OAKLAND, Calif. – It can still happen. The $20 garage sale buy can still become the undercover treasure that turns into $5,600+ at auction. That’s exactly what happened at Clars Auction Gallery’s Aug. 8 Fine Estate Sale.The consignors bought at a local garage sale what they thought was a charming old trunk for just $20. When they later decided to downsize their possessions, they consigned the trunk to Clars for their August sale. Decorative Arts specialist Deric Torres evaluated the piece, identifying it as a circa-1900 E. Goyard trunk, still laden with original decals from an era long past. Travel decals included Cunard White Star and Pullman Golden Arrow, while other labels indicated the trunk had visited France, Italy and England, including London’s Victoria Station.
The steamer trunk itself, produced by the French luxury luggage maker, Francois Goyard, measured 22 inches high by 32 inches wide and 19 inches deep. The latches were signed “Goyard Aine, Monte Carlo, Biarritz, Paris,” and “G.N.F., S.F. No 4” was painted on the exterior.
The consignors believed that the trunk may have been owned by a San Francisco opera star who traveled the world. Unable to confirm this provenance, Torres and the staff at Clars assigned the conservative presale estimate of $1,500 to $2,500 on the piece. Possible provenance aside, the bidding went crazy when the trunk came up. Quickly surpassing its high estimate, the trunk sold for an astounding $5,629 – a new auction record for a single Goyard trunk of this style. Needless to say, the consignors were thrilled with the result.