Amelia Earhart captured the world's imagination in the 1930s. Our antiques expert evaluates a 1940s trunk bearing the famous aviator's name to see what it's worth today.
When I bought this trunk in the early 1940s, there was a complete line of Amelia Earhart luggage. I’ve kept it all these years and am wondering about its history and value.
—M.W., Boise, Idaho
What’s It Worth?
A: At age 23, Amelia Mary Earhart paid a dollar for her first 10-minute plane ride; two years later she had her pilot’s license. A pioneer of American aviation, she went on to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Guided by her publicist and husband, George Putnam, she endorsed a variety of products to finance her expeditions, including a line of women’s clothing and luggage.
Your trunk is part of a popular set of canvas-covered plywood luggage that sold well into the 1990s. Manufactured by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey, pieces came with a corrugated metal luggage key. (Some people reportedly believed they had Amelia’s personal suitcase key!) Long after her 1937 disappearance over the Pacific Ocean while attempting a daring flight around the globe, the famous aviator continues to capture the imagination of the world, and items bearing her name remain collectible. Your trunk is worth about $250.