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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/1800s Steamer Trunk



I recently acquired this trunk which I'm told is from the 1800s. I'd like to know more about it such as what year it may have been made. There are no marking on it other than a sticker on the side that reads "Basel SBB" which when I look it up appears to be a train station in Switzerland. I'd love to know more about the history and how much it is worth. Thank you.

ANSWER: Hello, If you can share a couple good pictures of the trunk I can see what I can tell about it. Please include one that shows the whole trunk from the front and one of the trunk from the side (not a close up). I need to be able to see the style and hardware of the trunk.   

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

trunk front
trunk front  

trunk side
trunk side  
QUESTION: So sorry. I forgot to attach the pics.

Based on the pictures I can tell that this is a European made trunk, but since many of them looked very similar and you say there are no marking's or maker's label, it isn't possible to tell in which country it was made. Since there is very little hardware on the trunk, I can only go by the style of the lock and metal handles, which are styles made and used in Europe from the 1880's until as late as the 1920's. Many parts of those types were used for many years, even on American made trunks.  If I had to take an educated estimate of the age, I would say most likely from about 1890 to 1910. It is a bit of an unusual style with the single slat across the top, but the double locks was not that unusual for European trunks. Estimating value is also more difficult for this since there are not as many examples being sold for comparison, so it often comes down to what someone believes it is worth to them. It is an interesting piece and an antique in original condition, so I would give an estimate of the value, based on similar items I've seen at auction or in shops in the U.S., at between $200 to $350. I hope that is helpful to you.  

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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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