Here's a quick guide on what to look out for if you are thinking of buying a Mulberry Annie handbag and only the real thing will do. Lots of Mulberry bags listed on ebay are genuine and there are some fantastic buys to be had, but there are some fakes too. Even though the Annie was discontinued a couple of years ago there are still plenty of replicas being made. Do a search and see....
I've owned a couple of genuine Annie handbags as they are one of my favourites of all the Mulberry bags, and I've also seen a good quality fake Annie so I've got a fair idea of what the real thing should look like compared to a replica.
At first glance, some of the fakes look very good and if you don't know what to look for it can be really hard to tell the difference, so here are some features to look out for so that you can decide whether you're looking at a fake or not:
A fake Annie can have the wrong closure on the buckle. It should have a round ball, not a postman's lock closure:
(note the packaging around the handles too, Mulberry never put this on, but it's often pictured on bags on the replica sites.
Not many fakes have the wrong closure however, so another thing to look out for is the placement of the brass plate itself. This is quite easy to spot. An authentic one is placed very close to the stitching at its base, it's set about 2-3mm above the stitching like this:
THE REAL THING: nice and close to the stitching at the base and the sides
FAKE: the plate doesn't even reach the stitching either side.
it's also set too high. The makers have to set it high because a fake plate is not the same width as a real one, it's narrower. If it was set as low as a genuine plate it would look obviously small compared to the real thing. You really need to see a close up like the one above to see this because the plate can look quite close to the stitching if the picture is taken from further away.
The Annie bag is a lovely shape but fakes can sometimes be slightly square looking at the top,
and often the buckles on the pockets are set too high, giving the pockets a droopy and elongated sort of look:
Watch out though because those pockets could be adjusted should there be another hole higher on the strap.
Check the underside of the magnetic closure on the front pockets. There should be no serial numbers engraved into them. Hard to see in the picture but there are serial numbers engraved right the way around the underside of this one. This doesn't just apply to the Annie bag, none of my other bags have numbers etched on the underside of the closure.
Colours to look out for in the fakes are Vanilla, Oak, Chocolate, Black, Khaki, Ginger and recently, Red. I have never seen a fake version of the Annie in the blonde/oak and chocolate/oak combinations that were out a couple of years ago so if you see an Annie for sale in that particular combo it is almost certain to be authentic.Still check the details though, just in case.
Some other things to think about are: Is it too cheap? Not many would let a bag that costs hundreds go for £120 for example.
Where was it bought? Is there a receipt?
Look at the pictures carefully. Are they clear? Do they show the details? If they are blurred then it's very difficult to tell whether the bag is genuine or not. Ask the seller to send you more pictures of key areas of the bag mentioned here if you're not sure about the authenticity.
And another important point about pictures: Check that the bag you receive and all of the features pictured, match those on the auction page. I've seen pictures of a genuine bag taken from a seller's auction that finished a week previously and were then used in someone else's auction a few days later. The bidder who won the latter auction wouldn't have had any idea what kind of bag they were going to receive. This is why most sellers will tell you that the pictures on the auction page are pictures of the actual bag you will receive. If it doesn't state this on the auction page, ask the question just to make sure.
I also saw an Annie bag last week that looked fake to me because the plate was too small and too high, but which had a picture of an authentic serial number and a couple of other shots that just didn't seem to match the rest of the pictures. So mismatch pictures are also sometimes used to convince you that the bag is genuine. You don't see that too often though.
Zips: You should never have to fight with a Mulberry zip to get it to open. On my Annie, the interior zip glides open, and shut for that matter. Me and my Annie zip never fight! As zips go, it's top notch. On the fake Annie the interior zip wasn't good. The teeth were further apart and it would get caught a bit here and there. This shouldn't happen.
Magnetic Closures: The magnetic closures on all the Mulberry bags I've had have a very strong pull and you shouldn't have to fumble around for long until the attracting poles attract eachother! On the replica bag the magnetic fastenings were not as strong and some fumbling was inevitable, not to mention annoying. It's a small point I know but combined with some of the other features mentioned here it's worth noting.
Serial numbers are faked on lots of replica handbags, so just because there's a serial number does not mean that it's the real thing. Some Mulberry bags don't have a serial number at all but the Annie does. Here's what a fake serial number often looks like, quite bold and round:
and here's the real thing: narrow numbers which are lightly etched. Not the best picture I know but you can see quite a difference none the less and even where the numbers are etched the brass colour remains, which is how it should be. On the fake one above you can see the steel underneath probably because it's only got a very thin coating of brass or because the numbers are heavily engraved.
Another thing about a Mulberry serial number: if you run the tip of your finger across it you can't feel the numbers, it just feels smooth. It's only if you drag your nail across the digits that you can just about feel the engraving. On a fake plate the numbers are obvious to feel.
Tags: If the bag has a tag it doesn't mean it's the real thing either as these can be faked, and so can the care card.
The care card by the way....look out for spelling mistakes! There are no spelling mistakes on a Mulberry care card. A real care card is made of fairly sturdy card, a fake one is flimsy and does have spelling mistakes. I think there were two mistakes on the one that I saw. (they were on the back of the cream coloured card - the Guarantee section)
Finally, I would say that anyone who buys a genuine bag will be really pleased when they receive it, even if it's been pre-loved to death! Mulberry bags are such lovely quality. The brass fittings, leather, the interior and the zips are top quality, as is the overall finish. It should look even better in real life than it did in the photos. So if you do receive a bag that you thought was genuine in the pictures and in real life is possibly not, take it up with the seller and paypal and get your money back if necessary.