Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table. Don AMECHE.
Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table.
Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table.
Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table.
Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table.

Don Ameche Two-Piece Leather Luggage Coffee Table.

Ameche (1908-93) was the amiable and versatile American leading man of the late 1930s in drama, comedies and musicals, perhaps best known for "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" (1939) but appearing in dozens of films well into the 1990s and on stage and television; he became more popular than ever late in life, appearing in "Trading Places" (1983) and winning an Oscar for the 1985 film "Cocoon." Item #46544

Offered here is the apogee of Ameche artifacts: The Don Ameche coffee table, a one-of-a-kind display (cocktail table, occasional table, end table....) comprised of Don Ameche's actual pair of vintage Hartmann leather suitcases stacked the larger atop the smaller. A 30" X 20" rounded-corner slab of clear plate glass tops it off, creating a spiffy coffee table surface, while visible beneath this glass top is an artful arrangement of Ameche images: Colorful sheet music featuring his portrait, reproductions of caricatures of Ameche, a superb 7¼" X 9" signed and inscribed glossy head-and-shoulders portrait and a fine 1936 bank check drawn on his Hollywood account and filled out and signed by him and made out to his wife Honore, who endorses the verso. Ameche's two pieces of Hartman luggage are each of a light, vellum-colored leather and each bears a brass "Hartmann / Custom built" tag on the handle side. A large, bold "DFA" (Dominic Felix Amici) is embossed below each leather handle. Each are in very good condition and bear matching wear -- moderate edgewear, some scuffing and scrapes, with strong darkening of the leather handles from serious use; outer leather spine strip on larger suitcase mostly perished (though internal leather hinge present and strong). The smaller of the pair (bottom half of the coffee table) measures 17" X 15" X 13" with single center locking clasp (lacks key, but fully functional). Burgundy cloth interior features leather-trimmed pockets on three sides and lid has single leather-trimmed pocket -- given shape of all pockets perhaps for carrying men's hats? Interior is near fine. The larger of the pair (top of the coffee table) measures 30" X 20½" X 9½" and has two metal locking clasps (lacks key, but fully functional). Each side also features a leather handle. Interior in matching burgundy cloth, with single zipped side pouch. Pair of canvas closing straps are fine, though leather holding straps on each side are present but disattached. The Hartmann brand was the Rolls Royce of luggage, and while their products are not dated, this company (founded in 1877 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was marketed as the luggage of choice for the rich and famous in the glamorous 1930s. Ameche was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin -- just down the road from Racine, Wisconsin, where Hartmann luggage was produced. It's quite likely that after he graduated from Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin the young thespian acquired this luggage not from the suitcases-for-the-stars supplier but from the local luggage company before flying the coop to try his hand as an actor, first in New York and vaudeville and then in Hollywood. The initials "DFA" suggest he acquired this pair while quite young, for Dominic Felix Amici quickly became "Don Ameche," the name he used for the rest of his life -- after the mid-1930s it's unlikely he would have had this pair customized with initials of a given name he no longer used. This pair is an extraordinarily unusual relic from a major star at the beginning of his long career -- yet is functional as well. For the diehard Don Ameche fan who has everything -- or thought he or she did.

Price: $2,500.00

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