Vintage luggage Goyard era Vienna wardrobe trunk

An exceptional Austrian-made Wardrobe trunk circa 1925 by Wurtzl of Vienna. Canvas-covered, silk-lined in fine original condition with heavy cast brass locks and a contrast of hardware utilizing brass, zinc and steel. Leather was used only for the drawer pulls and handles...those have disintegrated with time. Useful aspects include the light-weight but sturdy construction which makes the trunk manageable, though it is fairly large. Another nice feature is that the two halves can be separated so the dresser drawers can be set up independantly of the closet. Some polishing was begun a few years ago but the process was not completed. The canvas is not painted. The original color, a reddish gesso tint, has faded in the last 80 years to a wheatstraw color. The original color can be stained back or any number of finishes appied, including shellac which would have been the standard choice at the time of manufacture. The present faded color has a nice look as is. T was a key but it fell apart years ago. It can easily be re-made because it was nothing more complicated than a single digit on a shaft. I've included a period key which can be ground by any competent locksmith to fit the lock. Without the key, it is necessary to remove the pin from the front latch (this is how I have been using it) and this can be done by hand with a small

That's the short-form. 's The Story.

Of course it has a story...it's a European travel trunk from before and during and after a Great War....... AND it was the property of an Actress...one Dolly Morgens.

A little more than a decade ago, my husband and I were in Amsterdam , arranging a tour series for a certain American entertainer. Because we had a lot of technical equipment in tow, we engaged storage through a dear friend in Amsterdam with an Auction House in the city. In the course of other concerns, this trunk came to auction. We liked the look. The brothers who owned the business informed that it was locked and could not be opened without breaking it or finding a key. Intriguing, in our opinion, but the bidders sat on their hands so we picked it up for 150 Guilders...about 65 Euros in today's currency...or about a million American Pesos. My husband sat on the floor of the auction storage for 6 hours going through a barrel of keys trying to find one that fit, only to find it in the second-to-last-key...a very simple design, as I said.

Upon opening, we discovered photos, letters, some old clothing...odd stuff like boas...odds and ends and lots of proof that the trunk did belong to traveling actress, Dolly Morgens. Her name is on the trunk exterior describing her as "Gepakt Artiste" which I believe means an Artist who travels. With a little research, the family was contacted and the story was told as follows:

Dolly had been a kind of low-dramatic performer of popular music and drama and her touring took her throughout Germany , Austria , Bohemia , Benelux etc. By the mid-thirties, concern over the militarization of Germany led the Dutch police to call Dolly in for questioning when she returned home from her travels. Her relatives tell that the family is certain she was not a "Spy", in any official capacity...that these were simply occasions to record her general opinion of things abroad... What had she seen? What had she heard? How did the Man in the Street feel about w things seemed to be heading? She must have complied to a point (and why not?) because when the Nazi government took over Amsterdam a few years later, t...
... read more