Louis Vuitton's most famous traveler was man who was many people. Prince Louis-Joseph François de Chartres, who is also known as Louis XVI, had an original Louis Vuitton trunk that he used to travel with. He also owned a second trunk. Here is the story of this exceptional travel case.
The royal couple was not allowed to own any possessions, so Louis decided to make a purchase for them. This was a wonderful opportunity to make an investment in their future, as was a custom of the time. Along with a few other possessions, Louis bought a Louis Vuitton trunk. This trunk was the largest they had ever seen, and fit all of their possessions. It also had a lock mechanism that was new to them. Based on their limited experience with luggage, Louis decided to have a false bottom added to the case. This was the first time a false bottom was ever used on a Louis Vuitton luggage.
Louis created a design for the false bottom, based on the details of the lock mechanism. He was able to make an exact copy of the trunks he had owned in the past, but with a false bottom. He sent these trunks to his sister, Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria, who had a lock mechanism similar to his. Princess Elizabeth, who was living in France, was delighted with the trunks. It was likely she told her husband, the King of Bavaria, about them. The King was also thrilled to have matching luggage.
Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were forced to flee the country after the French Revolution in 1792. The pair lived in exile for the next 13 years. Their first thought was to build a new life in Vienna, Austria, but they were forced to move again when Napoleon Bonaparte, the man who would go on to become Emperor of France, took power. They moved to Brussels in Belgium and Louis took a job at the Royal Court.
This trunk is significant for several reasons: first, it shows the very first Vuitton luggage, which is a seemingly unlikely object for auction. More importantly, this trunks serial number enables us to determine when the trunks were produced, which can be a key element to determining their real value. The Deering Estate Foundation attributes an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 to this very nice trunks. 827ec27edc