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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Old Stage Coach Trunk

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QUESTION: Over the weekend, I purchased at an auction at Pinnacle Peak Patio in Scottsdale, AZ this old stagecoach trunk. It appears to have leather on the sides, but not sure what the black material covering it may be. I'm thinking that the initials on the top mean that is may have been home made and not made commercially. Would love to know more about this piece. It still has the lock and key on the front.

1900 Goldsmith trunk
1900 Goldsmith trunk  
ANSWER: Carol,

This trunk is a type that was made to be very light weight and is almost always made of woven rattan or wicker, or sometimes thin wood, covered with a thick painted canvas, or sometimes called oil cloth.  They almost always had leather corners, leather straps, and a leather cover over the lock, such as yours.  These were not called stagecoach trunks when they were made, but over the years many old trunks have been called that.  The trunk is more likely from the period of 1890 to about 1910, but some were made in the 1880's and also as late as about 1920.  There were actually several companies in the Chicago area that made many types of rattan / wicker furniture and trunks and also other trunk makers that either made them or bought them wholesale and then resold them.  These were usually called basket trunks, but sometimes other names were given to them including lightweight continental trunks. The trunk was commercially made and the initials would have been those of the original owner. Trunk sellers would paint initials, names, and/or hometowns on the trunks of customers.  I'm attaching a Goldsmith trunk company catalog page from 1900 with a similar trunk.  They made a few models of these and in several sizes. If there is no label inside the trunk it would be nearly impossible to tell which company made it. Some of these were also made in European countries and they almost always had a lift out tray. A few of the trunk makers did put labels inside the trunks.  I hope that helps.

Marvin  ThisOldTrunk.com


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

QUESTION: Is this trunk worth anything? I purchased for $110 and if can sell it I would consider it.

Answer
I don't usually see them sell for more than around $150 in that condition, but they aren't easy to sell unless they are in good complete condition.  I don't deal in that type trunk because of that and don't have people asking for them.  Good luck.  

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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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