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Owning a Piece of History: Vintage 1983 – 1984 (?) Chanel Single Flap Purse from when Karl Lagerfeld started

Introducing the newest member to my designer bag collection.

This bag cost $2980 CAD when I paid for it, but I got it for free because I used my Poshmark credits to pay for it.

So $0 out of pocket.

Guess this is my $1M net worth present to myself!

I felt really odd buying (and spending so much of my balance) on something, but this can commemorate the fact that I just realized I am actually a millionaire by 36 from my December 2019 net worth re-adjustments, and this particular bag is very special because it debuted right at the time Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel between 1983 (the year he joined) and 1985.

I know this because there is no serial code (they started doing them in 1986 in 6-digits), and there is the double-C turnlock in the front which is something he introduced when he first joined.

I am owning a piece of history, and that is what really gets me excited about these bags, as a collectible I can wear and use.

So I guess YAY for $1M net worth!

Here are some outfit shots:


It is the PERFECT size. Not too large, not too small. Fits my phone and basic essentials.

So, it has been authenticated by Real Authentication and again by Poshmark when they shipped it to me but….

The concern I always have with buying bags is — IS IT REAL?

At first, I thought I made a mistake and it was a fake for a number of reasons, but as I looked through listings and read some more, it is clearly real (aside from the fact being authenticated by two separate companies…)

The flap front is not a flap but a curve

It looked so strange to me. I have never seen that before in other Chanel flap bags.

Why? Because I had NEVER seen a flap bag with this curved shape in the front, all the other flap bags I saw, had this little .. well, flap in the front.

So I started extensively scouring sites to learn as much as possible as whether or not my Chanel is a fake.

I checked another resale site and saw they did indeed have one from the 1980s that sold, but this one had an authenticity number inside:

Mine did not have an authenticity number but that doesn’t mean much as maybe it (A) never came with one, coming from 1983-1985, or it fell off.

So that flap in the front at least, proves it was a real design/style from that time. And anyway, I think if counterfeiters were to fake bags, they wouldn’t try with an unusual flap front as people would be more suspicious – they’d try with a more common style flap front that everyone knows.

It is definitely from the 1980s after Karl Lagerfeld joined

He is the one who added that interlocking C logo, so it is definitely after he joined. Then I had to discover WHEN it was created by the time he joined in 1983.

The 24K gold plated turn lock is very authentic

All the sites tell you that before 2008, all the hardware was plated gold. In particular, the turnlock in front, is plated in gold, and DOESN’T RUB OFF the gold easily, as wears through the test of time better than anywhere else it has been plated.

They stopped doing gold-plating on Chanel bags in 2008 by the way…

This held up well to the idea that perhaps this is indeed a real Chanel, as I also see the little gold hallmark in the bottom right corner:

And the gold is impeccable. The cut of the Cs are also interlocking correctly (top right over left, bottom is left over right), and the cut of the edge of the C’s is flat, not curved.

I can see the hardware has worn off the 24K gold on the straps and is showing the metal underneath, but the front part of this, is still a deep lovely yellow.

I also know it is older than 1985 because in 1985 he moved the gold hallmark to the upper left corner.

So it has to be at least 1983 – 1984 as the hallmark is not at the top.

It has a bar across the top

Then I saw this strange bar across the top, and realized the chain strap was not through grommets, but hanging off the sides of this bar (you can see where the 24K was rubbed off a bit):

Then I went back to that listing, and saw it indeed was the same for this bag on the inside as well:

 

The stitching on the side of the diamond has TWELVE stitches

Most fakes do less than 10 because the precision needed to keep the stitches even, neat and tight, is a skill only a craftsperson could have:

I counted them:

The front of the flap’s diamonds, match up

When you look at it, you can see the lines of the diamonds more or less match up to look like a quilted diamond shape. In fakes, the positioning of the flap and the body is a little off.

The turn lock plate at the back is neat with two flathead screws

It also matches up in style with the other bag that was sold with the spacing of CHANEL and PARIS at the edge:

The back C’s are perfectly even and stitched

No weird bubbling, they look perfectly imprinted on and stitched with even spacing across the middles.

As with the other bag that was sold:


The inside logo CHANEL doesn’t have an (R)

All the vintage bags have an (R) but it wasn’t until 1985 that Karl started adding serial numbers, copyright logos and so on.

This is where my bag and the one that was sold differs and why I think mine is older (aside from the missing serial code sticker as well…).

My bag’s logo looks like this:

The bag that was sold, has an inside that looks like this with an “R”

No PARIS and now with an (R)

I did some research and found out that the (R) was only added at the same time of the serial sticker, around 1986.

So the bag that was sold, was a newer version. Mine is older than 1986 for sure.

The hanging logos look the same as do the zippers

My zipper has a big D on it embossed, and is in plastic with a hanging logo in gold.

The other bag that was sold, has the same details – you can see the D cut off at the top a little so that also helps me confirm that the bag is also authentic as they keep talking about these “LAMPO” zippers on every Chanel bag these days.

The zippers also stand up quite nicely to the side, staying horizontal rather than sagging down which is another check.

The insides of the bags look the same

My bag looks like this on the inside:

And the other does as well, with a nice, well-fitted lining that doesn’t sag or come out, it’s so perfectly stitched in:

The leather strap is also impeccably sewn

The wrinkles look like cuts or stitches/sewn marks, but they aren’t, they’re just wrinkled leather. I turned it over and inspected it, and couldn’t see a single stitch or flap sticking out in the entire length of the leather.

You can see the 24K gold plating rubbing off, but otherwise, it is in excellent condition, and very neatly and evenly woven throughout the straps, with no big leather bumps or thin, uneven pieces.

The backs also look the same

I did not take a picture of mine, but here is the back of the 1st dibs one that sold, it looks exactly like mine with no extra flap:

Conclusion? REAL AF and older than 1986 around 1983-1985.

How cool would it be if this bag was from the first year that Karl joined? OMG. 🙂

I am the most interested in that, as I love owning a piece of fashion history, and as he was such an iconic designer for Chanel, to have one of his earliest works in a classic Chanel flap is amazing. I have yet to find another one like this for sale – I wonder what the other one sold for….

I am going to get a lot of use out of this, and it has SO MUCH SPACE inside without being massive like a jumbo. It is about the size of a 12″ iPad, and if you tuck in the straps or handles, you can use it like a clutch.

It looks great, feels nice, and I will treat it very well. I may even re-gild the chain and have it cleaned up a little professionally.

I don’t ever plan on selling this. I plan on using it and loving it.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. Welcome Objects

    That bag is gorgeous. I love learning the history of a vintage piece and appreciate how much investigation you did to date this bag.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you! I am a stickler for bag history and wanting to know WHEN it was made (I want the year at least) and what went into making it. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sara K Driscoll

    What an incredible find!!! Such beautiful craftmanship! One of the many reasons I love vintage designer bags more than their recent counterparts. The quality is higher and everything isn’t covered in gaudy logos.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      This is 100% why I love buying vintage, and especially iconic bags. I’m so interested to learn more about that 1983-1985 period now but not a lot of information is out there.

      Reply
  3. Kristina

    Very cool! How did you get so much in posh credit? You mean just from your sales? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Sales and referrals! 🙂 I had to make up for it in the sales credit, I just sat on it until there was something to buy.

      Reply

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