Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Sample trunk


I was wondering the value of my trunk. I have recently sent you photos. Also if my trunk could be restored. Thank you

Poll Parrot Trunk
Poll Parrot Trunk  

1906 Trunk Catalog
1906 Trunk Catalog  

First a little history on sample trunks.  You have a sample trunk that was made for a salesman to carry his shoe samples in as he traveled from town to town in the early 1900's.  This was actually a common practice at that time and many trunk companies made large heavy duty sample trunks for companies of many types that employed traveling salesmen.  Many people think that a "sample trunk" was a miniature trunk for a trunk salesman to show to customers to sell trunks, but actually they were large, very strong trunks for carrying shoes, hardware, toys, "dry goods" of many types, wallpaper, etc., etc. Some were custom made for jewelry, watches, and other smaller items also. Companies such as shoe manufacturers, including the Poll Parrot brand shoes, bought the large sample trunks and then had their special logo and trademarks painted on the sides as a form of advertising.  Your trunk was one of those Poll Parrot shoe trunks, but the painted sides are very worn and the name and parrot logo are barely visible. There were several shoe companies of the 1890's to about 1930 that used the sample trunks. Like nearly any antique or artwork, the condition is extremely important for determining it's value. Repainting any old or antique advertising piece, including signs, posters, or even these trunks will reduce their value rather than increase it. These trunks were made of wood covered with vulcanized fiber, which is a hard heat treated, pressed fiber material, and it was used on many trunks of the early 1900's. There is really not much that can be done to "restore" a trunk of this type, other than maybe replacing broken leather handles or replacing a missing lock or other piece of hardware.  While many other types of antique trunks can be refinished or even repainted to increase their value, this type trunk is usually an exception to that. But with the artwork on the sides being very worn the trunk does not have a very high value. It may be possible to carefully clean the painted areas of the trunk to bring out the colors a little more, but that would be all that I recommend. Repainting the name and logos might make the trunk more interesting or appealing to some, but it would not increase it's value.  A trunk of this type in very good original condition could be worth in the range of about $500 to $1200 depending on the quality of the trunk, artwork, and condition. But with the advertising painting being very worn the value would probably be in the range of about $100 to $300. While you may see people ask higher prices for similar trunks, they usually do not actually sell for more than the price range I provided.  I am attaching pictures of another Poll Parrot shoe trunk that I had seen once, which is in fair condition.  Also, a picture from a trunk company catalog of a Shoe Sample Trunk from 1906. I hope this answers all your questions.    

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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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.

Past/Present Clients
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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