On Thursday 26th January we offered for sale an early 20th Century travel trunk by the iconic french fashion house Louis Vuitton. After strong bidding through our own auction platform 'Wilson Live' and two phone bidders the trunk sold for a hammer price of £3,200.
Louis Vuitton has been a household name for the last century, known for their luxury handbags, jewellery, perfumes and more. However, Luis Vuitton began his career and made his name designing and manufacturing high quality travel trunks in the mid to late 19th century. He began his career in Paris as a young boy working under a gentleman called Monsieur Marechal. Within a few years, Vuitton gained a reputation amongst Paris' high society as one of the city's premier practitioners of the craft. In fact, under Napoleon III, Louis was the personal trunk maker and packer for Empress Eugénie de Montijo who charged him with "packing the most beautiful clothes in an exquisite way."
In 1854 he began his own firm, a specialist trunk-making workshop. The workshop built trunks and cases out of a plethora of exquisite leathers, targeting the top of French society in an age revolutionised by the invention of steam travel on both land and sea. Vuitton made a number of changes to the traditional trunk, the most obvious being a flat top making his cases easier to stack and move in more confined spaces. Also, in 1886 he patented the first ever 'pick-proof lock' after years of development, which can be seen on the case below, giving confidence to his buyers whose cases were often targeted by thieves.
Early 20th Century Louis Vuitton travel trunk, tan leather exterior, monogrammed fabric interior with original label. Sold for £3,200
In 2016 we sold a steamer trunk of a similar size for £7,600. This was a fine example in great condition of more traditional proportions, the structure supported by a higher number of wooden struts with its original label to the interior. Since 2016 the value of these trunks has increased with buyers keen to add early, good condition pieces to their collections. The most popular trunks are the monogrammed pieces with the repeating 'LV' pattern to the leather or linen exterior. These come in a number of shapes and sizes for specific transport needs such as books, shoes, wardrobe trunks and motoring. Below is the green canvas motoring trunk that we sold in 2022 for £800. This was of smaller proportions for the purpose of mounting on the back of a vehicle, likely used for a short trip away in the 1920s or 30s.
Louis Vuitton travel or motoring trunk in dark green fabric. Sold for £800
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