Selling an Antique Drop Down Desk?

I'm thinking of selling this piece. I bought it several years ago at a garage sale from an elderly couple. Unfortunately, it doesn't have markings of any kind. I looked everywhere. I just want to make sure I don't undersell it. Thanks in advance.
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September 4, 20180 found this helpful

This is a neat piece...and I may be able help give you more info if you can add a few things...

1. Is the back real wood or is it particle board? You can feel the different by knocking on it...wood has a rich sound, particle board sounds hollow and feels rough to the touch.

2. Are the drawers dove tail grooves or are they nailed together, screwed together, glued together?

3. What is used to hold up the shelves--are they plastic clips or wood ledges?

At first this looked like an antique...but zooming makes me think it is a 1980s piece...just want to be able to do my due diligence before answering.

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Thanks!

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September 5, 20180 found this helpful

The drawers are dovetailed. I thought I had included a picture of an open one but I guess not. The back is open but real wood. The shelves are held up by little wooden dowels. Thank you for your help.

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September 5, 20180 found this helpful

It should say the back is thin, not open. Like plywood.

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September 5, 20180 found this helpful

It should say the back is thin, not open. Like plywood.

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Anonymous
September 5, 20180 found this helpful

I didnt mean to say the back is open, I was speaking my answer. It should say thin. Like plywood.

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September 6, 20181 found this helpful

Thanks for posting the extra pictures!

While I am far from an expert, I like to dabble in furniture and have a few comments for you that I hope are helpful in finding a value and deciding whether to sell or not.

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These pieces are typically referred to as a secretary or a combination bookcase or a side by sideso when you are searching for comparables you may have to search a bunch of ways to find a match.

The hard thing is you probably will NOT find an exact matchbecause there were many of these utilitarian pieces made in the 20th century. Also, people frequently modified these to meet their own needs so you may never find an exact match (like removing a shelf, changing hardware, prying off the gingerbread decorations, etc.).

These were workhorse pieces and got a lot of use so they also got damaged and parts wore out and were replaced.

Yours has nice dovetail drawers, it looks plywood base, which would date (most likely) after 1928probably into the early 1930s (no wire drops on the desk leaf that were popular in the 1950s).

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The cuts on the legs and other details also confirm it was most likely machine madeagain pointing to the late 1920s. I say this with the caveat that I cannot see and touch it and look at screws etc.because it could be a really nice reproduction piecewhich would take a true expert to tell you).

I would call this piece craftsman style (not all fu-fu and girly like the Victorian gingerbread). That era ended in the late 1920svery early 1930s (depending on who you talk to).

If this is a 1928ish piece, the back looks like it is replaced as an original back would look much more weathered (see this link for what I would want to see in an original back)
www.ebay.com/.../132744717753?hash=item1ee833a5b9...

For me, setting a value is going to be a bit of a challenge because it is going to be very hard to find an exact matchand I am all about exact matches when valuing.

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This is one of the few times I suggest using the genre as a guide (see below).

You could take it to an antique dealer and ask him/her to give you an insurance valuewhich would tell you what it is worth in your area.

If you dont want to invest the time hauling it or pictures of it around, you have some options if you want to do it yourself and sell...

1. To find the genre value, you can use eBay as a guide (looking only at what is SOLD) and find the average range of saleswhich I did today and is between $50 and $200so the average is about $100-$110 if I carried my ones correctly).

I used this link:

www.ebay.com/.../i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=oak+combination...

I will tell you that selling it online would be a nightmare as you would either have to worry about shipping or someone coming to pick it up.

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Selling on Facebook or Craigslist would be your best bet. I would start it in the low $200s (which is what the most expensive one got on eBay) and take best offer (always start high and work down).

2. You can take it to an antique or consignment store and have them sell it for youwith them taking a percentage. They will know the audience of your area and if here is a high demand, low supply or low demand and high supplywhich dictates the price.

It is a nice find! If it were me, I would enjoy it if you have room. It can be quite versatile as it holds todays laptops nicely!

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September 7, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks for all your help, it was more than I expected! I really appreciate it. I learned a lot. :)
Cindy

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September 7, 20180 found this helpful

Happy to help! I love cool pieces like this! It's neat to think about it's history and how it was used!

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Anonymous
October 7, 20180 found this helpful

Pretty piece but right now the antique furniture market is really soft

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September 4, 20180 found this helpful

It is a nice piece. I would take the pictures to a dealer or two to get verbal appraisals

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September 17, 20180 found this helpful

Unusual piece in that the overall design is different than the usual style we normally see. I have not seen even one piece with this type of legs and usually there is "something" ornate about the piece but nothing like that on your desk.

  • I also believe these are normally called a side-by-side secretary desk but then you will find them being called by a lot of other names also.
  • Pghgirl has provided a lot of information so I do not believe that I can add anymore to her statements.
  • I like to see people ask for appraisals when they have no idea as to what value to place on a vintage/antique piece as these appraisals can provide a lot of information that is difficult to obtain otherwise. Appraisals can also be a very good selling point when listing an item.
  • Appraisals are generally used for insurance purposes so you would have to reduce the value quoted for a retail/resale value. Some say to reduce a quote by 30-40% unless the appraisal states they are quoting a retail value.
  • I would suggest you ask for an appraisal from several different sites.
  • www.whatsellsbest.com/.../antiques.html
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