Home Money Antique suitcases make bags of money at auction – could your old suitcase make a fortune?

Antique suitcases make bags of money at auction – could your old suitcase make a fortune?

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Old luggage: you are buying the inheritance of travel

Old luggage: you are buying the inheritance of travel

A Louis Vuitton trunk made to carry a ten-inch rubber duck called Canard Willy is set to go up for auction later this month with an estimate of up to £22,000.

This unique miniature trunk is part of a selection of 37 pieces of LV travel luggage that Sworders auction house sold in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, on April 30.

The British owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the luggage was commissioned by LV in the 1980s.

Canard has enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, traveling supersonic on Concorde voyages from London to New York and visiting 35 countries.

Other rare LV travel cases for sale from the same private collector include a travel bar, a case that opens to reveal a silver ice bucket, ice cube tongs, a pitcher, and four beakers, also with a higher estimate of £22,000, plus a trunk. for 12 pairs of shoes at £10,000.

Otto Billstrom, head of design at Sworders, says: “These are not just pieces of luggage, but rare works of art. They are in outrageously good condition, with a truly beautiful patina, which adds to the collectible appeal. But the reason The key to these high values ​​is that many of them are exceptional.’

For those who don’t have as much money, Billstrom points to more affordable examples of LV luggage in the sale, such as a suitcase, priced between £500 and £700, small enough to fit into the carry-on allowance of a budget airline such as Ryanair.

The auctioneer also notes that the value of the luggage sold is increased by the fact that it comes with the original receipts and covers, which he says doubles its value as proof of authenticity.

Billstrom says: ‘Although it may lose value if damaged, we expect most of the luggage to be used. There is demand from Middle Eastern collectors who pack them for travel. You really make your presence known by arriving with a pile of Louis Vuitton suitcases at a five-star hotel.

Julian Hardwicke, manager of vintage luggage store Bentleys in Knightsbridge, London, says the value of modern LV luggage has tripled in the last decade alone, and that the brand’s international appeal is now also “something to behold.” “. ‘

He says: ‘The best suitcases and trunks were handmade by craftsmen who trained for years to reach the level of skill necessary to become a professional mallet, the French term used for a suitcase maker.

They cost a lot, but they are also expensive for the time they were made. You can also get a bargain on modern second-hand luggage at a reputable auction house.

Bentley Fine Art Auctioneers in Cranbrook, Kent, sold an LV Alize 24 Heures holdall with small watermarks for £350 this month. A new example can set you back £1,600.

Luggage from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is also highly sought after by collectors. A key part of the appeal is the decadent, romantic sense of luxury from an era far removed from the modern world in which we worry about baggage allowance while cramming ourselves onto no-frills airlines.

Billstrom says: “You’re not just buying vintage luxury, but also the travel heritage of a bygone era, with luggage that may have been carried on the Orient Express or a transatlantic cruise.”

A 1928 35-inch LV trunk designed to fit under the cabin bed of an ocean liner is for sale at Bentleys for £17,500.

The price may seem high, but it could have sold for £10,000 a decade ago. Or consider an early 20th century LV 11-inch children’s play chest. Although only valued at £800, one sold at auction in February for £5,900.

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The original canvas design with the LV monogram appeared in 1896 under the direction of Georges Vuitton. The pattern was a copyrighted motif intended to prevent competitors from copying the luggage design.

Georges’s father, Louis Vuitton, had revolutionized the luggage industry in 1854 when, as a 16-year-old apprentice to a box maker, he began making canvas-covered wooden boxes that could be stacked on top of each other. It meant that wealthy travelers could add cocktail shakers, tea chests and even rubber ducks to their wardrobe collections.

Many of these suitcases were discarded in the 1960s and 1970s as obsolete trash. However, recently its image has changed from shabby chic to desirable investments.

Hardwicke says: ‘In addition to LV, there are also big manufacturers to look out for, and French companies like Goyard are very trendy. You can pay £22,000 for a Goyard leather steamer trunk from 1910. But new it could cost twice as much.

Or look at British suitcase makers, with sets like Bond Street’s Finnigans among those with collectible heritage value.

A 24-inch 1910 leather suitcase from Finnigans can be bought for £1,125, while an 18-inch toiletry bag costs £365 from a specialist dealer such as Oldfield Outfitters, based in Norfolk. Be careful when buying blindly on Internet commerce websites like eBay, as this is where fakes abound.

If you want your luggage to increase in value, it is better to store the pieces in a safe place instead of taking them on long trips. Keep the inside of the bags safe from moth damage by placing cedar balls inside as a repellent.

Hardwicke adds: “Many of the early antique luggage was carried by porters and unpacked by maids. A few turns on an airport carousel could very well destroy them.

And of course, the airline could lose your luggage.

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