May 5, 2014
Paula… your website / blog is very helpful, and I’ve loved reading about D&B history. I purchased what I think is an early vintage Dooney & Bourke but I can’t find my style in your listings or archives. It is so cute and I’m hoping so much it is real because I’ve never had one, but always hoped to. I want to go out in public with confidence and not have people snicker that I have a fake and don’t know it. The style screams vintage cute little purse but with an over the shoulder long handle as an option. It is a wedged style from the front, with a handle on the top; it tapers out and gets about two inches wider as it goes downward to the base. The base is about 4 x 8 wide and flat with 4 feet. The purse stands completely on its own without caving in or looking like it will tip over. From the side it is shaped a little bit teepee style and also tapers out with about the same two inch difference. It is bone with medium tan contrast and seems to pass the test as far as looks and many details you say to look for, but after searching your site and several others, I do not see this exact little purse. It has a “fishing bag/tote” shape to it like some items in your inventory, but the latch is not like your similar examples… yet it is like other items in your inventory. In other words, I see characteristics that are in many of your samples, but not all together. These are the things I’m not seeing that your blog says to look for. The words “solid brass” on the metal parts, no tag inside. It says ALL-WEATHER LEATHER and has the distinctive pebble-grain texture, but does not have a soft and supple feel as described on your History page. When you unlatch the front and lift up the flap, there is lining of what appears to be suede and I’ve not seen that mentioned in your “Q&A.” The inside bottom is pebbled leather as well as the inside back “organizer” area, but the inside sides and inside front are the same suede type lining. I purchased it from an Assistance League thrift store that sells nice items. They would not try to cheat anyone; if it is not genuine, it would be for not knowing. I paid $40. It was a passion buy because it has such a cute and old-fashioned shape and style that “turns heads.” It turned mine in the thrift store, then I came home and read your blog on how to tell the difference. Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I have very good detailed photos but will only send them if you need (and according to your blog instructions).
Thank you for having a very informative website. The education you are giving the public is very appreciated.
The uncertainties or issues may be due to age and wear, but I am concerned about things like patina change to metal, soil marks on strap and inside, and the emblem detail is hard to get due to reflection and shine, but hope I have enough details for you. Sure looks like a sweet little purse but my daughter, a DB enthusiast who owns two purses, is skeptical. I’ve never owned one, and know nothing. I thought I’d consult the leading expert!
Sincerely from Marian in California
Thank you for your patience. As you can see, due to the volume of questions we receive, it takes about two months for a question to work its way to the top of the queue.
When I receive such a nice letter and good photos, it breaks my heart to inforrm you that your bag is a fake……….well………….at least you can be proud that your daughter’s skepticism was well founded.
And as far as the store not misrepresenting the bag, I’m sure that is true. I’ve found that in 90% of the cases, people just don’t know -they are not trying to be deceitful, they just don’t know how to tell one way or another.
This is a fake bag. And I would have to call it a fake hybrid because like you say, it has elements from various bags, but nothing is quite right.
Here are some of the telltale signs:
The shoulder strap is too narrow. The only two-tone strap Dooney & Bourke made was a wide, padded strap that buckled onto the bag. For example, take a look at the strap on this Small Surrey
The interior pockets should be of tan leather, not white like yours.
There are many areas of your bag that appear to be vinyl, such as the trim.
The way the various parts are riveted together is not in a Dooney & Bourke style. For example, the carrying handle is usually like this.
The reinforced corners really only appear on a few bags such as this Small Carpet Bag.
In addition, the metal feet on the bottom are not like those on a Dooney & Bourke bag. They should be brass.
Most noticeably, however, is the front latch treatment, markedly NOT Dooney & Bourke – there has not been anything like that on any bags to my knowledge and experience. Again a hybrid feature. I can’t even say what bag the counterfeiters were trying to copy.
So I am sorry to say, you have a fake bag. Tell your daughter she has good instincts !
Next time if the opportunity allows, write me before you purchase. I’d be happy to help.
This blog is a labor of love of vintage All Weather Leather Dooneys and I am always glad to help with identifying and authenticating bags free of charge. It is my way of contributing to the knowledge base out there in hopes it helps prevent fraudulent sales from occurring.
Many of the answers are already on our website or this blog, so enjoy your browsing !
If you are selling your Dooneys, the process is outlined here http://www.horsekeeping.com/Dooney/Dooney-Bourke-buying.htm
You can always buy authentic Dooney & Bourke bags on our website.