Characteristics of Authentic Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather (AWL) Handbags

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Characteristics of Authentic Dooney & Bourke

All Weather Leather (AWL) Handbags

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

A reader wrote:

I thought D&B AWL bags didn’t come out until the 1980’s.  I have a over/under tack bag with a green sewn in label, I also have an older style large equestrian bag, with no inside tag, old stylized tag and older style shoulder strap anchors.  What year would those be from?

Dooney & Bourke bags sold for between $200-380 in the 1980s and 1990s which invited knock offs and fakes to flood the market. But it only takes a few seconds to spot the difference in materials, workmanship and feel of the great Dooney & Bourke handbags, briefcases, totes, wallets and other items in the All Weather Collection.

To help, authentic Dooney & Bourke items have some identifying features. Note that in the early 1980’s before the AWL (All-Weather Leather) bags went into production, the Equestrian bags, for example, were made of wonderful bridle leather but it was NOT waterproof. Also those early bags, because they were not AWL bags, did not have the Duck Leather seal or the Brass Duck fob as these signify the waterproof aspects – like water shedding from a duck’s feathers. So bear that in mind as you shop for authentic bags. There are some absolutes but some anomalies along the way also. To the best of my knowledge and by researching in my vintage Dooney & Bourke catalog collection, here’s the scoop.

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

Early AWL bags (early 1980s) usually will have:
  • Original Dooney & Bourke solid brass fob with a stylized backward D and a B.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics
  • Solid brass hardware including all buckles, rivets, D-rings and latches.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics Solid  Brass Hardware
  • Very early bags (1981-1982) have no sewn in cloth tags. The first sewn-in tags (1983-1984) were fairly large green rectangles sewn flat into the bag that said: Dooney & BourkeDB (in the stylized backward D and a B) Made in USA.
  • Since 1985 or 1986, the red, white and blue tags were sewn as tabs inside the bag in conjunction with a seam. They say:Dooney & Bourke, Inc.Made in USAand they have a registration number on the back.See further notes about this tag below.

Dooney and Bourke Green tag

Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics

Handbags in the AWL collection (1983-1990s)
usually will have:
  • Oval leather duck logo glued and sewn on the front or back of the bag depending on style.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics
  • Solid brass hardware including all buckles, rivets, D-rings and latches. Rivets are usually stamped with Dooney & Bourke.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics
  • Solid brass Duck fob hanging from a leather thong. The fob says
    Dooney & Bourke
    All-Weather Leather (with a registered trademark symbol)
    Authentic duck fobs show a sharp, detailed eye, some space between the duck’s bill and his body and a textured background.
  • In the late 1990s, some collections had Solid Nickel or Nickel Plated Duck fobs.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics
  • Label of red, white and blue fabric sewn inside the purse that says “Dooney & Bourke” Made in USA” on one side…
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics
  • …and an individual registration number on the other side. Usually the serial numbers are something like this: A1 777853; They indicate the style of bag, where the bag was made and the year it was made.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristics

Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristicsAbout Registration Tags

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

Very early bags have no sewn in cloth regitration tags.
The first sewn-in tags (1983-1984) were fairly large green rectangles sewn flat into the bag that said:

Dooney & Bourke
DB
Made in USA

Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristicsAfter 1985, the tags were red, white and blue and were sewn as tabs inside the bag in conjunction with a seam. They say:

Dooney & Bourke, Inc.
Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristicsMade in USA
and they have a registration number on the back.

Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristicsSome more recent bags (1990s) have been manufactured in the US but assembled elsewhere, such as Costa Rica. Those bags have red, white and blue sewn-in tags Dooney and Bourke All-Weather Leather Handbag characteristicsthat say Dooney & Bourke Inc. but the tag does not say Made in USA. Instead there is often a (leather or cloth) tag underneath the red, white and blue tag that says where the bag was assembled such as the example above which shows a blue cloth tag that says “Assembled in Costa Rica.

In these assembled-overseas bags, there is a registration number on the back of the red, white and blue tag and the letter it stars with indicates the country where the bag was assembled.

C indicates Costa Rica
H indicates China
I indicates Italy
M indicates Mexico.

This registration tag system was used when Dooney & Bourke was producing a limited amount of collections. As the company got larger, it no longer assigned individual registration numbers to each bag.

Tags removed or snipped? Often we will see tags that are snipped or partially or completely torn out of the bags. If a tag is snipped but is mostly still there, it probably indicates that the bag was sold at an outlet store – it is likely authentic but might have been an overstock or slightly imperfect bag. If a tag is completely ripped out, leaving only a few red and white threads, I am always suspicious. Such bags might be authentic but it would be difficult to authenticate them without a registration number.

Since there are so many knock-off designer bags out there, it pays to do a little homework before you buy.

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

We only sell authentic Dooney & Bourke leather handbags. We feel Dooney & Bourke bags from the 1980s and 1990s are the best bags you can find. They are extremely high quality, made in USA, registered bags.

“We hope you enjoy looking through the bags we’ve found and
that you see one that suits you to a T.”

2 thoughts on “Characteristics of Authentic Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather (AWL) Handbags

  1. I was wondering if you could help me with authentication of a D&B briefcase I got at a thrift store. It has no tags, so I’m wondering if it was made the 80’s..I would love your assistance and will email pics when I get a reply back;)

    Thank you,

    Louise

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