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Dome Top Trunk

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Dome Top Trunk

Postby Manning » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:09 pm

Dome top trunk  

I received this trunk as a gift from a friend, who aquired it from the slim princess railroad line in california. She has no other information regarding it. The hardware inside stamped pat'd may 70. ANSWER: Krissy,  Based on my study of trunk parts patents, old trunk maker's catalogs, and other sources, I know that most antique trunks of the 1870's through the early 1900's have parts patented over a wide range of years. Many of them are not marked with the patent date. There were hundreds of trunk part patents and each trunk company made a wide range of trunk styles.  This trunk is a good example regarding the patents.  The inner lid support that was patented in May 1870 was widely used by many companies into the early 1900's. The style of your trunk was patented in March 1880 by Charles Taylor of Chicago and was called a Cross Slat round top trunk. The two front side latches on the trunk were patented in 1883.  The metal covering is called crystallized tin and this chemical and painting process was developed and patented in the late 1880's and used on many trunks from about 1887 to about 1915 and are shown in catalogs of several large trunk companies of that period. So, based on all this information, I would estimate the trunk is from the late 1880's until about 1900, or a little later.  It is definitely not older than about 1886. Some of the parts with patent dates can confuse many people about the true age of their trunks.  The crystallized metal is what really gives the best indication of the age of this trunk. This type trunk was a general purpose travel trunk of the time, used by men and women for traveling. I'm not sure why the railroad would own this type but it could have belonged to one of the employees or used for some other purpose.   

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------Inside lid  


First off, THANK YOU!!! ...Do you happen to have an idea as to what this piece may be worth? and if I were to get it restored does that change the value of the trunk?
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Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:31 pm

Dome Top Trunk

Postby Elkan » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:08 pm

Krissy, Generally that style trunk in good original condition would sell at auctions or flea markets in the range of about $100 to $200. In antique shops they may be priced a little higher. Since it is not a rare trunk it will normally increase the value a good bit if it is restored, to the range of $500 to $800. But that assumes it is restored well and that the historical features such as the interior tray and trim is preserved. Not all antique trunks should be restored, but the majority of trunks are not rare items which need to be preserved as is.  If this trunk were in almost perfect original condition I would recommend leaving it alone, but even then it would probably benefit from a careful cleaning and replacing missing handles, etc. if necessary. A well restored antique trunk is very attractive and can be used in many ways around a home.  They are also collectors items now and have been increasing in value.  
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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:50 pm

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