Antique desks were once utilitarian furniture pieces that served multiple functions, such as storing pens, papers, books, and papers for writing.
Now, they occupy revered space in homes and businesses as showpieces, more often shown for display than used daily.
On furniture, the mark may be found on the desk itself or the hardware, including the lock.
When buying online, ask for pictures of any distinguishing signatures or marks.
When marks are not available, other characteristics provide valuable clues.
Collectors can find a wide range of antique desks with drawers, cubbyholes, and inkwells made from a variety of wood with fine brass or iron door pulls.
Some desks also feature unique carvings, stained glass, and mirrors.
This guide offers information on styles of antique desks and secretaries, historical periods, materials, and some useful ideas on what to avoid when searching. The generally accepted principle is that anything less than 100 years old is not a true antique.
However, many younger desks are popular as well, but they should really be called vintage. In fact, a vintage desk may be more valuable than an antique desk based on condition or rarity.
For collectors, divining the true value of any antique takes some research, but it is well worth it to ensure a proper price is paid for the desk or secretary.
Knowing as much as possible about the desk is advisable whether shopping online or in person.
The desk's age, origin, style, quality, and size are important factors that determine value.
The maker's mark is a valuable clue to determining the provenance, the origin, and manufacturer.