A Tale of Two Taupes – Vintage AWL Dooney & Bourke

One of the most popular All Weather Leather colors in the vintage Dooney & Bourke (Made in USA) line of handbags and wallets was Taupe.

Look how these two bags in taupe look so different with their respective trims.

If your eyes are like mine, the taupe in the bag with the Burnt Cedar trim looks very brown !

While the taupe with the British Tan trim almost looks a little brighter and rosier!

They are both the same taupe – Its a trim trick !

Vintage Belt Bag Style B700 Taupe with Burnt Cedar trim

Vintage Belt Bag
Style B700 Taupe with Burnt Cedar trim

Vintage Belt Bag Style R700 Taupe with British Tan trim

Vintage Belt Bag
Style R700 Taupe with British Tan trim



Accessory Week at Horsekeeping’s Dooney & Bourke Store

This week I gathered all those precious accessories that we used INSIDE our favorite Dooney & Bourke handbags.

Vintage All Weather Leather Dooney & Bourke accessories have a embossed label on the inside that says “Dooney & Bourke Made in USA”

embossed-dooney-mark-150wIf the Made in USA portion is missing, well that tells you it was not Made in the USA ! Whether it is an authentic Dooney & Bourke item, will depend case by case.

Here are a few examples of some authentic vintage Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather, Made in USA accessories with the item number and official name indicated.

W09 Organizer

W09 Organizer

W21 Checkbook Cover

W21 Checkbook Cover

G03 - Secretary

G03 – Secretary

WB 77 - Eyeglasses Case

WB 77 – Eyeglasses Case




Mini Week at Horsekeeping’s Dooney & Bourke Store

I rounded up all the cute small bags we had not yet listed, so dubbed this MINI WEEK at our Dooney & Bourke store.

Here are three examples of the R 134 Mini Drawstring Bag

R134 Mini Drawstring

R134 Mini Drawstring


B134 Mini Drawstring


R134 Mini Drawstring













Although the Small, Medium and large drawstring bags appear in the earliest catalog I have, 1987

Summer 1987 Dooney & Bourke catalog

Summer 1987 Dooney & Bourke catalog

It isn’t until the Fall/Winter 1994 catalog where I spotted the Mini Drawstring but it was only available in the Teton.

1994 Fall Winter Dooney & Bourke Catalog

1994 Fall Winter Dooney & Bourke Catalog

The first time I spotted the R134 Mini Drawstring was in the Fall 1997 catalog.

1997 Fall Dooney & Bourke Catalog

1997 Fall Dooney & Bourke Catalog

There it is described as available as :

R134 Tan Trim

P134 Matching Trim

B134 Burnt Cedar Trim

8″ Height

6.5″ Length (or side to side)

3.75″ Width (or depth at base)

It has an adjustable strap but the strap is affixed permanently to the bag, unlike its Small, Medium and Large cousins which have buckle-on shoulder straps.


The strap drop length is 20″

There are no pockets inside the bag.


The drawstring runs through holes that are reinforced with metal grommets.


The bag sold at retail for $98 in 1997.

If any of you fellow Dooney enthusiasts have an earlier catalog where the mini appears, please let me know. Thank you !





Vintage Dooney & Bourke F31 Large Madison Clutch

Authentic Dooney & Bourke Wallet with Equestrian Style Closure

Authentic Dooney & Bourke Wallet with Equestrian Style Closure

For years I called this wallet an Equestrian Wallet because it has the same closure as the famous Equestrian Hand bag.

Authentic Vintage Dooney & Bourke Equestrian Handbag Closure

Example of Authentic Vintage Dooney & Bourke Equestrian Handbag Closure

But I finally got my hands on a 1992 Dooney & Bourke catalog that showed the actual model name and number.

Style F 31

Large Madison Clutch

Length 7 1/4 inches

Height 4 1/2 inches

Thickness 3/4 inch

F31 Large Madison Clutch

F31 Large Madison Clutch

The interior has

– 1 slip pocket for vertical tablet or organizer
– 5 credit card slots
– 3 Bill compartments
– 5 full-length slip pockets
– checkbook holder with pen loops (and pen when new)


Interior of F31 Large Madison Clutch


Interior of Large Madison Clutch

– ID slot with clear window

ID Window

ID Window

The exterior has one full length slip pocket

Exterior Slip Pocket

Exterior Slip Pocket

It retailed for $165 in 1992.

Vintage Dooney & Bourke Made in USA

Vintage Dooney & Bourke Made in USA

There are others in the Madison collection and I’ll list those when they come in over the transom.


Dooney & Bourke Leather Colors from a vintage catalog

This is the oldest Dooney & Bourke catalog that I have. There is no date on it but it does say Volume IV on the front.


From the models inside and the pricing note on the order form, it seems like it was printed in July 1987.

These are the colors and their names from 1987 – as you read the color names, note that the second photo should be next to the first one………..so………….

In the first photo the top two are Ivy and Rouge

then in the second photo, the top two are Wheat and Olive Brown.

And so on………..

colors 1colors 2

I hope this is of interest and is helpful.


We have no connection with eBay – please help

I would like to thank very warmly the various readers of this blog and customers who visit our Horsekeeping website who have written us when they see sellers on eBay pretending to be us or mentioning an association with us.

I am asking for your help – if you see our Dooney store used or mentioned on eBay, please let us know.

We do no selling whatsoever on eBay nor do we have any connection with eBay.

Here is the type of things that has been reported to us.

Someone will copy and paste entire pages from our website to list their bags. In some cases they even use our photos !!!!  All of the material and photos on our website are copyrighted so it is illegal to do this and fraudulent of a seller to use our description and/or photos to list a bag.  Here is what it looks like on an eBay listing when someone steals from our website.

©  2014 Horsekeeping LLC    © Copyright Information
Length (left to right)
7 1/2 inches
8 inches
Width (depth at base)
2 1/2 inches


British tan
TAG: Red, white and blue
“Made in USA” sewn inside?
B2 885577
Not applicable to this style.
Yes, Duck
©  2014 Horsekeeping LLC    © Copyright Information
Drop length
Read about drop length
22 inches at longest
20 inches at shortest

©  2014 Horsekeeping LLC    © Copyright Information

– 1 slip pocket
– 1 zipper pocket
– 1snap pocket
1 back slip pocket with post and tab closure
FASTENER, Front, type
Brass keyhole latch; stamped on leather: “Dooney & Bourke USA”
Score (see chart below)
©  2014 Horsekeeping LLC    © Copyright Information
  • Pebbled All-Weather Leather®
  • 100% Brass Hardware
  • Hand fitted base
  • Original paper sticker inside behind pockets
  • Exceptionally clean inside and out
  • Red, white and blue “Dooney & Bourke Made in USA” sewn-in cloth tag with serial number on the back
  • No smoke or pet odors
  • No tears, damage, stains, missing or broken parts except as noted below.
Normal wear may include lightening or darkening of leather, light scuffing on corners, light scratches and tarnish on brass fittings.

– Less than normal wear

$185 in 1994

So if you see our characteristic table, especially with the unique light turquoise and our copyright line ©  2014 Horsekeeping LLC    © Copyright Information
  ((how bad is that – like stealing in broad daylight ??)) on an eBay listing, please contact me !! I would be very grateful.
Here is how to contact me – click Paula

Another thing people do is say something like this which was on a recent listing that was called to our attention:

“Please check out the Horsekeeping site which has become a recognized expert in Dooney and Bourke bags. This exact satchel is featured for $250.”

Thanks but the bag they were listing was so fake it reeked.

So if you see any mention of our website in association with Dooneys on eBay, please know we do not sell or have any association with eBay  – PLEASE  send me a note. I’d really appreciate it !!


This blog is a labor of love of vintage All Weather Leather Dooneys.

Much information is on our website or this blog, so enjoy your browsing !

If you are selling your Dooneys, the process is outlined here


You can always buy authentic Dooney & Bourke bags on our website.


The Porthole Clutch from the Dooney & Bourke Horseshoe Collection

If you are an avid Dooney & Bourke Collector, you have come across bags like this and, like me, might have called them Small Horseshoe bags.


Authentic Porthole Clutch from the Dooney & Bourke Horseshoe Collection


Authentic Porthole Clutch from the Dooney & Bourke Horseshoe Collection

However that is wrong. The Small Horseshoe is a different bag which I will cover in a future post.

While these bags are indeed in the Horseshoe Collection, their official name is The Porthole Clutch. Here is the page from the 1980s catalog, the only catalog I have that shows this particular bag.

catalog sketch

Porthole Clutch in Horseshoe Collection from 1980s Dooney & Bourke catalog. Note the original DB fob. This is pre-tag era.

catalog descriptionIt is kind of odd that they are named a clutch:

“A clutch handbag is a narrow, handheld bag with no strap”

Click on any of the photos below to take you to a page that shows more photos and specs.

982-porthole-rougebt-1 982-porthole-rougebt-2 982-porthole-rougebt-4

paula-best-sigThis blog is a labor of love of vintage All Weather Leather Dooneys.
Much information is on our website or this blog, so enjoy your browsing !

If you are selling your Dooneys, the process is outlined here https://www.horsekeeping.com/Dooney/Dooney-Bourke-buying.htm
You can always buy authentic Dooney & Bourke bags on our website.

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,


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.


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!!!



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.
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.

History of Dooney Bourke All Weather Leather Handbags

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

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.