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 page about identifying an antique desk.


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My mom gave me this desk over a decade ago, and I know nothing about it. Does anyone recognize this or have any clue as to how I could identify it? There do not appear to be any markings in or on the drawers.


July 26, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

You piece looks newer, meaning no older than the 1980s based on what I can see from the photos.


The construction looks newer, machine joining, etc. Do you know if it is the original hardware?

The piece looks a lot like a Bombay company piece, but they did not usually use that type of hardware, which is why I asked if they are original.

There are a lot of Bombay pages on Pinterst, so perhaps you can match your piece to one of their old catalogs or fan pages. Sadly the company has been gone for a while.

If you are asking because you want to sell the piece, sofa/console pieces typically sell from $25 to $200 depending on where you live and the supply and demand. In places like big cities where people live apartments they don't sell. They sell best in locations where people have large homes and space to put a table behind a sofa or by a window.

Post back what you learn! I will keep digging through my resources!

Thanks for sharing

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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
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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.
  • 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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February 29, 2020

This Victorian mahogany pedestal desk from around 1860 - based on the drawer lockers, which were made in the period (1851-1855) - has Chippendale style drawer pulls. What puzzles me is that there are no keyholes! The only explanation I've been able to come up with is that the desk has had its veneer exchanged at some time and the then owner didn't need the locks.


But exchanging the veneer must have cost more than the entire desk! Do you have a better explanation for the missing keyholes?


March 2, 20200 found this helpful
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There could be several explanations, the first of which was this did not start its life as a desk. It is possible it started out as a ladies vanity which would not have had locks and the mirror is long gone. This is a remote possibility as the piece does have a very masculine feel to it.

Can you tell if there are any places in the top that were refinished (meaning the holes for the mirror bolts were patched and filled)?

The other thing is that it is possible that the original drawers broke and were replaced. The hardware on the drawer pulls does not look original to me (at least not from the photos). I have very early 20th century desk and the pulls are a very dull brass. The ones you show look too shiny. Most of the desks of this era, at least those I have seen in PA and in the US, have pulls that are brass and you can see the age and patina in them to guesstimate if they are original or not.


The third is it truly did just come that way. I have seen very old desks with no keyholes/locks. Typically this was on the more feminine ladies writing desks, but it is possible that it just came that way.

It is a lovely piece and looks very sturdily made. Have you talked to an antique dealer in your town about it?

I find that many antique dealers where I am are very friendly and love to share information and help people understand what they have. It is always best to have someone look at it in person and give opinions vs. photos.

They may see something in person that I cannot see in photos and be able to give you an on the spot answer. Seeing pictures I can only speculate.

Thanks for sharing!!

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This secretary desk has been in the family for over 100 years and is in excellent condition. It's currently in storage so I can't check for markings.


Does anyone have any possible background information on it or the value?


January 10, 20201 found this helpful
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Unfortunately the photos are dark and do not show things that are important for me to see, like a full front view, a full back view and a better view of the legs. I would also want to see the construction of the drawers.

If you can post better photos next time you are at the storage facility, perhaps I can offer more specifics.

Cybergrannie has a lot of good furniture knowledge and she may see something I am not and offer you more guidance. She also knows some really good sites to get free appraisals once you have really good photos.

I can offer you tips on how to sell it once we figure out what you have.

Will look for more info from cybergrannie or better photos if you can see the piece. I feel bad I can't offer you more.

IDing furniture from a few photos is very challenging.

Thanks for asking!

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January 22, 2019

I would like to know about this piece of furniture that was left to me by my mother.


January 22, 20190 found this helpful

It is a beautiful piece of furniture. I can't make out the mark. To determine age, look at how the drawers are put together. Pins and dovetails were the way drawers were made before 1860, when machines took over. Here is a helpful article to read:

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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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January 23, 2019

I was wondering how much this old writing table was worth?

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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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November 17, 20180 found this helpful

I have one similar and know nothing. The ornateness is more on mine in the front yet sides and back are plain Jane. Mine is not in good shape as someone may have shallacked over the leather and the wood is extremely dried out. If you get more info on yours, I would love to know.

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This beauty was given to us by a dear friend, RIP, and belonged to her english grandmom. I would like to know how much is worth? The size is 79" in length by 30 inches wide. Also we have the key. I am not sure what kind of wood it is made from.


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July 23, 2019

I am looking for any info on this desk.

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December 4, 2018

I have a Bayveiw Michigan writing desk with fold down front and middle drawer. It has the number 76 on it. The wood is reddish in color. How can I determine the value?

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