Gucci has always been vigilant to crack down on counterfeiting and trademark infringement, but now they’re taking a new angle on brand protection.

On January 18, 2010, Gucci and Christie’s will launch “Gucci Collector: Presented by Christie’s”— the very first Gucci-certified online destination for authenticating and appraising vintage Gucci products.

A dedicated section on www.christies.com will allow owners to upload photos of their vintage items and submit an appraisal request.

A team of Christie’s experts as well as Gucci’s own in-house archivists will provide an assessment of the item, and Christie’s will appraise the value of each submission.

Owners will then have the opportunity to sell their items to Gucci, or in a future Christie’s auction, if desired.

It may also help collectors research potential acquisitions and avoid getting taken in by counterfeits.

In addition, Gucci plans to open up a museum in Florence in 2011. Both the museum and the online website will help preserve the history of the brand.