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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/L.F. Miller Saratoga Chest

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Inside Label
Inside Label  

Chest
Chest  
Hello Mr. Miller,

My mother in law gave me this chest, she recalled that it was her grandmother's chest.  She wasn't sure how old it was, or it's value, but she knows that I've always liked it and gave it to me.  

I'd like to be able to give her some more information about it, how old it might be, what it's value (besides sentimental which it obviously holds for the family), and if it looks as though it has been restored in any way.  She thought it is in it's original state.  The inside is paper lined, with a couple of inset drawers.  

Thanks for your help, I look forward to sharing the "historical" information with her!

Answer
1900 Trunk Catalog
1900 Trunk Catalog  
Hello Lisa,
From what I can see in the pictures, the trunk is in original condition and has not been changed. This style was used by men and women and based on the style of the hardware and trunk, these were made from the 1890's until about 1915. Some companies called them Dress Trunks and others just called them canvas covered flat top trunks.  It looks like a canvas over wood trunk with the outer hardwood slats, but some were also made with metal covering, and a few with leather covering. It's a bonus to have the original label showing where it was from. The label is very interesting because the company was in Saratoga Springs, NY, which was a very popular resort town since the 1860's and over time the large trunks that ladies would use for trips to Saratoga Springs became known as a "Saratoga Trunk". Not because the trunk was made in Saratoga but because you needed a large trunk to take all your fashionable clothes and hats to Saratoga Springs. But this company was actually in Saratoga Springs, so they could say they had "Genuine Saratoga Trunks". Most towns had a trunk maker or trunk store and larger cities had up to a dozen trunk companies, so many trunks of this style were made. The nice original condition and label help the value. It also helps the value with the original inner trays which you mentioned it had. The lower tray was usually called a skirt or dress tray. I would say this trunk was most likely made between 1900 to about 1915 as I don't have any specific history of the L.F.Miller company yet, but I will see if I can find any. There is very little information available on many trunk companies.  I'm attaching a page from a 1900 trunk company catalog which shows a very similar trunk with two inner trays.  You can see some of the details they gave about the trunk. The current market value of this type trunk is from
about $250 to $450, but in some areas the asking price could be higher. I expect the sentimental value would be higher.  I hope that helps.
Marvin  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Marvin D. Miller

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.

Publications
Primarily on the website www.ThisOldTrunk.com Cotton & Quail Antiques newspaper (Southeast). Antique Journal magazine.

Education/Credentials
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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