What Should You Look for When Buying Vintage Trunks and Chests?


Quick Answer

When purchasing a vintage trunk or chest, one should assess its condition, whether or not it has all of its original hardware and the quality of construction. The condition of a trunk or chest is a major factor when determining price. Signs of normal wear, such as scratches or scuffing, are common, but holes and dents, poorly refinished varnish, rust and replaced or missing hardware reduce the value. Brass hardware, leather edging and handles may indicate rare, custom-made pieces.

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Full Answer

The larger a vintage trunk or chest is, the more valuable it is, generally. One should ensure that the trunk or chest has all its original pieces, such as drawers, original locks and mirrors. A trunk with its components intact is 20 to 50 percent more valuable than one that is incomplete. Durability is the mark of a quality trunk, and gray metal hardware is of the highest quality. Also, one should be aware that painted trunks and chests are often less valuable, while those with ornate decorations are worth more, typically.

Credible brands to look for include Truesdale, Haskell Brothers, M. Secor, Louis Vuitton as well as Crouch and Fitzgerald. Crouch and Fitzgerald began producing trunks in 1839. These pieces, constructed of solid leather or leather-covered wood or steel, were among the highest quality at the time of production.

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