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As the use of staff declined, relatively compact and lightweight personal luggage became more important to the discerning traveller, sometimes embossed with initials or crests.

While Louis Vuitton is probably the best-known name for highquality luggage of this kind, venerable British firm Mappin & Webb is also a manufacturer frequently offered at auction.

In the March 4 JP Humbert Jewellery and Antiques sale in Northamptonshire, the gentleman’s black leather vanity case pictured above right, stamped Mappin & Webb, is estimated at £500-800.

On opening it reveals a full array of silver bottles, brushes, comb, mirror, travel clock, button hook, shoehorn, and so on – the range of personal grooming products essential to a gentleman. Hallmarked for London 1919 and Birmingham 1919, this case measuring 16½ x 12½ x 7½in (42 x 32 x 19cm) bears a gilded monogram GP.

It has been privately entered (with no reserve) by a local gentleman. JP Humbert says it has been in his family’s possession for at least 80 years but unfortunately the vendor is unsure who the original owner might have been.


Got an interesting auction coming up?

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