Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Antique chest/coffer

In Furniture > Trunks > Show & Tell.
Furniture67 of 359Teak Office Bar1840 - 1850 Rocking Chair seems to be all tell me
Love it
Like it

LeahGoodwinLeahGoodwin loves this.
VintagefranVintagefran loves this.
antiques-in-njantiques-in-nj loves this.
BHock45BHock45 loves this.
fhrjr2fhrjr2 loves this.
AimathenaAimathena loves this.
trunkmantrunkman loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
AmberRoseAmberRose loves this.
Moonstonelover21Moonstonelover21 loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
walksoftlywalksoftly loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
See 13 more
Add to collection

Please create an account, or Log in here

If you don't have an account, create one here.

Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

Posted 8 months ago


(129 items)

Can anyone help me to date this chest, or tell me anything about it?
Furniture isnt my strong point.
It could be Spanish as it came from my mother who lived in Spain for many years.
Its approx. 5ft long, 2ft wide, 3ft high.
Maybe the lock or handles could help to date it.
It has a solid thick plank of wood, slightly domed, for the lid and single large planks for the sides (only the front is decorated) and its Very heavy!
It has square & irregular shaped wooden pegs holding it together as well as, what look like, hand made nails holding the bottom on.
The iron dangly bit for the lock, the top of it has a cross with a line at the top and bottom of it.
Sadly its been eaten away a bit by woodworm over the years, i hope they're all dead or they'll start on the floorboards next and the thing will fall through to the kitchen below.
So far, from researching online, I'd say its an early travelling chest, because of, the slightly domed lid , handles & sparse carving.
And its old, as its mostly made up of 5 single planks, i read somewhere that that can be a sign of age. though what age i can only guess at, it could date anywhere from Medieval right up to the 19th century for all i know, it'd be nice to narrow that down a wee bit if possible.
Any help with this, or the other furniture i have listed, would be Very much appreciated.
Thank you

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Thanks for the love peoples :)
  2. trunkman trunkman, 8 months ago
    In order to help ascertain age a close up of the dove tail joints on the ends and the hand made nails would be helpful. It looks like the dove tail joints are hand crafted by the size of them, and the hardware also looks hand wrought which would place this trunk in the early to mid 1800's. Bit hard to say unless there is a close up -- but it does look rather old.
  3. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Thanks Trunkman,
    It does look old. I think the woodworm add to that effect, lol.
    I'll try and add a picture of the nails. The wooden joints and 'nails' can be seen in the edge photo, sorry they're not clearer, its being kept in quite a dark room.
    I've seen others with similar locks to this but dating anywhere from medeival to 18C, i guess it was a good design lock so used for a long time.
    I wondered if it was a bit older than 1800s simply because its made up of single large planks & i read somewhere that thats a sign of age, maybe medievals pushing it, but could it be 16-17C?
  4. trunkman trunkman, 8 months ago
    Hi Vintagefran -- the reason for the two holes is simple enough -- on the latch piece that dangles in front there should be (probably now missing on yours) a little piece that sticks out to fit in that second hole above the key hole. That second hole is where the latch secures. In terms of age, yes it could be older than my guess for sure -- that's why a closer examination of the nails and dovetails would be helpful.
  5. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Thanks Trunkman,
    I'll get some better photos ASAP.
    There are two marks on the back of the dangly bit (does it have a real name?) where something once attached, but where it dangles (as seen in the first picture) it wouldn't have fit, its too short, i guess it could have lost a bit of chain, or something, that originally would have made it longer, nice it was put back though (if thats the case). The lock plate is also damaged, like someone's tried to break into it at some point, they lost the key maybe:)
  6. trunkman trunkman, 8 months ago
    The two marks on the back of the latch indicate a former loop that went into the latch plate. Hand made nails could place this piece slightly before 1800's as a possible "as early as" date. One close up a a nail head would probably suffice -- always too bad you can only post 4 pictures on this forum.
  7. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Hi Trunkman,
    I've another idea, I'll post another item with the nails.
    Asking about handmade nail dates.
    I notice the base and lid are barely touched by wood worm, suggesting they're not as tasty, possibly a harder, less wearing type of wood?
    Also the base looks coloured, you can see underneath.
    I've managed to take two, but not great, pictures, i'll get some more when i can. ive got builers gere at the moment so everythings piled in front of it.
    Thanks for your help.
  8. BHock45 BHock45, 8 months ago
    vintagefran, you should try to get your hands on Wallace Nuttings, "Furniture Treasury," to do a comparison of some of the antique blanket chests he has in there. It is very hard to tell how old, or how original something is by photos only. Since you have it in front of you the book could help. How do the carvings look? Crude or precise?
  9. BHock45 BHock45, 8 months ago
    A close up of the joints would certainly help trunkman mentioned. I agree it is hard to tell but it looks old.
  10. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 8 months ago
    I agree with trunkman pretty much. Those are definitely hand cut dovetails. They are really crude cut but that just adds to the piece. Difficult to see much for nails, screws etc. The spade tip hinges make me think 1800's. The worm wood is beautiful. My only question is why you want to date a chest? Aren't there any single men around you could date? :) I would give this a double love if I could.
  11. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Thanks FH,
    Lol. Id love to date it. Could hide a body in it too, if the date didnt work out ;)
    My Mum thought this was old, she had two, another really carved one she gave to a friend, but she thought this (despite its wood worm) was the older of the two.
    I like its simplicity. It has such a presence in my small room.
  12. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 8 months ago
    This could very well have been used as a blanket chest or even a hope chest. The age of your date pretty much comes down to being able to identify the hardware. Even then it could span a number of years. I would rather imagine the lock would be the only marked item and you would ruin the piece trying to remove it. Then if it is a false plate it may not even be marked. I think if it were mine and it is dried out I might give it a light coat of linseed oil. Boiled linseed NOT RAW LINSEED OIL.
  13. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Thanks for the advice FH.
    I'll definitely try it.
    The top is quite polished and shiny but the sides are very dull. I wondered about doing anything to the woodworm damage, like darken or fill where its a lighter colour shows through.
    Now where would i get linseed?
  14. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Sorry, i see you said "boiled linseed oil" not boiled linseed.
    Should it go on hot?
    I'll give it a go, i agree i think it needs it.
    Its strange its not shiny.
    It looks like its made up of 2 or 3 different kinds of wood, the bottom, the middle and the top. And the bottom inside, which I've not been able to have a good look at yet, appeared a light colour, like pine, I'll add a photo of it when I can, its interesting, looks like there's a chunk been added.
    I can see some rusty lock bits inside through the key holes but can't get to them, i don't think it would turn by the look of it.
    Thanks for all your advice & help.
  15. BHock45 BHock45, 8 months ago
    vintagefran, I am doing a little research on this....can you give me the exact dimensions???
  16. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 8 months ago
    You would use boiled linseed oil. You can buy both raw and boiled linseed oil at a hardware or lumber supply. Raw linseed oil will never dry and it will leave a sticky mess. Boiled linseed oil will give the wood new life. Linseed oil is made from natural wood oils. It isn't terribly expensive. I agree that this is probably made of softwood. If the top has a shine don't oil it. Use the oil on the interior, bottom and sides. As for the fade around the worm holes, use the oil on the back or bottom first if there are holes there. Let it sit a day and compare the difference. You will see what I mean. Make sure you understand about the linseed oil before you do it. Re read my first post, I said boiled linseed oil NOT RAW LINSEED OIL. There is a major difference.
  17. BHock45 BHock45, 8 months ago
    I would be very interested to see a nail head close up as well. Pretty much looks like fhrjr2 and trunkman have this "nailed" for you. Very nice piece, I love this many times. Thanks for sharing!
  18. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Wow thanks BH!
    I'll measure it for you, as soon as i can get to it, i'll get some better pictures too. i have builders here this week, so I don't actually 'have it i front of me', its behind other furniture.
    The carving looks simple but precise to me. On the not so eaten bits you can see it would've been quite impressive.
    Thank you for your interest.
    Technically its my brothers, not mine, I'm watching it until he can get it. I'll miss it when its gone, its so imposing & surprisingly useful..still.
  19. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 8 months ago
    Lol, thanks FH,
    I'd be very wary about doing anything without re reading all your posts and any others i could find.
    Thank you.
    Its going to be awhile until i can get around to this, but it'll be a nice project & interesting to get a good look at it..empty.
  20. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 7 months ago
    Hi BH.
    I've got some measurements for you.
    This is taken from the top, which overhangs a little, but its..
    4ft 10" long
    1ft 10" wide
    2ft 5" high
    I hope this helps.
    Cant wait to know what you find out.
    Thank you :)

Want to post a comment?

Create an account or login in order to post a comment.