This month we’ll be appraising one of the items sent in by our readers. John from Lake Ariel writes: “I have an old doctor’s bag but I have no idea when it’s from or if it has any value. The leather is in good condition, the maker’s mark and serial number are clearly legible, and the clasp functions well. The only problems are that one of the compartment hinges has been broken off, some of the interior plastic-like coating has started to peel, and the plastic holder strap in the main compartment has started to come off. The damage seems minor; could I still get a good price for this?”
The Schell Leather Company produced leather goods roughly from the late 1800s or early 20th century until the 1980s. The company was founded in Cincinnati by Albert and Charles J. Schell and moved around Ohio as it grew, before finally settling in St. Petersburg, Florida, after its sale.
Your bag, based on the style and appearance, is from the early 1940s. The number you mention is actually a patent number for the locking mechanism, and dates from 1942, according to Google patents. Also, the Emdee trademark expired in 1988.
Doctor’s bags of this type and age, in great condition, may sell at auction for $50 and up. We have even seen great examples bring $150 or more. But in an age of repurposing old items, someone might make this into a briefcase. Despite the internal flaws, it should be possible to get $25–$35, even up to $50.
Thanks to John for writing. Keep the items and photos coming! Send items and questions to the editor of the Scranton edition of the Independent Gazette, or call the Kitson and Company Gallery direct at (570) 499–5484 for an appointment. Kitson and Company is located at 34 East Tioga Street, Tunkhannock.
Until next month, happy treasure hunting!