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13th -14th Century German Trunk

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Trunks1744 of 2606possibly a Saratoga trunk from around 1877WWII Trunk
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (2 items)

    I inherited this 13-14th century German trunk from my parents. In the late 40's they were stationed in Texas. A German scientist and his wife were brought over for Operation Paper Clip and befriended my parents. I have a letter written by my mother documenting the stage of events. When this couple left the country they gave my parents the trunk and it's contents to sell for them as they wanted to return with their weight limit with basic supplies and not the weight of their belongings in and with the trunk. It is currently on display at a University Renaissance Center.

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    Antique Trunk Hardware-Leather Handles,Ends and Nails for Trunks & Chests-New--U
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    Antique Trunk Hardware-Leather Handles,Ends and Nails for Trunks & Chests-New--U
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    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Your mention of operation "paperclip" sent me off in a search. Over 1,500 Germans were "white washed" for the military & shows other examples of U.S. disdain & contempt for the Geneva Convention & other treaties. The "American way". This is very interesting history & adds a lot to the "character" of the trunk. I learned a lot & thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
    2. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      I could easily be wrong on this but looks more like a chest than a trunk, a trunk being for travel.
      Pretty amazing for a piece of furniture to be this old. Are they sure about the date?
    3. elv60, 7 years ago
      Thank you fortapache...interesting question trunk vs chest. It has been called "the trunk" for as long as I remember and it did indeed carry their belongings from Germany to San Antonio but it s quite large and cumbersome for travel purposes. The age is recited from the letter of provenance from my mother. I will ask the Renaissance Center to weigh in on this.
    4. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 7 years ago
      I think someone is being generous (by a few centuries) with the age. This has applied moldings. Perhaps it was used by 13 or 14 generations, that makes more sense.
    5. elv60, 7 years ago
      Good information...I am just going by what was left behind. When did moldings start being applied? I would like to be as accurate as possible with the piece. Thank you.
    6. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Pretty Amazing to see the Lock with the key after so many years! Wondering if it still works and how ?The distance of the keyhole in relation to the lid latch has me intrigued. I'm wondering if the mechanism is exposed to the inside of the trunk? Many times hardware can lend a hint to the period of production.
    7. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Drill, I had to go back & search for the key, but you are right. I would also like to see a pic of the inside front where the lock is mounted. And, you are right, it could help date it.
      Alright elv, give!
    8. elv60, 7 years ago
      I have to take a look at the pictures that were taken by my friendly semi professional photographer and see if he got the shot of the trunk inside out!
    9. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      That would be interesting & helpful.
    10. elv60, 7 years ago
      I'm working on it.!
    11. elv60, 7 years ago
      Here is the only picture we have of the back of the lock thanks to Kevin!
    12. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      When searching images of German wood carving motifs, none really come into view that are similar to the wood carvings on this chest/coffer, But when you search under( Arched gothic wood carvings images), many similarities for this style jump off the screen. but most of the(13th to 16th century) comparable chests pictured appear to be solid hardwood without applied moldings. Many times it is very helpful
      when trying to determine age/or to authenticate an item, (I will always try) to find a similar piece from that region or time period. Hope this helps.
    13. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      Looks like a 1962 Yale lock. Just joking of course. That appears to be a really old lock. Just free-standing inside where it is in the way of packing tells me it is old. I'm certainly no expert & hoping some of our experts come along with their opinions & expertise. Don't remember seeing this style locking system here before. You have captured my curiosity & interest. T-Mon, where are you? We have other experts but I kind of bonded with T-Mon. Bon chance.
    14. elv60, 7 years ago
      Thanks to all I really appreciate the interest. What was left inside was heart folks had been asked to sell contents after the family left. 1st edition Shakespeare Goethe and Schiller. There was also an "expert" along the way that called it a Medieval silver chest. I can imagine a full coat of armor would have fit in.
    15. elv60, 7 years ago
      Anyone out there with any further thoughts on how the lock could age this trunk? Thanks in advance.
    16. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      I do think that the lock is old and have not seen it before. I think that I would research(Goggle) the history of locks,to learn about the metal smiths of the time period that worked for the nobleman through out Europe., I would also research(Goggle) medieval chests of the renaissance period. There are wonderful examples in many museums on- line worldwide. I would also be very aware of the many reproductions of chests/furniture of certain periods as well. Hope this helps
      and good luck.

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