Instead of the paper tags used at airports today, Railroads in their early days used brass tags to keep track of luggage. One tag would be affixed to the bag and put into storage on the train, while the other tag would be given to the owner who could trade it in for their bag at the destination. Tags typically included the name of the railroad, an ID number, sometimes the name of the destination, or the company who produced the tag. Antique railroad baggage tags come in many different shapes, and have long slots on them for the leather straps that would attach them to the baggage. If a tag still has its original leather strap it can increase the value.
Manufacturer’s markings commonly found on these tags include:
“Am. Ry. S.Co. NY.” (American Railway Supply Company New York)
“W.W. Wilcox Chicago”
Other markings that may be found (this list is not exhaustive, there are others):
“Rand Avery & Co.”
“HOOLE BAGG. CHECK Co.”
“HOOLE MFG. CO. NEW YORK”
“J.P. COOKE & CO OMAHA”
“Sachs Lawlor, M&M Co.”
“CH Hanson, Chicago””
Prices for brass baggage tags can range from $50-90 on the low end and range up to over $1000 for rare pieces in good condition.