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Identifying an Antique Desk

Category Antiques
It can be difficult to identify vintage and antique furniture. Checking the bottom of the desk and of the drawers might reveal a manufacturer's stamp or seal. Scour the internet for similar pieces. Otherwise contact a dealer or appraiser. This is a guide about identifying an antique desk.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
February 22, 2018

Does anyone know what type of desk this is or where it may have been made? I can't find any markings.


February 23, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

The picture is kinda dark but it sure looks like a really neat desk. You will probably have to ask an antique dealer or get an on-line appraisal.

  • I have never seen a desk like this but it is possible there is something missing that would help identify it.
  • If you have any antique shops in your area you may be able to show them several photos and they might have something similar in one of their books.
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  • You can many times get free on-line appraisals and although they may not be accurate in the true value (what an item can bring in a sale) they can many times tell you something about the piece itself.
  • Here is a link that has several sites listed but many of them you will have to "log-on" to be able to seek a free appraisal. As far as I have gone it appears these are legitimate sites and give very good information.

Hopefully you will find out what type of desk you have so please reply or comment and let us know what you find out.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 17, 2018

Do you know anything about this desk? Such as the age and value?


August 17, 20180 found this helpful

I cant find the company, so it may be out of business. Your best bet is to bring the pictures to a dealer.

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August 17, 20180 found this helpful

Hi Judy,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my guestion. Now I have another question. How do I find a dealer? Lynda


PS I live around Buffalo NY.

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August 17, 20180 found this helpful

Here's a link about the company, which was based in Michigan and closed in 1983.

If you get to the Smithsonian, they have some of their catalogs on file:

You may be able to find an original ad for the item! That would be cool!

There are lots of Pinterest pages devoted to the comoany's secretary style writing tables, which is one of the names I have heard this style of desk called. The legs I call spinit piano...I have heard some desks like this refered to as piano style because of how it opens.

You may want to sort thru the Pinterest pages to pin down the age of your piece, which is lovely, by the way. I adore this style desk!!


You have a neat find. Some of the pieces still have value, but not all. I don't see an exact match at the moment in eBay's sold section. If you check back often, you can get an idea of what the are valued at in today's market.

Thanks for sharing this sweet item!

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August 19, 20180 found this helpful

There are quite a few of this style desk available so it is not rare and most were made during the approximate same era and most were mahogany.
This style is usually referred to as; spinet, writing or secretary desk.
Colonial Mfg. Company was only well known for making all kinds of expensive clocks and making side furniture was a very tiny portion of their business and most pieces were reproduced over and over until a small change was made that could still be produced with the same cuts and dies of the previous style piece.


If you are really interested in the company history, they produced several books that can still be purchased today or maybe downloaded for free.
Here is a 12 page (of 45 pages) link that describes their history but it is a very boring article unless you are really into the history of their clock manufacturing.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 21, 2018

I just bought this desk and I'm considering refinishing it. I'd like to find the value of it before I do though. I would rather not diminish the value by painting it. It's in almost perfect condition. Solid oak I think. It is 45 inches wide x 18 inches deep. I've looked in the drawers and on the back, but I can't find any identifying marks to indicate a year or a brand. Any thoughts?


January 21, 20180 found this helpful

Take the drawers out and look on the sides. The marking can also be on the bottom.

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May 26, 20180 found this helpful

there is an oak desk similar at
check it out to get an idea of value, it may help as it has very similar features to your desk.

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