Can you help me date this Dooney & Bourke bag?

Hi Paula,

I’ve been reading your website and hoping you could help me. I purchased a vintage Dooney and while I’m confident it’s authentic, I’m hoping to try to find a date for it. It is an all-brown A6 zip top shoulder bag and in impeccable condition!! I’ve read a few articles, specifically about the zipper, that lead me to believe it’s rarer than some others of the same style.

The zipper is a small round zipper, circular with a hole in the middle, and reads “riri.” I can’t find a date of production but I found an article stating these bags are rare. Can you confirm that?

The inner tag reads A6 254983 on the underside and I was also hoping you could help me date it using the numbers.

Thank you in advance,

Brooke

3 4 5 6 7 photo1 photo2Hi Brooke,

First of all, I have never heard of a Dooney & Bourke bag with the number A6.

Nor of one with the name “Zip Top Shoulder Bag”. Dooney & Bourke names are very specific and while there are Zip-Top bags and Shoulder Satchels, I don’t know of a “Zip Top Shoulder Bag”.  If you could provide the source for your information, it would be interesting.

Your “all brown” bag has the official Dooney & Bourke color designations of

Saddle Tan with British Tan trim.

Your bag is an R719 Vintage Zipper Case. This bag first appeared in 1996 as far as I know. It had a name change to Large Zip-Top (keeping the same number) sometime between 1996-1999. Here is an example of a bag just like yours. You can click on the photo to see all details.

770-R719-ziptop-bonebt-1As far as zippers, the riri zippers are made with heavy metal teeth and tabs and the only R719 bags I have seen have all had the metal riri zipper. Similar Dooney bags, such as the Classic Zip Top, do have plastic zippers.  Can you provide the URL for the article about the rarity of the metal zippers – it might be interesting to other Dooney enthusiasts.

As far as the date of manufacture, your bag is part of the “Vintage Collection” which first appears in my Holiday 1996 catalog. It might have been released before then but not before Summer 1994. It does not appear in the Summer 1994 catalog or any catalogs prior to that date. The Summer 1994 only shows the Classic Zip Top bags with the duck seal sewn onto the bag in the conventional fashion like this. Click on this photo to see more about the Classic Zip Top.

887-R19-zipclutch-ivybt-1

If you want to find out when and where your bag was manufactured, using the registration number, you will need to contact Dooney & Bourke customer service. Depending on who you get on the phone, you may or may not find the answer to your question. When I call, I get the feeling the employees are better versed in the new bags being made in China than the vintage bags. Some don’t seem to know how to access the historic databases.

Their website is Dooney & Bourke where you will find their contact information.

Best of luck in your further research and please share anything you find.

And YES, you got a GREAT bag!!!

Paula

Paula

Maroon Dooney & Bourke bag with green label inside

Hi Paula,
I have a maroon with tan trim all weather bag but I can’t find one exactly like it on your site. One is close the R 51 Marble except mine has the green patch inside the same as you have shown but no red white & blue tag. Mine also is bigger 10″ wide x 6 1/2″ tall and 3 3/4″ deep. Also on my over & under the leather stripe down the front is not there just the leather and metal fastener. The inside looks exactly like the ones you have posted and it is maroon inside also. Any information you can give me would be helpful.
Dana
vintage d&b 002 vintage d&b 004 vintage d&b 006 vintage d&b 007 vintage d&b 014Hi Dana,
This looks like it was a very early model due to:
the green label
the double adjustable shoulder strap
the flat duck
and the unusual fastening tab on the front. It almost looks like a prototype. In the early days it seems like they tried many different shapes, closures, hardware, straps, snaps and interior pockets.
Back in the days this bag was made, there were no catalogs, or at least I have never seen any. So I can’t really tell you much about this bag except that it is a cousin to these two bags, one of which you might have already seen on our website. You can click on the photos to see more about them. They have some similar features to your bag but I’ve never seen one with the closure your bag has.
693-R50-rouge-brown-front 693-R50-rouge-brown-label eq150-front eq150-label
Maybe another reader of this blog will have more information.
Paula

History of Dooney Bourke All Weather Leather Handbags

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I am passionate about vintage Dooney & Bourke.  In this post, I’ll tell you a little bit about vintage Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather bags and in future posts, more about the various styles and characteristics – how to spot an authentic bag and a fake.

But first, a taste of history………

Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather Handbags

Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather Handbags

Dooney & Bourke started in 1975 when Peter Dooney & Frederic Bourke launched their namesake in South Norwalk, Connecticut. They started off with two notable introductory products: surcingle belts which were widely popular due to their unique, vibrant colors and stripes and classic suspenders, which experienced a surge in popularity thanks to the film “Chariots of Fire”.

In 1981 Dooney & Bourke branched out into the handbag business with the release of the Tack Case and the Equestrian Bag both made from bridle leather. Along with their original distributors such as Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, and Saks Fifth Avenue, they opened The Company Store in Norwalk, Ct, which sold among other things, Dooney & Bourke Merchandise.

In 1983, with the development of their famous All-Weather Leather, the first AWL handbag collection was released featuring the unmistakable duck logo with the russet leather trim.

All-Weather Leather (AWL) is just like the name suggests – waterproof 100% cowhide – water sheds off these bags like it does off a duck’s back. The process of producing AWL is a secret but a big part of it is shrinking the leather so that the pores are sealed.

From the Dooney & Bourke catalog:

“The Essence of All-Weather Leather
The secret lies in the tanning process. First, our hides are soaked in curing tannin oils and laid out to dry. As the leather shrinks, its pores tighten and close – this creates a natural barrier to moisture. And gives All-Weather Leather its distinctive pebble-grain texture. The result is leather that’s soft and supple to the touch, yet virtually impervious to the elements. There’s no need to pamper it with wax or silicones. A simple solution of bar soap and water is sufficient to remove most dirt and water-soluble stains.”

AWL requires very minimal care – just wiping with a damp cloth. More difficult stains may be removed with water and a mild bar soap such as Ivory or saddle soap. Caution should be used with any creams for cleaning or conditioning as the oils in the creams could soften and open the pores, thereby defeating the specialized shrinking process which makes the leather waterproof.