Antique Camelback Trunks
Antique Camelback Trunks are a type of chest used as luggage for prolonged trips by train, steam-ship or stage-coach.
History & Description
Camelback trunks are characterised by possessing a central, vertically running top slat that was higher than those on similar trunks, such as hunchback and barrel-top trunks.
Camelback trunks date from the mid-nineteenth century until the early-twentieth century. Not only are camelback trunks the most common of antique trunks, but they are also the most popular among collectors.
Most of these early Victorian trunks were upholstered with leather or studded hide. However, later versions were covered with canvas, paper or embossed tin and were reinforced with metal hardware and hardwood slats.
Guide for collectors
Antique camelback trunks are regularly offered by auctioneers and online bidding sites, such as eBay. Prices depend on the items’ condition, age and brand.
Collectors should look out for antique camelback trunks that were produced by leading malletiers (truck makers), including Louis Vuitton, Haskell Brothers, Hartmann and Goyard.
Should collectors or existing owners decide to restore their antique camelback trunks, then it is recommended that you contact a professional restorer. Any below-par restoration can decrease an item’s value.
Notable auction sales
On May 2nd 2008 at Flomaton Antique Auction in Flomaton, Alabama, a late-nineteenth century camelback trunk, with moulded ribs and fitted interior, realised a price of $225.
On February 11th 2012 at Conestoga Auction Company in Manheim, Pennsylvania, a late-nineteenth century leather covered camelback steamer trunk with oak battens and cast-iron mounts, realised a price of $325.
On September 3rd 2009, an eighteenth century Spanish camelback trunk with red velvet and hammered metal fittings realised a price of $500 through Lewis & Maese Antiques in Houston, Texas.
On October 18th 2006, an eighteenth century Spanish camelback trunk in its original condition realised a price of $9500 through Lewis & Maese Antiques in Houston, Texas.