Friday, March 29, 2013

She Thrifts, She Scores: 3-21-2013

I had such a successful thrifting excursion last month, I thought I'd have a go at it again.  I went to the two spots that I got great finds last month:  A Goodwill and a Salvation Army further up the road.  (If you live in Miami and would like the locations, post a comment, and I will give you the address.)  I did not find a bounty, but I managed to get lucky with one really good find -- an authentic Louis Vuitton handbag.  It is a now discontinued model -- the Viva Cite GM monogram shoulder bag.

Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Viva Cite GM Shoulder Bag manufactured in 2004 

My goal for my outing that day was to find a loose white button-down shirt and/or to find a boho, long-sleeved dress.  I didn't find either of those, but I'll take my lucky find any day.  I found nothing interesting at my first stop, the Goodwill.  This lucky find was from the Salvation Army close to Coral Gables, FL (a ritzy neighborhood.)  This was the same Salvation Army I found a Christian Dior blazer on my previous outing.

I was browsing the handbag section and it just so happened that an employee was emptying a cart of handbags to put out for sale.  I immediately spotted the Louis-looking handbag he was about to hang.  As soon as he hung it, I took it to check it out.  It looked pretty authentic on quick inspection.  The label inside was real-looking, the lining of great quality, the brassware solid, and the monogram canvas of authentic quality.  (I know this because I unknowingly bought a bootleg Speedy 25 from eBay a couple of years back that I scrutinized against my sister's authentic Speedy 30.  Although I am far from a Louis Vuitton expert, I think I can discern a good copy from the real one, just because I own a very good copy.)  I continued to browse but found nothing else.

At the checkout, the cashier told me she thought it was a fake but that it was a very good fake.  She continued to tell me that they make good fakes from my country of the Philippines.  I corrected her and told her the good fakes are made in Korea, but that it was indeed sold in my country.  She charged me $24.99 which is a far cry from the $765 a similar one is selling on Bag Borrow or Steal or the original price of  $1,280 when this model was still in the market.  I don't think I've ever paid more than $15 for anything from a thriftstore, but I thought it was still a great deal.  Plus, the proceeds go towards a good cause.  To be honest, I think the lady was trying to talk me out of buying this bag because she wanted it for herself.  LOL.

I drove home very satisfied and spent the next five hours cleaning and researching this bag to authenticate it.  The bag itself has obviously been worn many times and has the golden brown patina.  The inside keyring still has the lighter leather color.  I learned how to decode the date stamp.  This video was very helpful to me:

Since I already own a copy of a Louis Vuitton, I know what to look out for to spot a fake:

1.  The hardware
2.  The leather trimmings
3.  The canvas itself
4.  The lining
5.  The date stamp

I am not going to talk about the specifics of distinguishing a fake from an original Louis Vuitton because I am not an expert at it.  Like I mentioned, it took me a good five hours researching the topic and scrutinizing my find.  I will however mention that just because it has a date stamp DOES NOT MEAN it is an original.  My fake Speedy 25 has a date stamp, and it is still a fake.  It's a good copy (I would even say indistinguishable to the untrained eye,) but it's still a fake.

Five hours later, I came to the conclusion that my find was original and authentic.  YAY, score for me !!!  Here are some pics to show off one of my best buys/finds at a thrift store:

I hope my find inspires you to do some treasure hunting yourself at your local thrift store and to support some good causes out there =D

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