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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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.
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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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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
Best Answer

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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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 1, 20200 found this helpful Go to the website it will tell all about antique furniture,and when it was built.

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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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January 22, 20190 found this helpful

This is an amazing piece!! I suggest taking good photos or the piece if you can, to a trusted antique dealer and getting his/her professional expertise on exactly what you have.

I have never seen a piece quite like it! It has the spools, the drop leave, the cubbies!! In the right market with the provenance correctly documented, I am thinking it will fetch a decent amount for you.

The challenge with pieces like this are it may be a one of a kind (meaning it has been modified over the years). Also for selling, the average person will be more willing to pay the true value to a dealer, than a "lay person".

Please post back what you learn! I am so excited to hear about it. Just a stunning piece!!!

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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?


December 4, 20180 found this helpful

The best way to find the value is to locate an exact version of yours on either eBay or one of the furniture auctions and see what it SOLD for. Never use asking price to set a value. I can list something for a million dollars, but if someone only pays me $1 then that is today's value! That is the new wave of the market!!

Once you find a sold example, that will give you today's current market value. Not all are advertised with the number, so research an be time consuming as you have to match photos.

Be sure to search it as Bay View and bayview as I have seen them listed both ways. I have also seen them listed just by style--like spinet leg or spinet desk or ladies writing table. Get creative in your search and it will shorten the research time!

Without a picture, I can't only give you some samples of what is out there...

The ones I am giving you are UNSOLD, so you will have to watch them to see if they sell and for how much:

This one has a number that isn't yours, but I am including it because it gives some good info about the company:

Worthpoint has one that sold, but i recently learned they changed their rules and I am not able to pay for their membership at the moment...if you know someone who has one, this one was actually sold, but you have to join and pay now to get the particulars (GRRR):

These are neat pieces and some have held their value. Condition is everything with these, so if yours is in good shape, it will fetch more than one that has been well loved.

You are also probably best to sell it through a trusted vintage furniture dealer as if it is one of the more valuable ones, people on the Facebook or other sites may want to scam you with payment and you don't need that.

Post back what you learn and a photo if you are so inclined.

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December 4, 20180 found this helpful

A similar desk was reduced to $540 and did not sell

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June 30, 2019

This piece has been in our family for a long time. I think it was made in the late 1800s, but I am not sure about that. Any idea what I have here?

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June 23, 2019

I inherited this writing desk and know only that it may be a civil war era desk. It has a red leather inlay on the writing surface that my dad replaced. Can you help me with some clues to identify its origins? I looked under it and on all the sides of the drawer for any company name or tag and there is none. Your assistance is much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

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