The mysterious trunk in the attic
April 7, 2014 6:03 PM   Subscribe

We bought a house four years ago from the original family that built it in 1950. The mother had passed away and the sons sold the house leaving some odds and ends they apparently didn't want to deal with. Chief amongst those is a gigantic trunk in the attic, which I finally got around to bringing down at the cost of some back pain. It's the exact same trunk as this one (made by the Faber & Son Co. out of Utica, NY) except it's black and not in quite as good shape, but still solid. Anybody out there know anything about antique trunks in terms of value and/or restoration?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Well, the page you linked gives you an idea of value in a retail setting.
posted by uncaken at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2014

Response by poster: Well, the page you linked gives you an idea of value in a retail setting.

Given that that was the only one I could find online exactly like mine, I have no idea if their price might be wildly inflated or not.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:51 PM on April 7, 2014

Best answer: There are plenty on eBay, though the cost of shipping ain't cheap, and it looks like there are people who still actively restore them for a living.

In general terms: luggage making in the US and Europe was highly regional for a long time. While some names survived from the steamer-trunk era, like Louis Vuitton and Goyard, or Samsonite and Hartmann, and their early pieces are collectible because of the makers' current brand profile, most trunks were made by Local Trunk Maker in Local City, using fairly standard designs with some custom elements, until those businesses closed or consolidated and people started driving or flying to cover long distances.

Here's a site with a long list of trunk-makers and some ads from their glory days in the first half of the 1900s. They also talk a little about value and restoration.

They are indeed solid and nice old pieces, but they are also big, heavy and more often than not end up in attics.
posted by holgate at 9:03 PM on April 7, 2014

The ones with flat tops are more in-demand, as people can use them as coffee tables or stack other stuff on top.
posted by Ostara at 11:00 PM on April 7, 2014

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