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

Paula, Is this a real or fake Dooney & Bourke?

Message: Hi Paula, I love your website and blog. I was recently at a consignment shop and purchased this advertised Dooney and Bourke, AWL blue and tan XL travel bag. The zipper pull is metal, has a Dooney and Bourke makers mark on it…. There is no tag on the inside, and the DB mark is not on the oval tan label on the front of the bag. Is this an early DB? The bag also had the lock with it to secure the zipper locked during travel. It is in a Dooney and Bourke box and it has the Old Norwalk address……and it says the lock was made in China…………the pieces on the bag are brass,,,,,the bag was missing the strap(BOO) and there was a small mark inside the bag that shows a small spill. The bag is quite large….it measures 20″ x 14″ x 9 inches wide in the side panels.Can you please help me identify if this is a “real DB”…..
THANKS SO VERY MUCH.
Kim

DB

db lock and key_1

Hi Kim,

The dimensions you mention are similar to the Dooney Gladstone Duffel Bag R93 that sold for $775 in 1994………

Here is a previous blog about an authentic Gladstone Duffel.

I will point out some concerns I have about your bag.

I have never seen a Dooney oval with out the duck.

no duckThe stitching on the handle looks rough.

odd stitching

The stitching overall is not up to Dooney quality and standards.

db2_1

However, there is the Dooney name on the zipper pull which is a positive.

db 5And the interior pocket looks correct which is often not duplicated by counterfeiters.

dbinbetter_1

So…………my opinion is that it COULD be a knock-off or authentic. If it is authentic, then it is an imperfect that was probably sold at an outlet store at a greatly reduced price. Often outlet stores remove or snip the inside tags so the bag can not be registered with Dooney & Bourke. Although it really bothers me that there is no duck seal on the bag, there are many other features about the bag that look authentic, so I’m leaning toward this having been a defective bag sold at an outlet store without registration tag.

If it were a knock off, most counterfeiters would for sure have added a leather duck seal, so it seems more like a “second” than a fake.

Questions about Dooney & Bourke Features – Authenticity

Hi Paula
I’m wanting to purchase a vintage, previously owned AWL bag/purse but am finding many anomalies and can’t seem to sort out real from imposter. I have reviewed your list of Dooney authenticity criteria but don’t see answers to the following:
Can you please tell me if Dooney ever just glued on it’s Dooney logo/seal or have they all been glued and stitched?
Can you tell me if Dooney ever did not have ‘dooney’ on it’s zipper tab or the DB on the grommets.
Have they ever used different size stitching in different places?
Have they ever NOT finished the edges of the handles and edges of leather or ever not double stitched the handles where they fold over the d-rings and attach to the grommets?
Thanks
Denise
Hi Denise,
It sounds like you are shopping on eBay or in thrift stores and are trying to find authentic Dooney & Bourke items.
Once I start answering your questions you will see why it is not always black and white – there are some hard and fast rules and there are some that have changed over the years with Dooney & Bourke. So here again are your questions with my answers.
Can you please tell me if Dooney ever just glued on it’s Dooney logo/seal or have they all been glued and stitched?
Dooney oval duck seals are always stitched and sometimes glued but never JUST glued. One trick the counterfeiters use is to put stitching on the seal and then glue the seal in place. But if you look on the inside of the bag, you won’t see the oval ring of stitching because the seal is not stitched TO the bag. The authentic bags will have an oval ring of stitching inside.
475-surrey-carrier-firbt-duck
Can you tell me if Dooney ever did not have ‘dooney’ on it’s zipper tab or the DB on the grommets.
 Yes there are many authentic Dooney & Bourke items that do not have Dooney on the zipper tabs. Some have nothing on the tabs and others, such as the Zipalong Wallets, use heavy metal RIRI zippers so the tabs say RIRI rather than Dooney.
Also there are many authentic Dooney & Bourke items that have plain rivets.
A side note here. A grommet is a metal eyelet – a reinforcing ring to protect a hole from wear – such as is used on a drawstring bag. I’ve never seen Dooney & Bourke stamped on grommets.
A taupe and British Tan Dooney & Bourke AWL Drawstring showing "grommets"
A rivet is a metal fastener that is hammered or pressed into place to hold two pieces of leather together.
rivet
It is the rivets that sometimes have Dooney & Bourke stamped on the bottom side of them……but sometimes the rivets are plain on authentic items.
Have they ever used different size stitching in different places?
Yes the stitching has varied throughout the years depending on the item. This is a difficult question to answer without seeing what you are looking at.
Have they ever NOT finished the edges of the handles and edges of leather or ever not double stitched the handles where they fold over the d-rings and attach to the grommets?
Finishing refers to the darker color on the edges of the leather.
On Dooney & Bourke’s trademark hand-stitched handles, I’ve never seen unfinished edges on a new bag – however it is a possibility that if a bag was an irregular sold in an outlet store, the edges might not have been finished. Also as a bag is used, the coloring of the finished edges disappears !
855-R128-soft-satchel-sm-taupebt-1
As far as the second part to this question, I’m having a hard time knowing what you are asking since there are no grommets there.