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Trunks1638 of 2625Small Repurposed Steamer TrunkBureau trunk explained
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (1 item)

    Can anyone tell me something about this trunk that I just acquired. It came with no history. I would like to know the age, the type of wood, and what it was intended to hold. It has been worked on by someone. It looks as if the feet may have been added. It measure 44 in. wide x 29 in. tall x 26 in. deep. It is extremely heavy.

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    1. fortapache fortapache, 7 years ago
      I think it is a chest and not a trunk. Doesn't look like it is strong enough for the abuse it would get during travel. People would have chest to keep at home for the wedding dress, old military uniform etc. I could be mistaken though.
    2. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      This is a beautiful piece. Everything on it looks hand made, which would place it at late 1700's early 1800's. It looks like white pine. I would agree that this falls into more of a "chest" category however the lines between the two can be a bit muddled, particularly with a smaller piece like this (what are the measurements?) that has early "trunk" characteristics. A trunk in my mind refers to the ones specifically made for travel, thus a lighter construct.
    3. LinLou, 7 years ago
      Thank you Trunkman and Ft. Apache for your comments. It measures 44 in. wide x 29 in. tall x 26 in. deep. It was found in the South. Your reasoning about a trunk needing to be easily portable makes sense. This item is too heavy to be easily transported. I guess that the handles on the sides (not visible in my photos) made me think of it as a trunk. But, the feet would make one think "chest." It does look handmade, but some of the banding looks like replacement material that has been painted/treated to look like old iron. Does anyone have an idea as to the value? I'm wondering if I should insure it.
    4. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      It would be normal to see repairs on a trunk this old, so replacement banding would make sense. Whoever did it did a good job of if. The front latch I would think was a later addition, still handmade but probably recent (just an opinion mind you). If you look close you can see a repair where the original latch might have been. We don't offer evaluations or estimates on this site as this is purely show and tell. Take a look on line for similar pieces and you should get a ball park figure.
    5. LinLou, 7 years ago
      Thank you Trunkman! I agree about the latch looking recent. Do you know of any "specialists" that I might contact or websites about trunks or chests from the same period?
    6. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      Not really Linlou... this style and age of trunk does come up often enough at auction or on ebay and other sales sites. Value is a strange beast when it comes to these magnificent pieces.... I always think they are worth a lot more than they seem to sell for. Even though it is old and beautiful it is not "rare" in that many of these from the time period survived. I wish I could be of more help.... good luck in your search.
    7. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Some food for thought. I vaguely remember seeing something similar to this chest in pictures of items in an old root cellar. Could this possibly have been used for food storage? or to possibly transport goods or items by wagon to market(I.E.,Farm produce ,tobacco etc..One of the reasons that I say this is the boxes odd size.Could it possibly hold the exact unit of measure of lets say a bushel ,etc.? I would not always assume that just because a box is large it could not have traveled.During the days of slavery, there were many servants to carry all the heavy trunks around, the owner was not necessarily the one humping the thing around. Why the metal bands? Why would I need, heavy metal bands on the corners, if it is stationary object that doesn't move.Handles for what? I always try to think like the carpenter that built it,they did things for reasons.In addition, Sometimes pieces evolve over time. Was it modified at sometime with the legs to fit another need ,changing how it was originally used ,good chance.Always try to find comparable pieces,which should not be a problem if-if many were produced. Just some thoughts that could be plausible, but not necessarily the case. Nice piece thanks for the post and good luck with it.
    8. LinLou, 7 years ago
      Thank you, trunkman and Drill for those observations and interesting theories, all very plausible. This piece will probably always be a mystery, but that is OK. It's a wonderful trunk that will be given a new life holding my "treasures." Your willingness to share your knowledge is much appreciated!

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