You are here:

Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Trunks for Dummies.



I recently purchased this trunk for $50 and thought it was an awesome
little piece of history and great for a coffee table. I'd love to get some background on it.
I have no idea anything about it. the only marking is on the lock. Corbin lock company.
wood trunk. it looks like there may have been a canvas over it that was removed? but I'm not
entirely sure. the inside also looks as if paper lining was removed. any insight?

thank you!


1900 catalog
1900 catalog  
ANSWER: Courtney,
You are correct that this was a canvas covered trunk and most likely lined with paper. That was a good deal you got on this trunk. It is a style made from the 1890's to the 1920's by a number of trunk companies in the U.S. during those years. Many people remove the old canvas and lining and then sand the wood down a little, stain, and/or refinish the wood surface.  Or you can use it as is of course if you prefer the more rustic look. Original style handles are available online if you ever want to replace those. The locks were made by several lock companies, but they didn't make the trunks. Sometimes a key can be found if you find the key code stamped into the front of the lock, usually something like T3, ST2, etc.  I have a collection of old trunk keys and sell one now and then.  The look looks like a nice brass one. One company that made trunks of this type was the Goldsmith & Son trunk company of NJ.  I'm attaching a page from their 1900 catalog so you can see the details they gave about this type trunk.  Enjoy using your trunk.

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

QUESTION: thanks Marvin for your speedy and detailed answer!
if you believe I got a good deal, what would you think the trunk is actually worth?

Well of course I can't inspect the trunk all over, but usually a well made trunk with the brass lock and nice wood in unrestored condition can sell in the range of around $75 to $200 and I do see people asking more than that. Thanks for the feedback.  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.