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My barrel stave trunk

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kimjcmurphy's likes3 of 10Great Wine Bottle!!AUNT JEMIMA BUTTON
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    Posted 12 years ago

    (1 item)

    I bought this a few days ago at an antique mall for $37.50! I still can't believe the price. The leather straps are in great shape on both sides. Someone has refinished the interior with fabric and braid. They did a good job. It has embossed metal covering it in a shell pattern. On the bottom are the small original wheels along with larger ones that someone added. The trunk appears to be in excellent condition. I've read it might be from the 1840s-1890's but wasn't sure. Could anyone tell me more about my new trunk?

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    1. trunkman trunkman, 12 years ago
      You have a lovely dome top trunk from around 1890's. It is a little hard to get a good look at the latches to confirm. (sometimes the latches have a patent date on them to tell its earliest possible date) The shell pattern is unique -- first one that I have seen to date. The trunk appears to be in great shape and you picked it up for a great price. You could take off all the paint if you were in to a project, and the wood and tin would come out nice. However I like the look as it is, as I am sure you do as well. There were many makers at the time and without a label it would be difficult to know which company made it. Great piece -- great find -- thanks for posting!
    2. sayer34, 12 years ago
      pianolady_Looks like you made a good buy-In the 1902 Sears Robuck catalog they devote several pages to trunks-great descriptions-illistrations and prices-The original catalog maybe difficult to find but some very good reproductions have been made.Your lucky to have the leather straps usually missing.
    3. Pianolady Pianolady, 12 years ago
      trunkman & sayer34,
      The reason I mentioned 1840's was because I read online somewhere that barrel-stave trunks were made earlier that some of the others. It mentioned 1840-1870. I will delete one of my pictures and try to post a close-up of the latches. And I will definitely look for an online copy of the catalog you mentioned. I bet trunks like these sold in their day for 2 or 3 dollars.
    4. Pianolady Pianolady, 12 years ago
      OK, guys
      I uploaded a pic of one of the front latches. I'm sorry for the fuzzy photo but have a crummy camera. Let me know what you think.
    5. trunkman trunkman, 12 years ago
      Thank you for the close-up of the latch. It looks like a unique latch -- I have not seen that type on most standard trunks of the 90's. Is it a picture of a swan on the latch? Styles and types phased in and out during that time and some makers carried on while others made new types. I would not go as early and 1840, but I would revise my earlier guess and say probably early 1880's maybe late 70's. (just a note -- I am a hobbyist only -- not an expert by any means). Part of that guess are the groves in the slats -- I have similar trunks with these groves dated around that time. Again a more detailed picture would help and a picture of the front middle latch will tell a bit more -- are you sure there is no date on it? It may have been filled in by paint, look really close at the middle lock -- get out the magnifying glass. Have fun....
    6. Pianolady Pianolady, 12 years ago
      I uploaded a clearer picture of the latch and it does appear to be a swan. I pulled out my lighted magnifying glass, but found no identifying markings or dates anywhere on the trunk. I also uploaded a pic of the front middle latch. Hope this helps you.
    7. trunkman trunkman, 12 years ago
      Well I am at the end of my knowledge base at this point. The front lock looks like a civil war era lock, around 1860 to 1870 with the nice brass buttons which have been painted over. The latches are unique which tells me it is from a time when these trunks had more individual flavor, which would make it earlier. Probably around early 1870's would be my guess. Someone else might be able to give you a better pinpoint. It is hard to say because makers kept locks and latches around for awhile and patents lasted for years. I will say that there are two things on this trunk that are rare -- the shell tin, and the swan latches. This would be for me one of those trunks worth restoring. It could be in the late 1860's but I do not have enough exposure to this type of trunk to be sure. It is a nice trunk -- thank you for allowing me to comment.
    8. Pianolady Pianolady, 12 years ago
      thank you so much for the time you have given me. I just wanted to give you a link to something I just found:
      this trunk is from 1870's and has the same seashell pattern mine has, and the metal is zinc, not tin as I supposed. Just thought it was neat. Mine only has 3 staves on top, where this one has 5. Thanks again for your informative comments.
    9. trunkman trunkman, 12 years ago
      Thanks for the link -- I would say you have a pretty close match there. You can see from this example what they look like refinished. I have a trunk that was at one time painted over and I refinished it. If I can find the picture I will post it for you to see. You now have a good idea of your trunk's vintage and special features. Welcome to collector's Weekly!

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