A 130-year-old trunk from the French luxury brand, Louis Vuitton, which could well have belonged to the Russian royal family, is now a museum item. But not long ago, it was being used to store corn for chickens in eastern Ukraine.
Aleksandr and Aleksandra Sokhranych from the tiny village of Mokhnach had no idea they were in possession of a historical artifact. They treated the trunk, which was branded with the letters “LV” on its sides, as just a handy item that was good for keeping their grain dry.
It went on like this for decades, until one of their relatives, who knew a thing or two about the posh lifestyle, enlightened the couple. To their credit, Aleksandr and Aleksandra didn’t even try to sell the trunk, but passed it on to a local ethnographic museum for safekeeping.
Museum Director Maksim Bulakh told RT’s Ruptly video agency that he had checked the trunk’s authenticity at a Louis Vuitton boutique in Kiev. He learned that it was likely produced in early 1880s and cost at least $11,000. This would have been a huge sum for the two pensioners, but the artifact could actually fetch a lot more at auction, considering that it may have a pretty exciting history behind it. Some Louis Vuitton trunks have previously been sold by auctioneers for more than $100,000.
Bulakh believes that the item may have originated on board a Russian imperial train, which derailed in the area in 1888. Some 30 people were killed in the crash, while Tsar Alexander III was said to have supported the roof of a carriage on his shoulders to allow his family escape. The local peasants, including the ancestors of the Sokhranychs, helped with the rescue effort and were gifted the passengers’ belongings as a token of gratitude.
However, this is just one possible scenarios. The trunk could also have been brought home as a trophy by a Soviet Army soldier, who liberated Europe from the Nazis during the World War II. It’s also possible that it belonged to a rich citizen of the Russian Empire, who somehow parted with it during his travels, Bulakh said.
Meanwhile, Aleksandr and Aleksandra have replaced the Louis Vuitton trunk with a large stainless steel pot, which also does the job, so their chickens have nothing to worry about.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!