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
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.