Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Humpback trunks


Large Trunk
Large Trunk  

Smaller Trunk
Smaller Trunk  
We recently came into possession of 2 different sizes of humpback trunks from a storage locker auction.  The larger one is embossed tin in the form of alligator skin with oak strapping.  The smaller one is embossed tin in a floral pattern with oak strapping.  The smaller chest has a partial label on the top "Farrugudo" which is a parish in Portugal.  If it helps with the history, we were told that these trunks have some connection to Queen Amelia and King Carlos who were the Portuguese King and Queen until 1908 when the king was assassinated.  The Queen fled to France in 1910 and around the early 50s some family members came to Canada.  The large trunk did contain items from the royal family.  The smaller trunk with Farruguda label contained really old Portuguese church statues and artifacts.  Any info would be appreciate re date, maker, value.  Thanks so much.

1911 embossed metal trunk
1911 embossed metal tr  

Cross Slat trunk 1914
Cross Slat trunk 1914  

Both of your trunks are types that were made primarily in the US in the early 1900's. But the smaller second trunk has more of a European look and it is possible that it was made in Portugal, especially if you have found the label from that area. There were trunk makers and trunk hardware makers from the US that exported the trunks and parts to Europe, so many American made trunks of these types ended up in Europe.  The large trunk is a style called a Cross Slat trunk. The alligator metal first came out in the late 1880's but it was used on trunks until about 1920 in the US.  There were many patterns of the embossed metal, at least two dozen, including many floral styles.  Most trunk companies made similar trunks so without a label it is nearly impossible to tell which company made them. On the large trunk, the hardware, latches, lock, etc. are all American styles and American made. The smaller trunk is a little different and the locks look more like European made locks. So I believe it was probably made in Portugal using some American made metal covering and other parts. The larger trunk is almost definitely an American made trunk.  It is very difficult to tell a precise age of these trunks but they do both fit with the date you gave of around 1908. I am attaching a couple old trunk catalog pages of 1911 and 1914 which show some similar trunks, but these styles were made from the 1890's until the late 1910's. Concerning the value, the trunks are not a rare style, but are antiques and if you have proof of the ownership and story then that may increase the value to collectors.  Generally these two trunk in that condition have a value in the range of about $150 to $300 most places, without any special history. I hope that helps some and they have a very interesting history.  

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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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