Nothing goes better with a fine vintage car than some fine vintage luggage to display on the roof or nestle in the boot. Back in the day, many trunk makers used to design cases to fit particular car models as a matter of course – Moynat even curved the trunk bases to fit the roof. Today, it is still possible to order one from Moynat and other brands, but often at vast cost, so for those who’d like such a fabulous and timeless item, it makes sense to search for it at auction – where heritage and history are also part of the patina of any find.
Bonhams makes the process blissfully easy. For several years it has run a vintage-car auction at the Goodwood Revival meeting, and there cannot be a better place to enthuse people for investing in classic motors. Alongside the cars usually go one or two vintage trunks, but this year it has excelled itself, with a selection of nine bags, including two hatboxes, two classic trunks and a steamer bag, as well as 13 suitcases. There are indeed two models from Moynat – not the curved-bottomed sort, but one of them a rare 1910 style, the oldest item in the sale. There is also a very distinctive 1930s Hermès suitcase.
The rest, not unexpectedly, are Louis Vuitton, with their signature LV coated-canvas finish. They vary from a large trunk with wooden bands, through smaller, slimmer cases – mostly from the 1930s to the 1950s, to the 1960s steamer bag. As Toby Wilson, Bonhams’ head of automobilia, points out, “vintage luggage evokes images of exciting holidays in exotic destinations, when the golden age of travel was full of charm and mystique”. And it’s very desirable too – in which case, estimates that vary from £600 to £1,500 look distinctly low. So don some vintage glad rags and head to Goodwood for a potential bargain.