Halloween is way over but Frankensteins are still common in our world of luxury handbags.
What's a Frankenstein bag?
A Frankenstein bag is a term we have borrowed from the watch world. It refers to the scenario where lots of authentic parts come together to make a theoretically ‘authentic bag’ but as they say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!
Why are they scary?
Replicas are easy to understand - they're simply not authentic at all. And recoloured bags are not really authentic either as they have been modified.
Frankenstein bags, on the other hand, are scary because they're technically 100% authentic.
And the scariest part is - they are far more common in the resale market than one would think.
MGFT's take on Frankenstein bags
Perhaps others in the industry would be comfortable stocking these pieces or even be confident in marking this as authentic but for us, we're always cautious.
Our stance on Frankenstein bags is that we don't like them, and we don't sell them.
If we're even the slightest bit suspicious, we just don't list it in the store.
A black caviar flap case study
Recently we came across this interesting classic caviar flap marked as a 1 series medium black caviar flap which originally we had brought in for the store but upon closer inspection, it got pulled from our inventory.
It’s technically authentic but we wouldn’t list it on our shop. Can you identify why? What aspects make it a Frankenstein bag?
Here are the clues, broken down:
Clue #1: Full set? We think not.
Lucky for us, this guy was "full set" with serial AND card? Can't be wrong right? Unclear. This is apparently a 1 series caviar classic flap, as such we would expect certain 1 series characteristics specific to this combo.
Our alarm bells were already kind of ringing because we weren't confident that this combo exists and if it did, we're not convinced it would look like this.
Clue #2: Colour
One thing signature about vintage caviar flaps is that their interior colour should be black. From the photo, this definitely doesn't look black.
Clue #3: Puffs
Another aspect that really threw us off was the design/shape of the outside puffs should be flat and compact.
The look of this classic flap in caviar just screams "new" but the interior is all "vintage."
Clue #4: Flox button
A beautiful and unbroken flox button, found in very early series bags of course. All the parts here scream vintage, but the exterior screams "new". Very new in fact.
We are of the opinion that an interior of a vintage lambskin medium flap was combined with a later series caviar medium flap, such as to produce this Frankenstein bag. This is easy to do if you're a skilled artisan. You just unstitch and then stitch parts together again.
The parts, separately taken, are all authentic, but when combined, this doesn’t make sense.
Beware of the PERFECT vintage bag
When something is too perfect, our spidey sense always goes a bit tingly. Key lessons to takeaway is never to assume a bag with "serial and card" is immediately "real" and that perfection is "always better". In our opinion, imperfection is almost always better because it reveals a more fulsome picture of the bag and helps with our authenticity assessment.
It is a good reminder of how AI technology, as advanced as it is, has one key oversight. It is lacking in an assessment of totality. Lucky for us humans, we can still keep our jobs.
Hope you learned something! Of course, we have five years (going on six!) of a squeaky clean record of authentic vintage pieces, so go us!
Wishing you and your bag good health,