Brettuns Village Trunks & Leather
Old Trunks, New Leather. All from Maine.
July 16, 2008
Trunk Shop News
July 4th has come and gone,
so summer is in full swing in Maine, for
at least another few weeks.
Here at Brettuns Village Trunk Shop the
humidity level is off the
charts, and the little electronic weather
station on the window sill
just blinks: “You’re Now Underwater –
Please Hold Your Breath.”
Just walking through the barn makes you
sweat, and the very sight
of the trunks stacked up in there only
worsens the situation. I
just have to hang in there for about eight
more weeks – then we’ll
be back to some reasonable temperatures,
somewhere south of 60 degrees.
Best part of the year.
Looking for a project trunk?
We’ve got a lot of them out there, and
have added a few to our
‘Sold As-Is’ page on the site. On that page
we sell trunks that have
not been refinished – just the way they are,
complete with the dust and
grime of the ages on the outside, and on
the inside you can usually
find one old sock, a broken keychain, a
feather from a canary, the
arm off a GI Joe doll (left), an empty coin
purse that appears to have
been made by hand, three paper clips, a bar
of Ivory soap still in the
wrapper (supposed to keep the trunk
smelling fresh), 2 cents,
4 newspaper clippings (cookie recipes), a
mesh bag with a bunch of
pine needles in it (in case the Ivory soap
doesn’t work I guess), one
marble, a house key, and two hairpins.
That’s about the average
list of hoo-hah we find in these trunks.
Anyway, if you’d like to
find a project trunk, might be worth a look
at the ‘As=Is’ page.
The prices you’ll see there include shipping to
any location in the 48 contiguous
United States, so the price you see
is the price you pay.
Like a used car lot. Here’s a link to that
We’re certainly deep into
yard sale season at this point in the
summer, which means when
I wander into the office on Monday morning I
get a bunch of e-mails that
pretty much say the same thing:
“I found an old trunk, I
don’t think you’ve ever seen one like it
before, but it’s real nice
although there are some stains and
something moldy in it but
anyway it has metal wheels on the bottom and
wood slats on the top and
sides and the handles are broken and how
much is it worth and oh
yeah guess what I got it at a yard sale for
five bucks LOL!
If you’ve sent us one of
these on a recent (within the last 19 years)
Monday, you’ve probably
received the ‘generic response’ that goes out
“Many trunks of this style
were made in the late 1800s by contract
manufacturers and then sold
through catalogs such as Sears or Wards.
It’s common to not be able
to find a maker’s label or tag because the
retailers wouldn’t allow
the maker to put their own name on the trunk.
In general, trunks
like this sold for around $2.75 brand new. The
largest contract factories
were Seward Trunk & Bag in Petersburg, VA,
Taylor Trunk of Michigan,
and MM Secor in the Midwest, so there’s a
reasonable chance that your
trunk was made by one of these companies.
If you’re interested, we
offer an appraisal service that provides a
complete written report;
more information about this service is
available on our website.”
We get great responses to
this, including my personal favorite:
“I don’t want to pay for
an appraisal, I just need to know how much
it’s worth you idiot.”
I love my job. Yes, like
so many other professions, it’s the
customers who make it memorable.
Still, I can’t imagine a better line
of work. Maybe if
we started finding rare coins or unmounted diamonds
or platinum ingots or first
edition Hemingway novels signed by old Hem
himself or Al Kaline’s original
bat then the job would seem even
better, but it’s pretty
difficult to envision it gaining any ground
over how it already is.
Next time you’re banging a trunk around
inside the garage you’ll
see what I mean. I think.
Stay cool and calm-
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