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Vintage Suitcases for Sale

Updated on October 12, 2014

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

A broken latch on an old suitcase
A broken latch on an old suitcase

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

  • Stains

  • Mold

  • 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.

cargo Vintage Travelers Mini Suitcases, Set of 3,  Soft Blue
cargo Vintage Travelers Mini Suitcases, Set of 3, Soft Blue

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.

 
Cargo Cool On the Road Suitcase, 6 by 16-3/4 by 12-3/4-Inch
Cargo Cool On the Road Suitcase, 6 by 16-3/4 by 12-3/4-Inch

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.

 
Explorer Suitcases Set Of 3, SET OF 3, BROWN
Explorer Suitcases Set Of 3, SET OF 3, BROWN

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
  • Imperial
  • Lady Baltimore
  • Maximillion
  • Monarch
  • Samsonite
  • Skyliner
  • 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.

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I'd love to get some of these. My hubby frowns on my pack rat tendencies though, so I'll just admire them here.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I've seen really lovely vintage suitcases and other luggage in specialist dealers' stores and at antique and collectable fairs (shows) in London so I found your article very interesting because I know nothing about collecting them. Blessed.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      Vintage suitcases just seem to have a life of their own. I love to think of the travels they've seen.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I adore vintage suitcases and use several pieces in my home. Such a thrill when you find a nice piece. :)

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      These are great. Not only are they awesome to look at, but you get extra storage. Travel was so elegant back then.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a vintage suitcase from YSL that I purchased over 10 years ago in a thrift shop. I can't find anything on it on the internet. Does anyone know if Yves Saint Lauren made suitcases. This one is a rolling trunk (quite small) with gold colored combination lock and hardware. Vinyl with leather trim. Cloth/felt like material inside.

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't know. I did find some Yves Saint Laurent fabric suitcases online, but while they were listed as "vintage" I'm guessing they were from the 80s maybe. I think it's very likely that they did, but I can't say for certain. You could possibly try writing the company and asking them if you really wanted to know. Good luck. It sounds like a neat little trunk.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have so much vintage luggage and vintage trunks that I would love to sell. I am just not sure that I want to use ebay. Some of them date back to the early 1900s. I am just not sure where to sell them. I have a good amount of samsonite from the 1950s also two army trunks, I have a black Shwayder Trunk, I believe it is from 1920s. They all are very neat.

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Ooh, I wish I could go and buy them from you! :)

      If you don't want to sell them on eBay (which I can understand because shipping large items sounds awkward to me) you could try selling them through a classified ad in your local paper, or online classified ads such as Craigslist (the advantage to online ads is you can post pictures, which is a great advantage).

      Or you could contact consignment stores, where you put them in the store, and if they sell they split the sale with you. Usually you'd want to take them to a consignment store that sells furniture, but in the case of suitcases some clothing consignment stores might take them.

      Or contact any antique stores in your area and see if you could sell the suitcases to them. Good luck!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a one suitcase that the NAME is VINTAGE. Appx. 9"D x 24"W x 33 L. & I can't find any info. for price to resell. It is in excellent condition. How much to resale?

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hmm. I've never seen one that has the name "Vintage" on it. I wonder if it is a newer suitcase made to look like a vintage style then? What to sell it for depends on a lot of factors. The color and style and condition being one of them. Look on eBay, using the Completed Listings option, to see what similar looking suitcases have sold for. But also, depending on how and where you sell it (some places in the country the prices can go for higher than others, and if you sell it via classifieds, at a consignment store or consignment store would affect how much you can sell it for too). If you sell it on eBay via auction then the "market" will decide the price for you (I'd start the auction at at least $9.99.)

      I've sold suitcases for anywhere between $10 and $60. Probably the best thing to do, if you don't want to do a lot more research, is go with a price that you'd be happy to let it go for. And if you start high and people think that is too high you can go lower and/or tell them to make you an offer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a set 4 pieces of vintage Ventrua "Casual Travelware" luggage ...three pieces, a large suitcase, overnight bag and garment bag look as if they have never been used...color tags and identification tag are intact. Train case has been used.All have locks and I have the key. The color is Gold. What is the approx value of this set?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have some Fliteline California luggage that's vintage. Ive seen the carry on bag on etsy.com but I can't find any other information about the brand or the bigger size bags it comes with, anyone ever heard of it?

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I've heard of it, but have no more info on it. Sorry.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey guys I have a 1930s suitcase is a lil rough but the hinges still close and its pretty sturdy im trying to sell it if anyone's interested email me thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi can someone tell me if smith trunk stores is a good brand name? It's pig skin thanks

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Sorry, I haven't heard of that. But the fact that it's made from leather (pigskin) instead of plastic or pressed cardboard sounds like it is of a higher quality to me. .... Actually I just decided to try to look it up on Google. It looks like you probably have an antique that, depending on the condition could be worth around $100 to $200...or it could be worth much less...it's hard to say.

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hey Matt...I'm not sure, but I don't think email addresses can be posted on here. Besides, it's probably best to try to sell your suitcase through one of the methods mentioned up above (just sell instead of buy).

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi, I have several old suitcases that I'm not sure how to tell how old they are. Any advice?

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Try to find similar vintage suitcases on eBay and see if the auctions mention any indication of age. If there are any names on the suitcases look them up not only on eBay, but also on search engines such as Google. You may be able to find ads for old suitcases shown on websites or on eBay, that can give you an idea. Go to antique stores and look at suitcases they may have there and see if those at the antique store knows their age. The more familiar you are with style, looks, material, etc. of suitcases of various time periods the easier it is to get a general idea of the age of the suitcases you are trying to date.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Do you have any photo of the suitcase how much are you wanting for it

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i have a maximillon 1950 ish traveling salesman suitcase bar i never seen another like it and i can't find any info or history about the company any info thanks

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 4 years ago

      @anonymous: There really isn't a lot of info written about suitcases and the companies that made them. Most of the info you would probably be able to learn about them is from looking on eBay and reading what the seller has to say about them. Look on eBay for vintage advertising for suitcases too. I do have another page about suitcases called Vintage Suitcases for the Home https://hubpages.com/living/vintagesuitcases that includes links to a book about vintage suitcases, but it is very expensive and I am not sure would address what you want.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      I love these suit cases so much. My husband used to have one that was involved in helping the ANC to get rid of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in the 70's and now it's in a very special museum in South Africa!! Great hub.

    • profile image

      Sneckers 2 years ago

      I have a vintage maximillion suitcase and train case matching set, they are in good condition however are missing the original keys, and the train case lacks the mirror and tray. I am looking to fix them up as a gift to my wife.

      Do you have any advice on how to go about this, or if there is anywhere that specializes in such things?

      Any ideas welcome

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 2 years ago

      Sorry, Sneckers...I didn't see that I had new comments. There is a website called brettunsvillage.com that refurbishes and sells old trunks, they also have vintage suitcases so they might have suitcase parts as well. You might have some luck searching eBay for things like "replacement tray" or keys for your brand of cases.

      I searched Google for "vintage suitcase repair" and found a few articles, mostly talking about cleaning and a few things about giving suitcases a whole new makeover (painting it, replacing the interior with new fabric, etc).

      The one main thing I'd do is vacuum the interior with the hose attachment on a vacuum.

    • DreamsBloom profile image
      Author

      DreamsBloom 2 years ago

      Adventuretravels ... that is really a cool suitcase story. Thank you for sharing. :)

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