Hermès Special Symbols: A Guide for Luxury Resellers

The Hermès handbag's special symbols are some of the most intriguing and unique features of these luxury products. These symbols are located near the "Hermès - Paris - Made in France" print and can provide important information about the handbag's origin, materials, and more.

For professional luxury resellers, having a deep understanding of these symbols can be a valuable tool in authenticating and reviewing Hermès' handbags. In this article, we will explore the meanings behind these special symbols and provide a comprehensive guide for luxury resellers to use in their work.

Whether you're dealing with a Hermès Birkin, Kelly, or Constance handbag, understanding these symbols is a critical part of the authentication process. By the end of this guide, you'll have a clear knowledge of what these symbols mean and how they can help you determine the authenticity of a Hermès handbag.

  1. Hermès special symbols
    1. Alligator Mississippiensis (☐)
    2. Crocodile Porosus (^)
    3. Crocodile Niloticus (··)
    4. Varanus Niloticus Lizard (-)
    5. Varanus Salvator Lizard (=)
    6. Horseshoe HSS Custom Handbag
    7. Shooting Star
    8. Sale (S)
  2. Craftsman’s special symbols
  3. Authentication and special symbols

Hermès special symbols

Currently, there are various stamped symbols that can be used to denote certain characteristics in a handbag, from exotic skins to custom handbags and craftsmen's personal handbags. All of these symbols are located alongside the "Hermès - Paris - Made in France" print in Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags. And although these symbols can be used as a way to authenticate a bag, some authentic vintage Hermès bags may not contain them, which means that you shouldn't rely only on the special symbols to authenticate a Hermès bag. Next, we show you the symbols and their meanings.

Alligator Mississippiensis (☐)


The Hermès bags crafted from the Alligator Mississippiensis exotic skin are marked with a special symbol representing a square (☐). The marking is created with the same process to create the print, and is usually located on the right side of the word “Paris”.

Crocodile Porosus (^)


The Crocodile Porosus skin applied to Hermès exotic handbags is labeled with a print of a caret (^) that goes exactly next to the word “Paris” on the right side of the print.

Crocodile Niloticus (··)


Hermès handbags crafted with Crocodile Niloticus skin are printed with a two dots symbol (··). The print is also located exactly next to the word “Paris” to the right of the original print with the brand’s name.


Varanus Niloticus Lizard (-)


The Varanus Niloticus Lizard handbags are marked with the print of a dash (-) next to the word “Paris” to the right of the print with the brand’s name.


Varanus Salvator Lizard (=)


Hermès handbags crafted with Varanus Salvator Lizard are marked with a print of an equal sign (=) next to the “Paris” word in the original print with the brand’s name.


Horseshoe HSS Custom Handbag


Hermès offers their most loyal customers the possibility to create a custom handbag for them, a bag that meets their preferences in color, leather, and hardware combinations, and they are also crafted in different versions, with combinations of up to three colors.

These Hermès bags are called special orders, but they are also referred to as HSS, which makes reference to the horseshoe symbol that is printed in these bags, to mark them as Hermès special orders or custom handbags. The print of the Hermès horseshoe is located to the left of the brand’s print, and is usually closer to the word “Hermès”.


Shooting Star


The Hermès handbags marked with the print of a shooting star are very rare handbags because they were created for a specific Hermès craftsman and for their personal use. They usually look different, since the words “Hermès” and “Paris” go in the same row, followed by the words “Made in France” and finally the shooting star symbol exactly below them.


Sale (S)


A mysterious "S" symbol found on some Hermès products has long piqued the curiosity of luxury resellers and enthusiasts alike. While it is believed to signify that the product was purchased at a discounted rate, the exact meaning of the symbol has never been officially confirmed by Hermès. Interestingly, the stamp is also given to Hermès employees, including those who are not craftsmen, and may feature an additional line of letters or numbers depending on the piece.

It should be noted that the “S” symbol is not printed in the same way as the “Hermès - Paris - Made in France” print, but it is stamped in leather the same way as date stamps are applied.


Craftsman’s special symbols


Hermès craftsmen are highly skilled artisans who undergo years of training to produce their high-quality products. Similar to artists, they take pride in leaving their signature on each piece. These signatures are often Omega symbols, stars, numbers, and additional letters, located next to the date code. The purpose of these symbols is to identify the craftsman responsible for creating each piece, making it easier to determine who to contact for future repair processes. 

These craftsman symbols were especially common back when the date stamps were located on the closure strap of the Birkin and Kelly handbags, but as the years went by, now that the date stamps are located inside the left upper corner of the bags, the symbols are not applied and they were replaced with letters that identify the workshop in which the craftsman worked.


Authentication and special symbols


The authenticity of the Hermès handbags is a very serious and important matter, and it is a crucial point to operate a successful business in the luxury resale market. And although authentication has become more and more difficult to achieve due to the increasing amount of perfect counterfeited bags, there are still a few aspects to take into consideration, and that not every counterfeiter can replicate.

To perform an authentication of a Hermès handbag, a physical examination must be done, in which you must check every print and stamp that can be found on the bag. The special symbols can be good methods to check if the exotic skin handbags match the symbols that were applied to them, and even if a symbol is missing on an exotic skin bag, however, it must be noted that there are some Hermès vintage handbags that don't come with a special symbol, which means you shouldn't rely only on the special symbols to authenticate a Hermès bag. The special symbols are the only key elements that can help with the physical examination of a Hermès handbag.

However, the physical inspection alone cannot completely prove that a Hermès handbag is authentic, there are other elements that must be taken into account. To see more about how to authenticate Hermès handbags, check these guides for professionals:

Do you feel confident to identify the Hermès special symbols? We are sure you do!

The special symbols on Hermès handbags provide valuable information to professional luxury resellers and collectors. By understanding the meaning of each symbol, resellers can verify the authenticity of a Hermès handbag and provide their clients with confidence in their purchase.

As with all elements of authenticity, careful examination of physical characteristics, documentation, and special symbols is necessary to ensure the legitimacy of Hermès Birkin, Kelly, and Constance bags.

With the knowledge provided in this guide, resellers can confidently navigate the intricacies of Hermès handbag authenticity and maintain the integrity of the luxury items resale market.

If you want to keep learning everything you need about Hermès handbags, browse our blog and improve your knowledge about the French brand.

Do you want to connect with potential buyers and luxury resellers? We offer you a fantastic community so that you can be up to date with the latest luxury products available in the luxury resale market.

Become a member today!