The golden age for travel luggage started with the steam engine, the ocean going liners, through to the motor car and probably ended at the introduction of the larger jet engined aeroplanes of the 1950s. This brought long distance travel to the masses and the requirement for cheaper, lighter, and more robust luggage like the suitcase.
Cabin, steamer and wardrobe trunks were the order of the day often accompanied by hat and shoe boxes, vanity and toilet cases.
Maison Goyard of Paris, established in 1853, was probably the earliest of these luxury trunk makers. They produced the finest quality luggage for an extremely rich and discerning clientele. The ‘Goyardine’ a chevron patterned coated canvas made from hemp, linen and cotton was first exhibited at the World Exhibition of 1900 and is a more subtle but equally distinctive version of the Louis Vuitton logo design.
But by far the most sought after and well known designer of vintage luggage is Louis Vuitton. The company was established in 1854 and in 1858 they introduced a steamer trunk with a flat top which enabled them to be stacked more easily. Prior to that all trunks had a domed top.
They were constantly improving their product and were great self publicists. In 1872 they developed a new line incorporating red stripes against a beige ground and in 1889 the rarest of their canvas coverings the Damier was launched. This consisted of a discreet, repeated, brown check pattern.
It was not until 1896 that the distinctive LV monogram and Japanese inspired floral motif pattern was developed by Georges Vuitton. Still used to this day it is probably one of the most recognisable brands in the world.
Other sought after names in the world of collecting vintage luggage are Au Départ, Chalons, Paul Ramond, Finnigans, Asprey, Hermes and Moynat who developed a range of luggage in 1907 specifically designed to be used in motor cars.
Although quite a specialised field of collecting prices have risen steadily over the last 30 years with some of the finest pieces regularly fetching five figure sums. Only this year a rare zinc covered “Malle Cabine” or Explorer’s trunk sold at an auction for £66,000. These were specially designed to cope with more extreme environmental conditions.
Many auction houses now hold dedicated auctions for vintage luggage, handbags and luxury brand goods and there are many specialist dealers around the country.
As a firm we have handled the sale of numerous high value Louis Vuitton trunks, on behalf of our clients, often directly to private collectors.
So if you require a valuation for sale, probate or insurance purposes on a trunk, item of luggage or handbag by Louis Vuitton or any other collected, luxury brand manufacturer, give us a call on 01273 838348 or 07812 518557. Alternatively email us with some details and a photograph.