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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Identification of two heirloom trunks


Grace\'s Large Trunk
Grace's Large Trunk  

Doll Trunk
Doll Trunk  
Mr. Miller,
I would greatly appreciate your expert opinion on my two trunks, photos attached.

One is a large travel trunk, used by  my great grandmother and the second is a doll trunk used by my great, great grandmother.

Both are in need of restoration and I would also appreciate a recommendation of a restorer(s).  Thank you!  Julianne

1900 trunk catalog page
1900 trunk catalog pag  

Your large trunk made by Henry Likly of Rochester, NY is a very good quality trunk and a style they made from the 1890's to about 1920. It has heavy duty hardware, a very good brass lock, extra metal center banding, thick hardwood slats,and canvas covering. Many trunk companies made similar trunks during that time and I'm attaching a picture of one catalog page from 1900 with a very similar trunk. These were used by men and women and they usually had between one to three trays inside. The trunk appears to be in very good condition, so you would need to decide what you would like done to it. If the canvas is in good condition all around, you may want to have that cleaned and preserved rather than removed. Many people do prefer to have the canvas removed and the wood refinished, but of course that is not a true restoration, but rather refinishing the trunk. If you decide to keep the trunk's original canvas, I suggest you do not let someone coat it with polyurethane as some do.

The doll trunk is a type made from the 1870's to the early 1900's. It's hard to find the 20" size and most are 16 or 18".  It's great that you have the original tray. As you know this trunk is covered with paper which was quite colorful and made to resemble fancy tooled leather. It has a good lock and wood slats which may be attached with brass tacks. When the paper covering is badly damaged most people decide to remove the remaining paper and refinish the wood, which is usually pine.  There is currently no source that I know of for paper covering of that style. There is some reproduced fancy trim paper which is sometimes used on these. Again, since it's your trunk you would need to decide the way you would like it preserved or refinished. If this trunk were mine I would remove the remaining paper and refinish the trunk. I would probably preserve the interior or most of it in original condition if the condition is not too bad.

I know of two very good trunk restorers in Michigan who you may want to contact or talk with. If you email me at I will be glad to give you their names and contact information. I could also provide a few pictures of similar trunks that I have refinished so that you could see how these trunks may look when refinished.  

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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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