Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Old embossed trunk



I inherited this black embossed trunk from my Grandpa.  He said it was his mother's.  I want to know more about it.  What type of trunk is it, age, where it came from, materials, and possible value.  The inside of the trunk looked like it had wallpaper interior at one time.  Please tell me all you can.  Thank you so much!

1911 Catalog page
1911 Catalog page  
This trunk was a very popular style of the mid 1880's to about 1915. It was called a Cross Slat trunk or sometimes a barrel top embossed metal covered trunk. The cross slat design was patented in 1880 but the embossed metal was designed and made starting about 1885 and there were eventually a few dozen patterns of the metal. These trunks were made by many American trunk companies because the parts were made by trunk hardware companies and then sold to many of trunk makers. And the parts patented in the 1870's to 1890's were used for many years, into the early 1920's. I have a variety of old trunk catalogs and nearly all of them show several models and sizes of these cross slat trunks. I am attaching a page from a 1911 Nashville trunk company catalog which is very similar to yours. This trunk was probably repainted at some time because they were not usually made all black. The embossed metal was almost always two colors and they had several color combinations.  The interiors on these trunks were usually paper covered. It was similar to wallpaper but was made for trunks. These trunks were made with lift out trys and some had lid compartments. The value of these trunks is based on condition, age, rarity, size, completeness, etc. See some of the description details from the catalog page. Since it's not a rare style, and in the unrestored condtion,the trunk would have a value in the range of $100 to about $300 in most areas.  I hope this helps.

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Marvin D. Miller


I can answer questions related to antique trunks, their age, manufacturers, styles, patents, etc, including all types of trunks such as steamer trunks, saratoga trunks, Victorian trunks, slat trunks, toy and doll trunks, stagecoach trunks, valises, hat trunks, and others.


I have over 40 years experience in trunk restoration, collecting, and research. I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc. related to antique trunks. I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.

Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.

Primarily on the website Cotton & Quail Antiques newspaper (Southeast). Antique Journal magazine.

Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia. I have conducted extensive research related to the topic of trunk manufacturers and trunk styles in the U.S. and Europe.

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Have consulted for the Pawn Stars TV show on antique trunks. I have sold antique trunks to museums in California and Florida and to customers around the world.

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