Fake hang tags, key fobs, chains, and medallions are everywhere. The fakes are obvious, and I could just post pictures alone to give you most of what you need to determine this for yourself. However, I'll give you some info on them as well.
BTW: Fake hang tags can be attached to real Coach purses. Usually if the person is selling it used and they lost the hang tag, they will buy one online not knowing they got a fake. Or sometimes they do know, but the point is..just because it has a fake hang tag doesn't necessarily mean it's a fake purse. Although, I don't find this happening very often. If there is a question about the hang tag on a used purse, and the purse looks real, just simply ask them if they bought one.
Coach uses three materials in their purse accessories; Metal, plastic, and leather:
The metal will be solid brass, plating, or nickel. Usually the metal hang tags are polished, and are brighter than the fakes. There's usually an obvious difference, even from a distance.
The Heritage (horse and carriage) key fobs and medallions etc, are being duplicated heavily. There are Legacy purses that use antiqued brass, and they have those antiqued brass medallions attached, but it's not so common that you should expect to see them a lot. The fake brass tags are also more heavy than real Coach tags, and that's usually how you can tell if not by look.
If you see a Coach purse that is loaded with accessories, it should be a red flag to you. A lot of Coach bags come with a few depending on the style. The new Poppy style for instance, has some really cute hang tags and key fobs that are attached to the purses. But, generally, a purse/bag will come with at least one, and usually no more than 3. Used purses don't necessarily come with one, so you should ask if you don't see it in the pics.
Fake metal hang tags are made with a dull brass finish, and filled in with a darker tarnish which makes it look antiqued. Coach does have antiqued brass hardware on some of their purses, like I mentioned in their Legacy purses. However, the finish is a lot different. There is one Coach Legacy line that uses a very dark brass medallion, but it doesn't look quite like tarnished brass. It's dark with a nice smooth finish. You can see a pic of what I mean in my guide hang tags 2, it's the 3rd pic down from the top. However, most occasions, Coach finished brass usually does not look very tarnished. Even the real antiqued brass items from Coach have a shine to them, because there is a layer of protection to keep them from tarnishing.
There are a couple of items, such as a whistle and faux lock fob etc, that are being sold for a very unreasonable amount on here. I would just stay away from those all together, because this business with the fakes making so many antiqued brass Heritage hang tags and key chains can be deceiving. And since most of the fakes look antiqued as it is, you may not be sure if you are getting a fake special edition accessory..if that makes any sense.
The Coach brass and nickel hardware (buckles etc,) can be shiny or just slightly brushed. It's bright though, and it doesn't have a rough look to it. Again, the brass shouldn't look coarse, too tarnished, or dull. Some older vintage purses may have a little tarnish on the brass hardware, but that is understandable because of age.
Many people will fall victim to buying fakes, and then sell them not knowing. It's quite irritating. But, the fakes are usually a lot heavier in weight and duller, so this should be a dead giveaway. Hopefully you took, or will take, my advice when I say to make sure the buyer offers a guarantee or a return. That way if you find out it's fake, you can get your money back.
Leather logo hang tags are what's normally attached to Coach purses/bags. They have leather hang tags with letters and so forth, but I will only focus on the logo tags.
These come in different sizes, colors, and textures. If the purse is a patent leather, then the hang tag should be as well. If the leather is metallic, so shall the hang tag be. Some times the leather hang tag will have the same design as the purse..for instance a floral design. But it'll be a patent leather hang tag if it does indeed have a design. And, pebbled leather hang tags, if the purse is pebbled leather ect,. The color will always match the color scheme of the purse. Even if the tag is a lighter or darker color, it'll coordinate very well. There are some leather hang tags that have the logo printed in gold or silver. If that's the case, then make sure it also matches the hardware, for example if it has gold lettering then the hardware should be brass. There should never be any major differences in the color combo. And, there will always be matching leather between the purse and its' leather tag. If the purse is mostly fabric, look at the patch. Whatever the creed patch leather is, the hang tag will match that type of leather. Make sense?
Metal and leather hang tags are commonly combined on real purses, it just depends on the style. Additionally, leather, metal, and plastic can be combined on any given purse..but it's usually the more "youthful" lines that have the plastic hang tags combined with the leather...such as the Poppy. Look at the Coach website and take a look at the new line.
The leather tag will have perfect stitching. No uneven stitches, for instance one long stitch followed by a shorter stitch. No fraying or pulled threads. No threads sticking out at the edges. The leather is usually thick, except on the vintage purses. The logo should be completely even..always.
Vintage hang tags have the stamped logo only, with the back being left raw.
The plastic hang tags are not that common, and I don't have much info on them. But, you can acquaint yourself with what they look like on their website. These are not as big of a concern though.
Here are some examples: At the bottom, there is a link to the continuation of this guide. It has more pictures for you to see vintage hang tags etc.
<Fake brass hang tag. Notice inside the logo.
<Fake leather hang tag. Stitching is off.
<Real Coach leather hang tag. Perfect stitching.
<Real Coach patent leather hang tag.
<Real Coach leather and plastic combo. These are found on the Poppy line.
<Fake antiqued brass tags. Each are dull and/or have a tarnished look.
<Fake Heritage hang tag. Carriage is pointing in the wrong direction.
<Real Coach Heritage Legacy hang tag
<Real Coach hang tags. Leather and metal combo.
<Real Coach metal hang tag.
Wanna see more pictures of hang tags? Click on Picture Guide for Coach Hang Tags part 2
Wanna see pictures of Coach Creeds? Click on Picture Guide for Coach Creeds
Or, if you'd rather go back to the initial buying guide, click Coach Buying Guide for Newbies