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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Steamer trunk history


JH gignac trunk
JH gignac trunk  
Good day Mr Miller, I bought an antique steamer trunk at a thrift store in Quebec and I'd like to get more information about it(age, value, history and so on). I did some research over the Internet and I have found that the trunk maker was a Quebecer (JH Gignac) who won a gold medal at the Quebec national exhibition in 1880 or 1887 ? and that he was living in the St-Roch Area in Quebec City. The trunk dimensions are 36 1/4 X 19 3/4 X 22 1/2.

If you have more information about this Company and the trunk itself, that will be nice if you could pass it on to me. BTW, the lock of the trunk was made by Eagle lock coy, Terryville Conn. There's an inscription on it.



Hello Christian,

That's great that you found a Canadian made trunk with the label. Many trunks are found with no label and because most of these parts were used by many trunk companies in the U.S. and in Canada, it is often impossible to tell which company actually made them. There were several large trunk hardware companies in the U.S. which made these parts and sold them to trunk makers all over north America. The hardware on your trunk was used from the late 1890's until the late 1920's.  Most of these trunks had locks made by either Eagle, Corbin, or Yale & Towne lock companies but there were also several other lock companies making this style.  There is usually a lock code stamped into the bottom piece of the lock.  This trunk was most likely originally covered with canvas or another material and it appears it has been refinished as many of these are.  I don't have more information on the trunk maker as there is usually very little information available on line. Sometimes you can find more history of the company from the business bureau or historical society of the towns where the company was located.  Many cities often had several trunk companies.  Since the label has the information about the awards from 1880 or 1887, you know the company was in business then and that the trunk was made after those dates.  But the style of hardware is usually the best indicator of the age and this type hardware, especially brass plated, was not used until about 1897. Trunks of this style were very popular and fairly common in their time, so many are still around.  The value is usually in the range of about $300 to $500 for that type without the interior tray, but higher in some areas. I hope that helps.

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.

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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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