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Antiques Considered - October 6, 2010

This pine desk dates from the mid-nineteenth century.  The owners purchased it at an antique shop in Pennsylvania many years ago.   It already had been refinished, but the knob and hinges are original.  The top contains an inkwell, and the doors are held together with mortise and tenon construction.
The interior below the writing surface has the traditional segmented sections for letters and writing tools, and the cabinet below is plain.  Structurally, it is in excellent condition, and is finished on the back, thus it can be displayed with all four sides visible.

This item is a fine example of its genre, a practical piece of furniture with good lines and ample space for utilitarian purposes.  I especially like the slanted writing surface, as that is the most comfortable type for me to use.  I am sure many others would agree.  The overall workmanship is exemplary.
The wood tone is quite good, and the refinishing is attractive, and perhaps was necessary depending on the previous condition of the desk.  It could have been a schoolmaster’s desk, a store piece or for home use.  It dates from a time when people were shorter and does not have space underneath for knees when one is sitting, thus I suspect it could have been from a store.
As the owners purchased it in Pennsylvania nearly fifty years ago, it probably originated there.  In all likelihood the writing surface probably had a felt or tooled leather surface applied to the wood, which was lost in the refinishing process.
The desk is worth $350, and would make a handsome addition to any home, whether antique or modern.  One of this variety with the original finish and writing surface would be worth over $500.   I suggest checking the bottoms of the legs to see if originally they terminated in casters.  If so, replacements are readily available, both through manufacturers and online.
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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