I Scored – Vintage Steamer Trunk and the Glory Days of Travel


Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com

Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to the days when people dressed to travel.

Big hats, high heels and gloves to get to your destination and the rest of your wardrobe packed away in a giant steamer trunk or two.

Very Downton Abbey.

Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com
Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com

Maybe a trip on the Orient Express or a transcontinental cruise aboard the Queen Mary.

Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com

Every garment perfectly hung and not a wrinkle to be found.

Servants would unpack your trunk while you sipped a cocktail while planning your outfits …

whites for croquet on the great lawn then the flowing red gown with the matching jeweled comb to wear to the ball.

Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com

Vintage Steamer Trunk - one of the many fabulous thrift shop finds from kellyelko.com

What do you think – take it with me on my next vacation (and make my hubby lug it around) or use it as a coffee table?


See all of my finds here.


What have you found lately that makes your heart go pitter patter?


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  1. Hi Kelly,

    I just had to tell you of my latest find from a garage sale. They were selling things that they had left over from things that did not sell at the “booth” that they have at an antiques mall. A marble topped East Lake style table. It has about a 3 inch “rust” spot on the top that they did not want to try to remove, so they had it for sale for $15.00!!!

    I just put a small vase over it and it looks great. I have been looking online for ideas to remove the stain from the marble, but have not found a remedy that I feel safe to try. Do you have any suggestions?

    Love your blog,

  2. Great find! I would use it as a table of some kind – maybe have some heavy glass cut for the top or like me, you could wait till you find it for cheap or free. I bought a dining room set last weekend (looks retro only new) and a big round piece of glass I got curbside during big trash month here fit it perfectly. It took about 3 months to put the 2 things together for my home so maybe you could do the same. It would protect the trunk’s patina and not leave glass rings on it.

  3. I use my steamer as a table and to store Christmas. Many years ago when I first got it I used it next to my drawing board, open, to show and store art supplies.

  4. I had one of those trunks in my closet as a kid, It does make you think of simpler times, hand written long letters etc. I would use the trunk for storing seasonal clothes or displaying pretty or vintage clothes.

  5. I LOVE old trunks. I think it’s our way of clinging to the past. I have one for a coffee table…they are just perfect! You could even set it over in a corner with goodies spilling out…maybe a houseplant or two. Thanks for sharing this beauty! ~Tammy

  6. Ohhhh Emmmm Geeeee. Gwyneth and I are flipping out over this find! Cannot wait to see what you do with it. And while we’re talking like 15 year olds today, we’re totes jelly!

    mk & Gwynnie

  7. Gorgeous find Kelly! I have two of these also. One adult and one children’s. Love them! I got them at an estate sale years ago. I’ve always wondered where they traveled. What treasures were inside. Who the people were they belonged too. My latest find was another egg scale. I’m just drawn to them! It’s really in beautiful shape. Also found a few more granite ware coffee cups! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Hope you have a fun weekend!

  8. What an awesome find!! I would love it if we all dressed like they did years ago when girls looked like girls!!

  9. I have my great grandfather’s old trunk from 1902 and I use it as an end table at my cottage, as it was too high to use as a coffee table. I had a piece of glass cut to fit the top to protect the finish and it’s great and it certainly gets people talking.
    Love the one that you found and I vote coffee table.

  10. That is so cool! Someone had something similar at Paris Flea, but it had tons of doo dads and gadgets for folding and hanging, then it went back together again. I think you should hire a maid and a footman. Footman carries the trunk, maid packs it, then unpacks it when you get home. Maybe if you are lucky, she will do the laundry for you too. This is my least favorite part of post vacation. On second thought, it would make the coolest Coffee Table. If you were running late for a party at your home, you could stash extra clothes in there. This way you wouldn’t have to run all the way to your bedroom to change. Like women who stash cocktail rings and lipstick. Or is that just me.

  11. Kelly,

    I have a trunk that is very similar that was damaged in our storage unit (water/mold) and am attempting to place an approximate value. Would you mind telling me the approximate value?

    Thanks for your help,


  12. I myself have a Hartmann clothing trunk that my grandfather traveled with to the USA from Czechoslovakia in the early 1900’s. You should have a secret compartment on the bottom of the top drawer for important papers. Nice to see that they are still around & others are enjoying them as well as myself. Thnks

  13. Hi Kelly!

    Recently while me and a friend were out. I found a steamer trunk that had a Cunard cargo sticker that said the trunk was on board the RMS Queen Mary. And it was on sale for only $20!

    Of course me and my friend decided that we were not going to leave without it because of it possibly being a rare find.

  14. HI there
    I Just found a trunk like yours, left out on the street for garbage!! Such a shame!!
    Well I brought it home thinking someone out there might be a collector!
    Would you know how much one of these trunks are worth??
    Thanks so much!
    Keep up the good work!!

  15. Hello Kelly. I just scored a similar trunk. Hartmann. I have no idea how to open it. It seems to have same locking mechanism as yours. I have the key and can get the middle round piece open and the two side patches but then I pull and it is still tightly closed. I’ve seen videos of similar but not quite the same trunks, and they all seem to have an extra piece to turn or pop. The photos from the online auction where I got it showed it open. If you can offer any clues it would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
    Susan, Tiverton, Ontario, Canada

  16. I just bought the exact same trunk at a antique/relic shop. Same material inside. I paid $16 for it! I’m using as a coffee table. I love it!

  17. Wow yours is beautiful!! I got one today off a lady on fb marketplace and the only difference is the bottom compartment in yours and how clean yours is lol. Did you clean yours or was it just kept gorgeous? I tried to spot clean and the fabric is so delicate it disintegrates. I’m scared to touch it.

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