The attics of Camden, Maine, a famous summer colony for the ‘haves and have yachts’ of the Gilded Age, are just the place one might expect to find period Louis Vuitton luggage.
But the two early 20th century steamer trunks unearthed by James D. Julia (15% buyer's premium) in Harp House, one of Camden's finest villas, were something very special.
A label to the lid of a 2ft 3in by 3ft by 23in (69 x 91 x 58cm) trunk marked it as a Special Model exclusively made for John Wanamaker, New York, Philadelphia by Louis Vuitton, Paris, London. The interior was fitted with a conforming woven fabric tray and straps marked with the Vuitton branding.
The lid had a shrinkage crack through the centre but, sold in Fairfield, Maine in an August 21-24 sale, it comfortably improved upon modest expectations of $800-1200 to bring $6000 (£4000).
In a different financial league was a second, 3ft 3in (99cm) wide trunk fitted as a wardrobe. The lid opened to reveal a 'well' fitted with a tray and a quilted interior, while four latches secured the front which concealed a pair of doors and two long drawers mounted with leather handles.
Trunks of this deluxe type have brought very substantial sums of late - another sold by Lawrences of Crewkerne for £7500 earlier this year. Here in Fairfield, Maine the condition was described as very good (again all the original labels were present and the exterior showed only minor scuffs) and bidding raced past its $1500-2500 estimate to reach $30,000 (£20,000). Has one ever made more?