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Question DetailsAsked on 2/22/2014

Where can I get an old steamer trunk restored?

I have an old steamer trunk that was my grandmother's and possibly my great-grandmother's before that. I've only been able to find parts suppliers on line and a couple folks that will do the whole thing. Unfortunately, they were a couple states away and id like to get some estimates. also want to make sure its done correctly. I don't have much info about the trunk, but saw a similar one on ebay that was estimated to have been from the 1800's.

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5 Answers

Voted Best Answer

If you want this repaired for value, then the act of repair is likely to very significantly reduce its value. I would talk to a local antique store about its actual value and who can repair it.

If you want it repaired just as a family heirloom, then a local Antique store might be able to refer you to a restoration carpenter, and a Furniture Repair and Restoration firm might also be able to do it. If not, then I would go looking for a fine furnishings and cabinetry carpenter who makes custom wood furniture and cabinetry.

For this sort of thing, to get an estimatethey will have to see it in person, so someone several states away is not probably a good choice.

From getting a couple of these old 100% wood steamer trunks (except for the iron corners and hardware of course) appraised for estates, it looks to me like about $500-1000 is the normal price range for 1800's ones in good condition, with NO restoration and no decay or mold - down in the $100-300 range if visibly restored with current materials. Ones with csrdboard or particle board in the $50-100 range mostly. Full height travel wardrobes can run over $1000 in good condition, and of course many thousands if certified pre-1850's and in good original shape.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD



Furniture restoration would by my first suggestion as well.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


Thanks. I've been reviewing Antique appraisers in my area and do plan to have them appraise it as well as a couple other items I have. Unfortunately, the trunk is in pretty bad shape. The similar one I found on ebay has been posted 4 separate times, starting bids at $250, buy it now at $325. No one has bid on it. Its probably not a real popular item. Mine is in poorer condition and I don't have any information on it (make, etc) so I can't confirm its age. So I don't think its worth that much. It would be a pleasant surprise though! Any advice about getting a good appraiser?


Answered 6 years ago by Guest_91278255


I am assuming here you arer talking a regular steamer trunk like a wood footlocker, not a standup steamer dresser.

Original steamer trunks are in demand as a decorative item, but for not more than about $250-300 because you can get a brand new reproduction for about $400-500 range. Not many people will pay top dollar for an original in poor shape when you can get a look-alike, achieving the same decorative effect, for little more.

Since only worth a few hundred $, I would not bother getting it appraised for $50-100 cost. I would take it to an antique store and see what they offer for it, and if they think worth more restored or not. They willtypically offer you about 25-40% of its retail value.

I know I rebuilt one of these myself that had been partly crushed in its last trip when my grandparents immigrated to the "New World" in the 1800's - took me about 6-8 hours to replace broken boards (using matching wood and all hand techniques and hand-made shellac to match the original finish), so that would be about $250-500 in repair cost by a good finish carpenter for a $150-300 item.

If you just want it repaired to working condition but using machine-worked wood and maybe replica rather than antique fittings, then a furniture restorer would probably be the first choice, followed by a fine cabinetry shop, but still likely to be in the $250-500 range but increae its value only a couple of hundred maybe, so you would be doing this for sentimental, not commercial reasons.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Did you find someone to do it? If not, what state are you in?

Answered 2 years ago by zac


Are you still looking for someone to restore your trunk?


Answered 2 years ago by bjb5859

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