Is there a way I could send you a photo please? Any information would be most appreciated. Warm regards,

  33. Maureen Kimbrough
    June 1, 2020 / 7:53 pm

    is that a Celtic cross on picture 2 and 3? what does it means?

  34. Oliver Wright
    August 9, 2020 / 4:26 pm

    nice

  35. August 17, 2020 / 4:40 am

    Very nice blog Tina . Thanks for this great blog and thank you to show the features signs. I am the leather bag manufacturers in USA, UK, Australia and in Europe so I can understand the quality and truthfulness of the products. I export the leather bags also. Visit my site for the best quality leather bags.
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  36. August 17, 2020 / 4:41 am

    Very nice blog Tina . Thanks for this great blog and thank you to show the features signs. I am the leather bag manufacturers in USA, UK, Australia and in Europe so I can understand the quality and truthfulness of the products. I export the leather bags also. Visit my site for the best quality leather bags.

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