Louis Vuitton trunks to travel in old-world style at Adam’s At Home sale

Highly collectable and used as coffee tables, these early 20th-century trunks were the considered the birth of modern luggage

Looking to bring some old-school glamour to your travel plans this Christmas? Well, you’ll find some options at Adam’s upcoming At Home sale, on November 27th, which features two lovely vintage Louis Vuitton trunks.

Now elevated to furniture status, these trunks from the early 1900s are much sought-after collectable pieces. Today they are used as coffee tables and sit just as well in a drawingroom or library as opposed to being thrown in to an attic alongside suitcases.

And they can realise significant sums at auction. Back in 2017, a steamer trunk achieved €7,500 through Adam’s, while a very rare Explorer trunk sold though Christie’s in 2018 for about €186,000.

The pieces in Adam’s sale include an early 20th century monogrammed model in cream woven upholstery – a precursor to the more familiar stencilled brown models (lot 141, €2,000-€3,000). Larger, and more impressive, is lot 142, which catalogue notes describe as “an excellent example of the 1930s designs, and in very good condition” (€5,000-€7,000). Its double hanging wardrobe design opens to reveal compartments to hang shirts, trousers and long dresses, along with two removable suitcases. It has a label from Saks Fifth Avenue, with travel stickers from steam ships; the initials of its original owner, GGB, are stencilled into the top of the trunk.


Also listed is a good selection of carpets and runners, including two Dun Emer wood rugs (lot 214 and 215, €300-€500); an Afghan Crying Eye pattern (lot 151, €800-€1,200); and an antique Heriz runner (lot 211, €2,000-€3,000).

If you’re in the market for a mirror, the sale has a good number in varying sizes, from large overmantels (lots 114 and 273, both €1,000-€1,500) to girandoles, including a nice 19th-century example (lot 253, €1,200-€1,800).

Silver includes offerings from provincial makers: a sugar bowl by Robert Breading (lot 35, €300-€400); a three-piece tea service by Cork silversmith Kean Mahony (lot 36, €1,500-€2,000); and a set of four spoons by Joseph Gibson, also a Cork silversmith in the 18th century (lot 22, €400-€600).

For fans of Irish botanical art, there’s a lovely collection of 19 watercolours by botanical painter Wendy Walsh (lots 358-372, with estimates from €200 up to €600). The artworks were gifted to the current owner by Walsh, whose book on Irish horticulture, The Irish Florilegium – Wild and Garden Plants of Ireland, features these watercolours. As the most prominent botanical artist in 20th-century Ireland, Walsh produced art for 15 books on Ireland’s flora and fauna, and was nominated as the first member of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists, two days before her death at the age of 99 in 2014.

There’s a good selection of occasional tables in all sorts of shape to suit every budget. For chess lovers, lot 194 is a 19th-century inlaid walnut and marquetry chess table, which tilts away for storage, but it’s a neat piece so would fit anywhere (€100-€200); while lot 404, an Edwardian mahogany and satinwood Sutherland table that also folds neatly away, is listed at €250-€350. adams.ie

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables