Finding the Value of an Old Trunk?

April 2, 2021

The front of a storage trunk.Hello, I have a large vintage storage trunk and I am looking at selling it, however, I don't know what it is worth. It is in excellent condition, with one scratch at the back. It locks and I have 3 keys for it. The dimensions are: Height - 27.5", Width - 22.5", Length - 49".


The back of a storage trunk.
A storage trunk from the side.
A storage trunk from the side.
A open storage trunk.
A open storage trunk.


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April 14, 20211 found this helpful
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I see people asking up to $200 for these, but haven't seen one sell in ages.

The caveat about the asking price is two fold--most offer "free shipping" which means the seller pays shipping and that will be huge on these (so their profits will be low--maybe under $50 depending on where they ship it to) and second, these are asking prices, not SOLD prices so there is no way to gauge (in what I can locate), actual sold values by region.


I see people selling beat up ones at the flea market for $5-10, but I never see anyone walking around with one to see if that is a good selling price.

These were a staple in college dorms for years (pre plastic tubs) so not a lot of them survived so that works in your favor.

Yours looks to be in nice shape. Is it wood or particle board or something else? The wood ones I would start in the $200 range, the particle board ones, maybe start at $175. Then you can take best offer.

Like other "furniture" type sales values are regional so if you are in a colleges town in a big city, for example, these may be a dime a dozen or if you are in a rural area, they may be scarce.

Post back how your sale goes! Fun item! Thanks for sharing!


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April 17, 20211 found this helpful
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This looks like a nice extra large storage trunk but it does not appear to be a vintage Seward brand trunk.
I believe your trunk was probably made for Sears to resemble the steamer trunks that were popular at the time. If your stated measurements are correct then it is larger than any of the similar trunks listed online as most of those appear to be either 31" or 28" long compared to your 49" long.


Reasons I feel your trunk is really a 'Sears' trunk and not a Seward is based on size as one point although it is possible Seward made larger trunks at one time but after reviewing over 100 listings for Seward trunks the largest I have found is 30".
Seward appears to have placed their name on their antique/vintage trunks - usually on the handles. Your trunk has handles but no name. It also seems that Seward trunks used larger metal rivets/nail-heads than yours but it is difficult to tell from the pictures.

You can find similar trunks listed for sale online but the trunks that have sold are all very low value - even as low as $6. These sales are from 2015 - 2021.
It appears Seward produced well made trunks but were usually sold as utility/storage trunk and were never considered a high end trunk such as some other brands were. Although Seward became the largest trunk manufacturer in the world, their trunks were still usually used by what was generally called 'working class'.


This being the case, they are still considered low end value as they still appear to be seen/used as storage, footlocker, utility, footlocker trunks.
A big problem is the fact that Seward still makes the same style/type of trunk as they made from the beginning so why would someone buy an antique/vintage trunk when they can purchase a new one for less money?
New Seward trunks in this style are sold in stores like Walmart, Target and Wayfair and the price could be less then $100.
This is not the case with other antique trunks so those brands still sell for higher prices.

Sold for $6 in 2016:

This same trunk sold for 3 different prices from 2015-2019;
$10 - $20 - $50:

This trunk has been listed for sale on eBay for over 4 years. It was reported sold but was relisted: $349.


Since your trunk appears to be larger than other trunks this style that may be a selling point.
I'm not sure of the value of your trunk because shipping would cost more than the value of your trunk so the value will depend on whether this style of trunk is popular in your area. Maybe a college nearby?
You can always start at a higher price with best offer considered and free local pick-up and wait a few weeks to see if any offers are made. If no offers, you can lower the price and wait again.

Information about Seward company:
"Founded in 1946, Mercury Luggage Manufacturing Company began designing high quality luggage and bags in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1998, Mercury Luggage acquired Seward Trunk Co. of Petersburg, Virginia which was founded in 1878 and grew to be the largest domestic manufacturer of trunks and footlockers in the United States. Mercury Luggage established itself as a premier supplier of high quality luggage, bags, trunks and cases that are used by major corporations, pro and college sports teams, top retailers and all branches of the U.S. military."

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32 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

December 14, 2022

I recently aquired this trunk and would love to learn more about it. I believe it is from the 1800s. It has canvas on the exterior, and paper lined interior. It has a lithograph of a women on the inside of the top over a small drawer. The otherside has a broken piece of wood with a vibrant blue envelope type pocket with gold print on it. Also on wheels. The underside of the lock has a patent date of Oct 2 1883An old steamer trunk.


I'd love to try and find out some history on it.


An old steamer trunk.
An open steamer trunk.
The underside of a steamer trunk.
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June 22, 2022

I purchased this trunk for $90. The owner said she had bought it from an older lady a couple of years back; she said it had been in their family for a while.Value of Old Trunk?


It has leather handles on either side of it, the front, middle claps is broken but the 2 side ones still close. It's got a few booboos but still seems solid.

I want to do something crafty with it but I want to know if it's worth anything before I do that. I tried to research on my own but couldn't find much. I thought it might be an R.H. John trunk but the logo isn't the same. Wasn't sure if they ever changed their logo or if this is a weird knockoff.

A marking on the inside of a trunk.
An open trunk.
An old trunk.
An old trunk.
An old trunk.
An old trunk.
An old trunk.


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June 23, 20221 found this helpful
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It will take someone with vintage/antique trunk knowledge to place a value on your trunk, as each trunk's value is based on brand, condition, age, rarity, and popularity. Even location may have a bearing on value, as trunks can be expensive to ship.


Your trunk looks to be in good condition but the provenance provided by the seller will probably be of no use as sellers can 'say' anything but without any evidence it is unreliable.

You cannot compare different trunks listed for sale or sold to the value of your trunk, as this would be the same as trying to compare apples and oranges.

As it presently stands, the $90 you paid for your trunk would be considered the current value.
Without seeking expert opinions, this is all that can be said about the value.

Just to be on the safe side, I would suggest you try to get more information before redoing your trunk.
Here are some forum sites that may be able to help you.
You will have to join each site and present your pictures and information. It may take a few days to receive answers.
Reddit is very good but not always 'user friendly'. Ask questions if having problems sending information.

It will take a little work on your part to dig out the best information.

You can also ask for free appraisals from auction houses.
They may not provide an appraisal if it is valued at under $500, but they will inform you of this.

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June 30, 2021

Would anyone know the value of these old steamer trunks. My father worked for a moving company years ago. That is how we acquired them. They have been in family home garage for over 55 years.An old wooden steamer trunk.


Brown one is 20 in high and 32 inches wide. Black one is 24 in high and 35 inches wide.

An open wooden steamer trunk.
An old wooden steamer trunk.
An old wooden steamer trunk.
An old dark colored steamer trunk.
An open dark colored steamer trunk.
An old dark colored steamer trunk.
An old dark colored steamer trunk.
The clasp of an old steamer trunk.


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July 5, 20212 found this helpful
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A true steamer trunk is no more than about 14" high (width and length does not matter). This size requirement was one the steamship company's imposed.

The first trunk is the Antique Dome Top / Humpback Embossed Metal Trunk.
Dome-Topped trunks had noticeably domed tops and were therefore less used for travel purposes. They are also referred to as round top, camel, barrel and humpback trunks, and are frequently made of embossed tin.
The last photograph shows on the lock "Pat Jul 972" which is apparently the patent date of the lock as July 9, 1872. I think this is the lock of the first trunk. This date refers to the dating of the lock, not the trunk.
Embossed sheet metal covering for trunks was made from flat sheets of most commonly zinc, tin or sheet iron, which was run through a press to put the raised patterns into the metal.
Your chest is plated with Alligator pattern
The "Alligator" pattern sheet metal covering was patented In Feb. 1885 by William Gouldwhich. This pattern was described as "resembling in appearance crocodile's or alligator's skin or hide".
Gouldwhich also patented the "method of ornamenting" the metal with the surface "crystallized, so that the light reflected therefrom produces a mottled appearance. The outer surface is covered or coated with a suitable transparent varnish or paint having suitable and appropriate coloring matter therein. ". This "crystallized metal" finish was later produced in many colors, used both on embossed and plain sheet metal. I think your chest has Iron, Brown on Gold

So, the first trunk is Antique Dome Top / Humpback Trunk Alligator Embossed Metal circa late 1880s - early 1900's.

Small Antique Dome Top Embossed Metal Trunk (about 19 inches high x 26 inches wide x 14 inches deep) was sold for $80
1800's Antique f.j. Pelica Dome Top Steamer Trunk was sold for $200

Antique 1880s Dome Top Steamer Trunk Needs Partial Restoration (18 inch high x 25 inch width x 16 1/2 inch depth) is on sale for $150
The price of Antique Steamer Trunk / Metal Floral Design / Restored (19 1/2 inch high x 30 inch. Long x 16 1/2 inch. Wide) is $325
The price of Antique Victorian Steamer hump back Trunk Chest (23 inch height x 30 inch wide x 18 inch depth; 18 inch high x 25 inch width x 16 1/2 inch depth) is $375,
Late 1800s HUMPBACK DOME STEAMER TRUNK - Floral Tin Pattern (17 1/2 inches high x 26 inches long x 16 inches deep) is on sale for $450
Restored Pressed Tin Dome Top with Faux Alligator Skin Exterior (24 inch height x 33 inches long x 18 inches deep) was sold for $1295
So, in such a condition as in the photo, the price of your first trunk is about $200-350.

The second trunk is presumably 1900-1950. I think it's wooden like this Antique Solid Wood Trunk
The price is about $140-260.

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March 12, 2021

I have searched everywhere to find the maker, where this trunk came from, and its value. I see few trunks with wood slats going the opposite way except the camel back trunks?

A wooden chest with panels.
The inside of a wooden trunk.
The inside of a wooden chest.
The metal decoration on a wooden trunk.
The metal decorations on a wooden trunk.


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March 12, 20210 found this helpful
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This is a typical trunk of the late 1800s and early 1900s. At that time they were often covered in smooth metal, embossed or canvas. They have wood slats and metal banding. Your chest is covered in canvas, the metal brackets are stamped "Pat Mar 80" - patented in March 1880. By law items such as locks, latches, etc. had to have a patent date (if they were patented). This is very helpful in dating trunks. So, the timing is right, since the style of your trunk was in vogue around this time.
Sorry, I cannot understand what is written inside your trunk (on your photo). If it's Elm, then your trunk is made in England.

I don't know how high your trunk is. I see very often that antique trunks are called Steamer Trunk. True steamer trunk is a trunk, no more than about 14" high (width and length does not matter). This size requirement was one the steamship company's imposed.
If your trunk is no taller than 14 ", then you can name it Steamer Trunk ca. 1880. If no, then it's Flat Top Trunk ca. 1880.
I doubt you can find out more information about your trunk.

As I understand, you are selling this trunk for $ 300
The price is optimal.

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January 20, 2021

Hi everyone. I'm new to this, hope my questions are ok for this site. Basically, I'm looking to see if anybody knows the maker of this trunk? And also is it actually worth anything?

Any help would be much appreciated. I'm clueless and I'm having no look searching as I dont know where to start. Thanks in advance.

An old wooden trunk.
An open wooden trunk.
An old wooden trunk.
An old wooden trunk.
The lock on a trunk.


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January 21, 20211 found this helpful
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I can't read the lock. Does it have a maker on it? Sometimes that is the best place to start as locks have year spans, then cross refence to who made trunks during that time.

Second, look at the hinges and see if they have a mark and what kind of screws they have. Screws help date pieces.

I like this site to learn more about trunks! He is pretty outspoken, which is great!

Post back what you learn and if you have better pictures, maybe we can collectively get you more info!

I am sorry, the pictures are just too blurry for me to help with more info.

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November 16, 2020

I came across this old chest and need help determining age and value. I was going to sand and paint or stain it but my neighbor said "no don't touch it get it appraised." Here are some pictures I took of it.

I haven't done any work to it. So any help would be appreciated, thank you.

An old wooden chest.
An open wooden chest.
The side of a wooden chest.
The back of a wooden chest.
The corner of a wooden chest.
The lock on a wooden chest.
The hinge on a wooden chest.
A wheel on an old chest.
The inside of an old chest.
The inside of an old chest.
Measuring an old chest.
Measuring an old chest.
Measuring an old chest.
Measuring an old chest.


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November 18, 20200 found this helpful
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To tell you the truth on this one there is not much information about the manufacture to go on. However, I did search for older chests like this and they were very popular around the 19th century. Here is a really good article for you to read about chests.

The condition of your trunk is in very poor shape and the price you would get for selling this would not be much. When selling this online you'd need to take into consideration the shipping cost. Plus if you only sell this for pick-up only this limits the number of people who would be interested in this.

If this was mine and I wanted to display this in my home I would invest in the time to restore it, sand it down, clean it up, and stain it again. I feel this piece would really add to a living room or even a bedroom. I would not worry so much about selling this but instead using this in my home.


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November 18, 20200 found this helpful
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First - this seems to be a very nice antique/vintage steamer trunk and although it is difficult to actually tll condition from pictures most of your trunk looks to be in good condition and does not seem to be missing any hardware - which is very good. Almost no rust?
Your pictures are pretty good but you are missing a picture of the trunk fully open showing the front and the the inside lid. These should be taken at a lower angle and also at an almost full standing position. You need to be able to see the full trunk in opened position. It is very difficult to tell about the full inside lid and this may be an important piece of information.
The majority of older trunks do not have a brand name shown but some appraisers will know more about when and who made it.

I would say to not do anything to this trunk until you find out out more about it, especially what country made it - hopefully France as I believe their trunks are the most valuable - America - not so much.
You can take a look at similar trunks on eBay and Etsy so you can get an idea of what might be selling and also how sellers are presenting their pictures. You'll find the asking prices are very different but most will be 'pick up only' and that means only in your area.

This is the link to actual trunks that sold over the past few months so check out the sold prices and where they are located.

Your best option is to try and obtain information from legitimate appraisers just in case you have a valuable trunk.
You can go for some forums first as they many times have members who know a lot about these items - you'll have to join each site but post to all - just post main pictures and not all hardware unless they ask for more.

Free appraisals:

This site is probably the best but the charge is $28

Just information:

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September 28, 2020

Can you give me a ballpark of approximate value and age?

An old wooden trunk.
An old trunk with the lid open.


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September 28, 20200 found this helpful
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Judging from the outside looks of the trunk I am not sure it this is actually dirt or in very poor condition. It would be nice to see the inside of the trunk to get a better idea about this trunk and what it looks like on the inside. Just by looking at the outside of this trunk, I would say that a person would not pay more than $35-50 for this trunk. I understand it is quite large for a standard trunk but the condition of this item lowers the value you will receive when sold. If you can clean this up a bit and make it look a lot nice you should be able to ask more for the trunk.


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September 29, 20200 found this helpful
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Your pictures show a vintage trunk in very bad condition - several missing pieces, damaged wood and overall condition makes it appear that only someone who wanted something to use in a shed or garage for storage would even take a second glance.
If the inside is in the same condition as these pictures show, it may not be suitable for storage either.
I do not believe cleaning this up would help the value.

Yard sale or flea market value (my opinion) would be less than $50 and according to where you are located, it may not sell.

Hopefully, someone with more knowledge about old trunks will have a better opinion.

You can always ask someone on a trunk forum for help:

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July 6, 2022

I have a old trunk. I was wondering what time period you think it's from? And also the worth of it? Thanks for your help and time.

An old steamer trunk.

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