Louis Vuitton Steamer Trunk, ca. 1915
When I was growing up, my parents were the caretakers at an estate of a wealthy family, and this trunk was owned by the daughter of the person who owned the estate. She said that when she was a young woman, she took it on a tour around the world. In the '20s, I think. When they sold the estate, she gave us the trunk just to remember her by, and it's been in our family for 35 years now.
Well, it's a steamer trunk, first of all. So it would have been used to transport your clothing when you went aboard a steamer to travel abroad. And most steamer trunks are very nominal in value, and there's exceptions to that rule and this is one of those exceptions. This is a Louis Vuitton trunk, currently probably one of the leading luxury good sellers worldwide. This was made right around the first part of the 20th century. In 1896, they launched the patented canvas monogram that we see throughout this and you see on handbags and luggage today. The hinges are marked with the patent. The trunk also shows its travel. Where they were headed was labeled on the trunk throughout.
Yes, through the stickers.
And when we open it up... We can see that this is fitted with all of these compartments to hold your clothing, as well as a Louis Vuitton label and serial number. Now, while most steamer trunks are priced in the $100 to $200 range on a very good day, this steamer trunk is much more exceptional than that, and an auction estimate would be $3,000 to $5,000.
They are being repurposed today. They appeal to a very young collector, people put them in their house for coffee tables, and almost as a status symbol and a piece of sculpture and a work of art.
Wow, that's very cool. Thank you so much. That's... wow. (laughs)
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love