Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Steamer trunk


Steam trunk
Steam trunk  
I found this trunk and wanted to know if you knew who it was made by and
Also a little history on and the value. Thank you for your time in helping
Me with this.


This style trunk was generally called a zinc covered round top trunk and is an American made trunk. The pressed or embossed zinc covering was usually left with it's natural silvery color and not painted, as it would not rust but it would gradually oxidize some and usually become a more dull grey color over time. Some were made with sheets of zinc while some were made with zinc coated tin. The edges or sides of the trunks were often covered with painted tin or sheet iron. The wood slats were almost always made from elm or ash, both hardwoods. The zinc covering came into use in the late 1860's, but was in more common use in the 1870's to late 1880's. By the 1890's it was replaced with many styles of embossed tin which was painted or canvas covering. The front latches on your trunk were patented in 1882 and used on many trunks into the early 1900's. So your trunk was made sometime after 1882, but probably no later than about 1890. Many trunk companies made these trunks in both flat top and round top models, so it's impossible to tell which company made it unless there is a label somewhere on the trunk. This was a fairly popular style trunk and many were made, so it's not a rare style but it is a nice antique trunk.  The value depends on several factors including how complete the interior is, since these nearly always had a lift out tray, paper or cloth lining, and sometimes a nice lithograph picture or two. On average, these trunks are selling in the range of about $100 to $300 in the condition as shown but they often sell for much more if they are totally restored or in excellent, complete original condition.  


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 I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc.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 I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.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