Vintage Suitcases for Sale
Where do I find Vintage Suitcases for Sale?
Vintage suitcases make great conversational decoration pieces in the home and they make for great storage too. Photographers like to use them as props. Theaters putting on plays do too. And of course old suitcases can be seen in many movies. Even brides who are into the vintage trend for weddings are getting in on the action when it comes to old suitcases, using them as a creative card box or other décor.
Vintage suitcases are nostalgic, they evoke not only the past, but feelings of adventure and discovery. You may have seen suitcases used in clever ways in pictures on the internet, in magazines or maybe even at a friend's home. And maybe you've decided you want to add some to your home décor as well.
But you might have one question...where do you find vintage suitcases for sale?
Hunting the Elusive Vintage Suitcase
When finding old suitcases for sale there are a couple of things to consider. What is your budget and how much time do you want to spend looking for them?
Certain suitcases are more desirable, such as those older linen ones with stripes or a hounds tooth pattern on them. They can also be harder to find. So plan to spend more on those.
I personally have found the most common suitcase to be blue ones from the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you aren't finding the color of suitcase you desire take a second look at these ones as they can be painted or decoupaged to give you the look you want.
If you have a lot of time to search for suitcases and enjoy the hunt, but have a little budget then places like yard sales and thrift stores are great places to look. Flea markets make a good place to hunt for old luggage as well.
You can also look at antique stores and consignment stores that specialize in vintage things. Although these will be pricier than thrift stores and yard sales.
If you are intent on getting a certain style of suitcase and/or you want it immediately then your best bet is to buy it online. And for that your best bet is eBay. Another place to look online though is etsy.com
Vintage Suitcases for Sale on eBay
The well known auction site eBay.com can be one of the best places to find vintage suitcases because you don't have to spend a lot of time searching for the elusive style you want at flea markets and antique stores for weeks or months, or even longer. Although shipping can add to the cost of getting a suitcase online, the amount of time saved equals money saved as well.
Top Five Places to Look for Vintage Suitcases
Online sources such as eBay, etsy.com, craigslist, and other online stores and venues
- Thrift stores
- Antique stores
- Yard sales and Estate sales
- Flea Markets
What to Look for When Buying Vintage Suitcases
The suitcase shown here has a broken latch, but the photographer who bought it was okay with it as it would not be used to carry things and would be used for props in the portraits she did.
To some degree the condition of an old suitcase is a personal one. Some will desire owning only those that are in near mint condition, while others will consider things like part of it's personal charm. Or they may decide that since the back of the suitcase is going to be back against the wall anyway and they won't be opening the case often, that they are okay with the back hinge being broken. Condition will definitely effect price. In some cases the brand name of the suitcase may affect the price as well, although on many suitcases no mark of the maker can be found.
There is one condition which should be avoided though. Even if it's the exact style you dreamed of if it has mold in it then that suitcase can be dangerous as they can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. If the mold damage is minimal and you are willing to do the work to safely fix the problem it may be okay. But if you aren't willing or capable of treating the problem, then stay away from it.
The number one thing to consider when buying a vintage suitcase is, What do you want to use it for? If you actually intend to use the suitcase to carry things then things like broken latches, handles and hinges are important to avoid. If you only are using the suitcase for looks then these may not matter as much to you. Expect to pay a higher price for suitcases in better condition.
Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for:
- Broken parts such as hinges, latches and handles
- Scratches, dents and scuff marks
- Smell (you don't want to bring a suitcase home only to find it smells like cat urine)
- Keys (old suitcases that still have their keys is a bonus)
Vintage Style Suitcases For Sale at Amazon
Sometimes you don't want the real thing and just something reminiscent of the real deal is what you are looking for.
These retro 1960's style mini suitcases come in a set of 3 and are available in many bright colors. They are made from fiberboard (similar to cardboard) so don't expect them to something that can handle rough handling, but they still are fairly durable for light use. Dimensions: 8-inch L by 12-inch H by 3.5-inch W, 7-inch L by 10-inch H by 3.25-inch, 6-inch L by 8-inch H by 3-inch W.
This retro style travel carry case has travel sticker designs screen printed on it. Made of fiberboard construction it has a black and brown lacquer exterior finish. Decorative coated paper interior lining. And a black plastic handle. Metal corners, trim and latch.
This set of three suitcases are inspired by vintage luggage pieces, bearing evidence of their travels. Brown fabric, faux-leather straps, sticker accents and metal hardware combine for the antiqued look of luggage belonging to a world traveler.
Brands of Vintage Suitcases
There are a lot of brands or makers of vintage suitcases. Many suitcases have no name on them and the maker is often unknown. But I thought I'd compile a list of some of the vintage suitcase makers I have run across at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, etc.
- American Tourister
- Lady Baltimore
- Town Craft
- Louis Vuitton (Okay, I've actually never come across any vintage Louis Vuitton luggage...I sure would love to though.)
Where to Learn More about Vintage Suitcases?
If you want to learn about vintage suitcases there are unfortunately few resources. You can find some general info that I have put together about vintage suitcases here and if you want some info about Samsonite suitcases here.
One great source for learning about vintage suitcases is to find old ads for them on. These are often listed for sale on eBay, etsy.com and other websites. You can also find old ads and magazines in antique stores and antique malls.