Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Another old trunk



Hello again!  We just purchased another trunk from a yard sale. It's very large, but I don't see any markings on it. It's in pretty bad shape, there's even mold growing on the inside. Can you recommend any good ways to remove the mold? If we only remove the mold and don't do any other restorations to it, what would you place the value at? If we were going to restore it, are there any pointers you can give us? Any historical information on the trunk would be wonderful too. Thanks in advance!


I'm not able to see very much detail from your pictures so I won't be able to tell you very much based on those. I can see it is nearly all wood with a rounded top and narrow slats, but I can't see any details about the hardware, latches, handles, lock, etc.  I see it has some paint spots on it, which is probably where the maker was painting some of the nails that were on the top, but under the original covering. That was fairly common to do.  The trunk was originally covered with something such as leather or canvas and you should be able to see some traces of it somewhere such as under any of the hardware or wood slats. Based on the look and shape of it, the trunk could be European or American made. I couldn't be sure without more detailed pictures. It's also very difficult to give an estimate of age or value based on just these pictures. For the mold problem, first I recommend that you open this up and set it outside in some direct sunlight to dry it out and help kill the mold. When it's very dry, you can wear a mask and then use a brush of some type to brush it out as well as you can. Then after all that I would recommend using some solution of bleach or other good disinfectant with some water to wash the inside out.  Then again let it dry out well outside.  That should take care of the problem. After the interior is dry you can sand it some and put a coat or two of wood sanding sealer on it. For restoration, this type trunk is going to look best if you carefully sand the whole trunk and then use either some good wood stain and then a good wood finish such as Formby's tung oil finish or another good wood finish on it. You may not need wood stain if the wood has good color without it, which you can tell when the wood is wet. Any metal will need to be cleaned well and possibly repainted to prevent rusting.  Again, it's very hard to give much detailed advise based on a couple pictures.  I hope that helps.  Enjoy your trunk!

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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