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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".

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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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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
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.

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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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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
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.

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www.google.com/search?q=Antique+vintage+Seward+Steamer...

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'.

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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:
www.k-bid.com/.../21

This same trunk sold for 3 different prices from 2015-2019;
$10 - $20 - $50:
www.liveauctioneers.com/.../?keyword=steward%20steamer%20trunk...

This trunk has been listed for sale on eBay for over 4 years. It was reported sold but was relisted: $349.
www.ebay.com/.../324561757076?ViewItem=&item=324561757076

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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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28 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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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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.
 

Answers


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
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.

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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 www.ebay.com/.../224375621481?hash=item343dd44769...
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.
 

Answers


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
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. www.worthpoint.com/.../screws-identify-age-furniture

I like this site to learn more about trunks! He is pretty outspoken, which is great! www.hmsantiquetrunks.com/trunk-faqs--trunk-myths.html

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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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
January 23, 20210 found this helpful
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The arrow and #103 are probably just related to the lock but occasionally you can obtain information from lock company history.
The pictures are not good enough for identification so if you approach anyone for information you should take some good pictures so the actual trunk can be seen.
Pictures should be of the full front (not from way above the trunk) side, back, corner pieces and inside.

From some appearance it looks like your trunk could have been handmade, maybe in a small shop (all hinges, locks, etc have always been available for people to buy).

Here are some trunks that I found online that appear to be somewhat similar to your trunk so you can get an idea of how people are describing their trunks.
www.ebay.com/.../392650216714?hash=item5b6bc6d50a...
www.etsy.com/.../antique-steamer-trunk-treasure-chest...

Similar trunks are still being made:
www.homedepot.com/.../308319053

You may be able to ask your question on these sites (with good pictures) and find out more.
www.hmsantiquetrunks.com/contact.html
www.thisoldtrunk.com/.../index.html
www.antiquers.com/.../


You can also get an appraisal for $28 and find out everything about the trunk.
www.thisoldtrunk.com/.../index.php?main_page=product_info...

There may be some information on this site:
www.thriftyfun.com/Finding-the-Value-of-an-Old-Trunk...

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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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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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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
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. www.malle2luxe.fr/.../

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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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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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
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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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
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:
trapperman.com/.../Antique_trunk
www.antiquers.com/.../

www.thriftyfun.com/Finding-the-Value-of-an-Old-Trunk...

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