Collectibles-General (Antiques)/antique trunk



trunk inside
trunk inside  
Hello, Mr. Miller,
I got your information from someone I know in the city we live in.  I have an antique trunk and wondering how much it might be worth.  One of the side handles is gone.  I have attached pictures.  Also, do you have any advice on how to sell it?

Thank you so much.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Greg and Karen

Greg and Karen,

Your trunk made by John T. Barnum is a style that's a little harder to find than the average flat top trunk.  The beveled corners on the top make it a little more unusual than many and also a little more valuable. (One trunk maker's catalog from 1885 called this style a flat top with octagon corners on top). This trunk is from about 1885 to 1900.  It's in good restorable condition and it helps that you have the original interior tray and the label inside. Other positive features are that it's flat top, it appears to be canvas covered, a good size, and with all the original hardware. The broken lock can be repaired so that's not really a big problem. Many people like the flat trunks such as this to use as a table top and the canvas trunks are often stripped and the wood refinished, so many people prefer those to the metal covered trunks. I estimate the current retail value of this trunk to be in the range of about $175 to $250 in most areas. Prices would typically be less at auctions, flea markets, or yard sales. The value would be higher if it were in better overall condition.  
Marvin Miller  

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 I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc.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 I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.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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