Fisher Dowry Trunk
Fisher Dowry Trunk

JANUARY 21, 2014- Carl Fisher is one of the most unique, historic figures in Indiana, and is most well-known here as one of the partners who envisioned and developed an automobile race track in Indianapolis, now known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Today, Fisher is memorialized in the Speedway, IN, school system, with an elementary school located just blocks from the famous racing oval bearing his name. He is also referred to on the Indiana History Center’s web site as the “Hoosier Barnum”, as he was well-known as a tireless promoter and publicist. Fisher enjoys similar notoriety in Florida, as the visionary who transformed a swampy area of southeast Florida into what is now known as Miami Beach, with some of his business projects still operating today.

Included in Fisher’s legacy in Florida is the Caribbean Club, which opened as a poor-man’s fishing retreat in Key Largo and was used in 1947 by Warner Brothers as inspiration for the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film, Key Largo. It also served as a filming location for exterior shots in the film.

In 1909, the 35-year-old Fisher married Jane Watts, 24, who later wrote the book “Fabulous Hoosier; A Story of American Achievement”, chronicling her life with Carl during their marriage, which ended in divorce in 1926.

dowrytrunklong600wAt the couple’s wedding, Jane’s grandparents presented her with a Spanish-style dowry trunk which, after decades of a circuitous route of ownership (trunk went from Indiana to Florida to Virginia and back to Indiana), is now featured to be sold at auction January 25th at Wickliff Auctioneers in Carmel, IN. The 75-inch long trunk is catalogued as lot 387, and is made of cypress, with white and yellow pine interior, and features bronzed and iron locks and hardware. The trunk also includes a brass plate (later addition) attached inside identifying the trunk, and comes with other documentation, including a copy of the “Fabulous Hoosier” book and a copy of a story written about the trunk in the Miami Herald. The pre-sale estimate for the historic trunk is $3000-$5000.

Darin Lawson, auction house President and Senior Auctioneer, said of the trunk, “It’s a real piece of American history, and we are pleased to represent it here. Our estimate is a rough guess regarding value, and we hope there will be some interest by museum and history centers. The trunk could sell for much more, or much less; we’ll find out on auction day”.

Wickliff Auctioneers is located 12232 Hancock Street, Carmel, IN, and is regarded as Indiana’s Leading Fine Arts Auctioneers. Auctions are typically monthly, and onsite, absentee and online bidding is available. More information is available at or by calling 317-844-7253.





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