Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Trunk


QUESTION: Hello and thanks in advance for sharing your expertise. I was mainly wondering how old my trunk is but if could tell me anything else about it that would be great.

ANSWER: Eddie,
Did you attach the correct picture file?  I'm seeing something that is not a trunk.  You can attach two pictures here and I'll see what I can tell you.


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

QUESTION: Sorry, I got the wrong image.

Leather covered
Leather covered  

Paper Covered
Paper Covered  

This is an American made trunk from the 1860 to early 1870's period. Some of these were also made in the 1850's but usually with an earlier style lock and sometimes with solid brass studs rather than the brass capped studs on your trunk. These were made in many sizes and yours appears to be a smaller one. The most common sizes were 28 and 30 inches wide. Some were more elaborate with a very rounded, figure eight shape, and some has a nearly flat top and straighter slightly angled sides. These trunks almost always had an inside tray and a fold down divider in the lid. Some companies started calling these Jenny Lind trunks because she was given one during her tour in the United States and the name caught on. They were usually covered with either leather, oilcloth, or a pressed paper material which was called imitation leather. It looks like the covering has been removed from yours, which is what most people do when they refinish them. Most are made of pine but some are made of basswood or poplar. They had iron or sometimes brass covered banding around the trunk, attached with large brass covered studs or "buttons". Most had 4 bands and some had 5, 6, or even more bands. They had leather side handles. The interior of most of these was covered with printed paper, but more expensive ones had fabric lining. They also had leather straps across the top and buckles on the front, which I can see yours had. I'm attaching a couple pictures of other Jenny Lind style trunks which are in original condition. While this is not really a rare trunk, they are harder to find than most newer style trunks. Many trunk makers in the US made these and some have a maker's label inside and many do not.  I hope that information helps.


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.