Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Antique trunk

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QUESTION: My grandmother gave me and old trunk and I cannot find any information on it. I would like to know if you could tell me how old it is and what type of trunk it is. The only information I can find on the trunk itself is that on the lock it says eagle lock co. Terryville, Conn. U.S.A and has the code 73Y4. Also on the bottom of the trunk are the numbers 34-477.

1904 Montgomery Ward Trunks
1904 Montgomery Ward T  
1920 Sears Ad
1920 Sears Ad  
ANSWER: Kayla,

When these large flat top trunk were first made they were generally called Dress Trunks in the trunk manufacturers catalogs of the 1890's to 1920's.  This style with the metal angle corner protectors along the edges was introduced in 1897 and made until about 1930 by several large trunk companies.  The 1904 Montgomery Ward trunk catalog and the 1920 Sears catalog both show trunks very similar to this. These were made with metal, canvas, or hard fiber covering. Most of the hardware was brass plated on these.  The locks were made by several lock companies including Eagle, Corbin, and Yale & Towne, but they didn't make trunks. The interior usually had one or more lift out trays, covered with either paper or fabric.  These trunks were a very popular and common trunk of the early 1900's and I expect yours was made sometime between about 1910 to the mid 1920s based on those protective slat clamps. The number on the lock is a key code in case you need to find a replacement key. These trunks are becoming more popular now as more people are using them as table tops and storage chests in their homes. You can see some more details about these trunks in the attached pages.   I hope that helps.
Marvin

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QUESTION: How or where can I find out a monetary value on this trunk?

Answer
Kayla,

I watch trunk prices at auctions, online websites, shops, flea markets, etc. all the time. While there will often be a wide range of asking prices for trunks of this type, depending largely upon where it is for sale, the actual market value on an unrestored metal covered trunk such as this is usually in the range of about $100 to $200.  Many things affect the value such as style, condition, completeness, rarity, size, age, and location.
Marvin

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Marvin D. Miller

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.

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

Education/Credentials
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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