I cannot said that an expert in this area especially on the older version of Coach bag but I am doing my best to do research in this area. I have compiled some information on this so that anyone will have a clue what an authentic Coach bags are. I am a member of The Bag Forum and The Purse Forum and thanks to the information from experts that I have been able to write this article and also based on my experience in handling so many pieces of Coach items.
In the 1960's Coach bags had either a metal identifier tag or a simple impression of the Coach logo, no creed no serial number. I have managed to find an example of this
COACH BONNIE CASHIN CARRY SATCHEL BRIEF BAG
COACH BONNIE CASHIN KISSLOCK LEATHER BAG
Coach introduced the creed without any serial # sometime in the late 60's/early70s. The word "leatherwear" is under the word Coach and the wording of the creed at this time was all caps "THIS IS A COACH BAG. IT IS MADE OUT OF A COMPLETELY NATURAL GLOVE TANNED COWHIDE. THE SCARS, SCRATCHES, VEINS AND WRINKLES ARE NATURAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FULL GRAIN LEATHERS". Under the creed is in all caps, "MADE IN NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A." ALL Coach bags made after the introduction of the creed and before serial #'s were introduced were made in NYC. Note that there are gaps in the creed in the lines describing the "scars, scratches, veins and wrinkles"
When Coach added serial numbers to the creed in the 1970's they were "all numbers" in the format "xxx-xxxx" as shown below. The last four digits do not correspond to the style number, each bag had a unique number.
COACH VINTAGE LEATHER BAG
COACH CASHIN ERA NY BLUE LEATHER WATERMELON BAG BRIEF
COACH BONNIE CASHIN LEATHER BRIEFCASE
(Below the serial number : COACH BAG REGISTRATION NUMBER)
It was not until the 1990's that Coach introduced the modern registration format of letters and numbers, with the last four digits being the style number (or in the case of some of the newer bags after 2000, the last five digits). These registration numbers are not unique to each bag. The wording of the creed was also changed to all caps "THIS IS A COACH BAG. IT WAS HANDCRAFTED IN (country of origin) OF COMPLETELY NATURAL GLOVE-TANNED COWHIDE. THE VARIATIONS IN THE GRAIN ARE CHARACTERISTIC OF NATURAL FULL GRAIN LEATHER." There are no longer gaps between any of the words.
COACH CAMEL BURNISHED LEATHER LEGACY HIPPIE BAG PURSE
COACH 9340 RED LEATHER HIPPIE SADDLE BAG
Here are some other examples of authentic Coach creed and serial number :
You notice that some do have some marking on it like "X", "N", "Bull eye" and "ES". The bull eye is the most common seen.
I saw this information on the Bag Forum which dated back year 2007 :
BULL EYE - Factory outlet (But I do see some store item with this mark)
FS - Final sale
ES - Employee sale
X - TJ Maxx or Marshall's
N - Nordstorm Rack
COACH SIGNATURE LEGACY STRIPE LARGE TOTE 11099
COACH BLACK VINTAGE HAMPTONS TOTE #7757
COACH LEATHER BUSINESS BRIEFCASE # 321
COACH Z ERGO LEATHER PLEATED TOTE 17199
COACH TRIBECA SHOPPER BAG #9098
COACH LEGACY STRIPE VACHETTA LEATHER BAG #10324
COACH ERGO LEATHER HOBO BAG 11612
COACH LEGACY SIGNATURE STRIPE ACCORDION WALLET 41631
COACH TRIBECA SHOPPER BAG #9098
COACH CAMEL ERGO PIECED SUEDE LARGE TOTE BAG 11310
COACH POPPY PETAL APPLIQUE ROCKER TOTE BAG 16492
I am not affiliated with Coach in anyway. I just love their products.