One of our Superb Large Antique Partners Desks

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Selling an Antique Desk?

As long established international antique furniture dealers in the UK are often get asked what is the best way to sell an old (antique) desk.

In fact this is a question we get asked several times most weeks.  As peoples circumstances change they often don't want to keep that lovely piece of antique furniture that has served them so well over the years.

The good news is that there is always a good demand for quality pieces of antique furniture that are useful in today's world.  Here are 3 ways that you could approach the sale of your desk

Route 1 - Online.  Yes - the DIY sell it yourself approach.  These days there are so many options for selling online.  If you are prepared to take some photos, write a good honest description and perhaps help to deliver the desk (or make arrangements to have it delivered to the new buyer) then this can be a good way forward.  See our top 5 tips for online sales at our sister Blog from Antiques4Cottages.  The issue with this approach can be knowing what price to set for your desk - however a small amount of online research should quickly reveal the "going rate" for similar pieces

Route 2 - Auction.  Using a professional auction house can be a good route for both "standard" and "rare" desks.  A professional auction house will provide an estimate of value and their terms of business.  This can be a useful route for those wishing to have a sale with minimum fuss and without the need to deal face to face with the buyer.  It may be a good idea to shop around between auction houses to see who have the most favourable terms and commissions - not all auction houses are the same!  And also beware any hidden fees for transport, storage or photography.   Local auction houses can help with most transactions however if you believe that you have a rare or unusual desk then it may be best to contact an auction house of national or international repute who can market the desk more widely.

Route 3 - Sell to a Dealer.  We often buy desks direct from private clients.  We offer at least the same price that would be obtained at auction  and we handle all the paperwork and transportation.  The sale can be a simple transaction or a sale on "consignment" - whereby the dealer will market the desk alongside his regular stock and then take a fixed amount or percentage once the desk sells at the amount agreed with the vendor (this route may realise a higher price but can take longer).  Ideally it would be a good idea to approach a number of dealers (perhaps by email with photos, dimensions and a description of the desk) to get the best price.  For a rare high value desk it may be best to approach dealers with a national or even international client base.

More information on antique desks, antique writing, library and office furniture is available at our website

Thursday, 10 September 2015

10 Reasons to Buy an Antique Desk

Here is an extract from  our website which explains 10 advantages of buying an antique desks, rather than a modern desk or even a reproduction or replica desk.

"Ten reasons why we think you should consider buying a genuine antique desk:

Style.   Whether you prefer Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Arts & Crafts or Art Deco. Whether you prefer classic mahogany, mellow oak or figured rosewood or walnut, there will be a style to suit you and your home or office

Price.   Price is often a consideration. Genuine Antique Desks offer fantastic value for money - in many instances they are now significantly cheaper than modern reproductions

Quality.   Fine antique furniture was made to last - substantial and robust, a well restored antique desk will last (another) life time. The ultimate in "re-cycling".

Investment?   Not necessarily - BUT - a quality antique desk will certainly retain a good proportion of its value better than a new piece of furniture. If you choose carefully and choose a stylish piece (perhaps one that is also marked by a well known cabinet marker) then it will certainly be sought after by future generations

A Piece of History.   A fine antique desk will have been used by many people over its lifetime. Just possibly it will also have traceable history to interesting users in the past. It may have markers that directly point to a specific period or maker. It will certainly have character and style, and be unique.

Antique Desks Antique Desks Antique Desks

Practicality.   These pieces of furniture were made for working! Historically people used them extensively whether at home for day to day correspondence or their workplace. They are generally a thoroughly practical proposition for today's world of home working and computers.

Size Matters!   Antique desks come in all shapes and sizes - from ladies small writing desks to full sized office partners desks

Period Features.   A Georgian Desk for a Georgian House, a Victorian Desk for a Victorian house, an Edwardian desk for an Edwardian house - match your desk to your home and/or office in an authentic manner

"The Full Monty"   With care it is possible to find a full suite of antique office furniture that matches your fine antique desk. Antique writing and library tables, antique bookcases, antique desk and library chairs, antique reading tables and stands - our clients have bought all these extra pieces to match their desk

Finally.   Why buy a reproduction when you can have the real thing at a great price and a desk that will last a lifetime !?! "

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Friday, 31 July 2015

Antique Desks by Shapland & Petter Barnstaple UK

This is an extract from our website -

To read more about this and 14 other famous antique desks makers please go to our "Famous Desk Makers" web page

Antique Desks by Shapland & Petter Barnstaple UK

The company was established by Henry Shapland (b. 1823), a cabinet maker by trade. Henry Petter was an accountant who entered into partnership with Mr Shapland. In 1864 they bought the Raleigh Factory in Barnstaple, Devon. Iin 1888 the building burnt down but was immediately replaces by a bigger factory which included many modern inventions.


The two Henrys died within two years of each other - Petter in 1907 and Shapland in 1909. In 1924 Shapland and Petter merged with the Barnstaple Cabinet Company, producing North Devon's biggest industry. During the First World War Shapland's skilled craftsmen turned their hands to wooden propellers for the aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps. After the war, public tastes changed, and hand carved furniture was too expensive for many. Shapland's output now included elegant veneered pieces with smooth Art Deco lines. The company fitted out Pullman carriages and ocean liners and made hand-carved church furniture. The famous England Rugby Captain W. W. Wakefield was appointed Company Director in 1927. Throughout the depression of the late 1920's and early 1930's the company still managed to produce high quality work.

Furniture manufacturing continued until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. After the war came radio cabinets and laboratory and contract furniture, until eventually large quantities of doors were being produced for hospitals, hotels, schools, offices and other buildings.

Shapland and Petter were renowned for excellent design and workmanship. Much of the work involved intricate leaded glass panels, or inlaid fruitwood designs, like the white bedroom suite shown in the exhibition here. This type of work is typical of Art Nouveau 1895 to 1910, inspired by the fluid shapes of plants and flowers. Many pieces were made from standard designs. There were hundreds to choose from, and a selection could be seen in local and London showrooms and in catalogues. Although mass-produced, this furniture was well-made by skilled technicians and modern machinery.
Inlaid Oak Writing Desk by Shapland and Petter
43" (109cm) Inlaid Oak Writing Desk by Shapland & Petter c1900
Antique Mahogany Writing Desk by Shapland & Petter
48" (122cm) Mahogany Writing Desk by Shapland & Petter c1900