Louis Vuitton trunk for the French Red Cross, 1914 – sold for €8500 at Hermann Historica.

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Vuitton opened his trunk-making firm in Paris in 1854 and produced lighter, more durable and waterproof luggage – crucially, flat-topped instead of the existing dome-topped trunks so they could be stacked and therefore far more convenient for trains and ships.

The example shown here is a rare smaller type made by Vuitton for the French Red Cross (Croix Rouge) in preparation for the First World War. The owner’s initials MD appear on the lid.

According to Munich auction house Hermann Historica, the other trunks made by Vuitton for the Croix Rouge were simpler designs, mostly of wood and without a decorative iron border. This trunk, measuring 21in (53cm) wide with the leather bands embossed with the famous monogram LV, was probably not used for medications but to store patients’ files.

In a private French collection since the 1980s, it sold for €8500 in the Hermann Historica (25% buyer’s premium) sale in Munich on September 25.