Rugged Worn & Distressed Leather Steamer Trunk w/ Fitted Interior (also used as Coffee Table, Side Table or a Blanket Chest at the foot of the bed)
An original surface and patina creating a sense of deconstructionism in the cowhide, c. late 19th - early 20th Century
Item # 120010ETQ02
This is a simply outstanding distressed leather trunk from the late 19th Century, possibly as late as 1920. These are quite versatile pieces, originally designed to carry luggage, but today used flexibly in the home as a decorative piece in the living room as an incredible strike point coffee table in front of a large leather couch, as the side table between the sofa and another chair, as an end table behind a low sofa - possibly with a setup similar to the image above. The present example is a fine work that would originally have been prohibitively expensive, crafted of thick cowhide leather covering the entire surface of the exterior and interior of the trunk, the exterior surfaces still fully original with a fine worn and distressed appeal. The straps are replaced, along with the handles along the sides, allowing this to be a more functional and sturdy piece. It is remarkably heavy, but with the replaced handles it is not a difficult piece to move around the home. It rests over small caster wheels, allowing it to roll if necessary.
If you open the lid, the fitted interior is a complex formation of interlocking boxes and compartments, still retained though overall in rough visual condition. The opened lid has it's own compartment, held in with two brass slides that lock in on the right and left - this flips down for a large storage box. On top of this is an old torn label, presumably from the retailer of the trunk, noting "... Baier" as the establishment at 26 South Second Street in St. Louis. The actual chest has a series of levels, the top having a locking pouch for letters and documents (no key available), this surface flipping open to reveal a storage compartment where several original pieces of leather are retained for future restoration if that is desired. This entire level lifts off of the chest, revealing a large and open main trunk compartment.
While the trunk has clearly not been restored, with significant damage to the leather inside of the trunk, it almost certainly will be used exactly how it is without any restoration. The interior is interesting, but the most visually intriguing part of the chest is the overall exterior surface and proportions. At 24" high, it is a perfect height for any modern sofa as a coffee table, or as a side table beneath a large painting and positioned between two windows. It is an outstanding selection for anyone looking for a piece that will add character and visual interest to the design of a room. It is a nostalgic piece, the warm worn leather bringing a warmth to the trunk. These are difficult to find and can be used with such a broad variety of decor that it is sure to be not only a fun piece but also an excellent investment.
Measurements: 36 1/2" wide x 20 1/2" deep x 24" high (perfect height for most modern sofas if implemented as a coffee table)
Antique Chests & Trunks