Buying an antique desk can be a daunting undertaking if you are unsure where to start.
We have a few pointer here to help you think through what to look for in a desk and a suppler.
We would suggest finding a reputable antique dealer rather than risking a purchase from an online auction site whos descriptions may not be accurate. We have seen reproduction furniture being sold as authentic, and production dates wildly out. Unless you have some knowledge of what you are looking at and expertise in assessing antique furniture it can be a mine field.
So we would recommend finding an antique furniture dealer who offers customer protection, has a returns policy if you are not happy and can supply a certificate of authenticity on the age and description of the piece you are buying. Look for a business that has the backing of a professional association such as LAPADA, or CINOA, which operates by a strict code of conduct.
Many people value the beauty, quality and expert workmanship that antique furniture has to offer. They choose to invest in good quality antique furniture and despite a recent slump in ‘brown furniture’ antique desks have never really gone out of fashion and have always remained popular in Europe, USA and Canada.
Look at the Drawers:
A good indicator of quality are the drawer linings, those made in oak, mahogany and cedar are generally best.
Also most antique cabinet work has been crafted by hand and the drawers have small fine dovetailed joints.
If you see thick wide dovetails this suggests they have been machine made.
Look at the locks and furniture stamps:
If the piece has the original locks, and especially if they are stamped with the manufacturers name this is also an indicator of good quality.
N.B. Most old desks have been restored at least once during their life and this is not going to detract from the authenticity of the piece.
Check that it has been restored sympathetically not overdone and undertaken in a traditional manner with a
French polished or waxed finish, not polyurethane varnish!
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