Q&A with SacsMag: Everything Coach … Vintage to Now!

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From Nina in NYC: Courier question: what strap works for precreed couriers that are too short for crossbody?

Couriers with Berkeley Fieldbag strap (L) and Rambler strap (R)

For the standard sized courier, there are a few options. You will need the wider grommet-style strap. The straps that will work are (in order of longest-shortest) the Lula’s Legacy, Field Bag, and the Patricia’s Legacy. A Duffle Sac strap will work as well as any of the larger grommeted ones. However, I think the first 3 will be your best bet for a crossbody. You can see two of my personal couriers HERE with substituted straps.

From Shirley in Australia: What is the best way to store my Coach bag when I am not using it?

Lay Musettes and similar on their backs to maintain their flat back panel

Great question and one I’m asked often! I’ve actually consulted with the Archive on this one and they agree that the first thing to do is make sure your bags are stored in a dry place. I personally store all my bags the same way. First, I stuff them with soft plain newsprint (also helps absorb odors). I shape the bag and fill in any spots that are “squishy” with tissue paper. I then put in a desiccant pouch. I remove the straps and roll them where the seam in not on a curled area then tuck the strap and the buckle area into the bag. This is especially important on bags like Stewardesses, Couriers, etc with the leather area that sticks up for the buckle. Lastly, I place my bags in dust bags (Coach or my own made from lightweight flannel) to prevent dust from settling in the seams. I sit them upright on a shelf unless they are bags like the Musette that is prone to developing a wrinkle on the back bottom. For those, I lay them on their backs.

From Aurora in Florida: The lining of my Coach bag is grotty. What can I clean it with? Also, I want to get my teenage daughter/ niece/ grand daughter a Coach bag, what styles do you recommend? follow site

Hi Aurora! That really depends on the bag material and color. If the lining isn’t attached to the bottom of the bag, you should be able to pull it away from the bag and clean it with soap, a toothbrush, and use your kitchen sprayer to rinse it away from the bag. I’d like to see a pic of the bag though before you do it! For the second part of your question, any Coach store will be happy to help you. If you think she would prefer vintage… for smaller bags the saddlery and companion flaps are great. Medium bags…the stewardess, rambler, courier….big list there and all beautiful! For the larger bags the Duffle Sacs and musettes are good choices!
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From Cody in Oklahoma: Debi, I am wondering if you could tell me how  to verify numbers on Cashin bags? I cannot tell what numbers mean on my friends’ bags or when I see s/t online. I am not sure what this goes to eitherNo. J7D-9965

Hi Cody! First, there really isn’t a specific area to go to verify the very early Cashin bags. Secondly, that serial number is definitely not a Cashin bag. Please see my guide HERE for more information on serial numbers. The “J” bags always concern me because  they are very often used on fake bags. If you’re looking to verify authenticity on a bag, I’ll be happy to look at them for you. Online, there are several resources. I’m an authenticator for Authenticate First. There is a nominal fee if you use their service. Also, the Purse Forum has a great free resource for authentication. Either choice you use..use one. There are SO many fake/counterfeit bags out there. You never ever want to get stuck with one!

From Buster in the UK: How do you clean the brass on a coach bag?

That’s a tricky one and polished brass can make all the difference! Most of my bags are cleaned, steamed, and reconditioned. I usually choose to remove the hardware for that. There are a million different ways but here’s mine. 1) Remove the hardware (not the buckles obviously). 2) soak the hardware in a solution of 5 parts water to 1 part brass polish (I use Mr. Metal). I use a small tupperware type container for this with a lid and shake it up every so often. I keep the hardware soaking while I finish the leather part of the bag. 3) Once your ready to polish, remove the hardware and rinse well and dry thoroughly. At this point I do several things depending on the metal. If it’s clear coated, you first have to remove that coating. I use a 3 way nail buffer and buff off the coating. Next I use a Dremel tool with a titanium bristle wheel. Then I change the wheel out to a felt pad. Finally, I use polishing pads to bring out the shine. If you have a pre 90s bag without the clear coating, you just skip the nail buffer step. Good Luck!

 


From Lynne in Tennessee: I have a bag that I think is really rare. How would I get in touch with the Archives to see if they would want it?

Hi Lynne! As I work closely with Jed Winokur, the Head Archive Manager, I have a pretty good idea of the types of items that he’s looking for. The best thing for you to do is to send me the information. I’ll forward it to him and then he can get in to contact with you if it’s something he’s interested in.

From Violet in Washington: Debi please help! I have several bags with ink stains. What can I do to get the ink out?

Violet…unfortunately, ink is one of the most difficult things to remove. It really depends on a few things…type of ink (ball point, etc.), color, time that the ink has been in place, location. The absolute most difficult to impossible thing to remove is ball point pen on leather. Short of acetone and/or magic eraser then redyeing…there’s not a lot that can be done. For leaked ink there is hope! If it’s on the lining, you can pull the lining away from the bag as I described above. I use a product called Soilove but I honestly think pure  ammonia works just as well. I saturate the area and scrub it in, then rinse rinse rinse. Allow the area to dry without touching your bag.

Ink before (bottom) and after (top)

This is what I did on a vachetta Leigh HERE. If the stain is on the leather. You’re choices become a little more limited. On fabric, I spray the whole things down and wash it. On leather, I spray the area (always with soilove) and working quickly scrub it in with a very soft bristled toothbrush then rinse rinse rinse. I then soak the whole bag to prevent color fading. If the stain is on the inside….leave it alone! I’ve ruined bags by trying to get out a stain in the bottom of the bag. The ink will spread out onto the outside of your bag! If you’d like, feel free to send me pics and I’ll help you as much as I can!

From Kat in Maryland: I have a corner on my bag that has spit open. Is there anything I can do?

Vintage Coach Leather RepairHi Kat! That depends. If it’s a simple split with no loss of leather, yes! Of course I ONLY do repairs on bags that I keep or when a customer requests them. You MUST disclose any repairs, dye, etc when selling…it’s just good ethics. I use a leather cement recommended to me by a leather smith. I’ve included a picture tutorial below…good luck!

 

I hate these…when someone thinks they have a great bag…and it’s fake. A bad fake at that. The hardware is wrong, the creed says “marXings”, the serial is invalid…just bad.

From “T”:
Hi – I have a very old Coach bag. I am almost positive it is genuine. The leather is perfect – the stitching is perfect. The creed tag shows the spacings between scras, scratches, veins as many of the older bags do. But it does not say Made in the USA. The creed is No. 101-05. Hangtag says Coach Leatherware. It is navy blue with a front flap and magnetic snap. Interior is not lined. I am another seller on ebay and saw your guide. I have dealt with thousands of Coach bags but never run across this one before. But if you could feel the leather – you would know what I mean. Thanks in advance if you can help. 

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