Despite recent events, many people still associate the value of antiques by the rarity and quality of the wood, rather than the provenance of the porcelain. Certainly, antique desks and cabinets are the image we most associate with antique showrooms.
Of course, any antiques dealer in Preston relying on Victorian dining chairs to make a living will quickly go out of business. The term ‘Antique’ doesn’t just mean furniture; it means any item prized for its looks, utility or rarity, which is more than 100 years old. 75 years is probably more accurate, as this takes into account the Art Deco desk lamps and rare post-Victorian dining chairs you see in Preston antiques shops.
The sale of an antique Chinese Vase for £53 million could be said to be governed partly by international politics, although its auction-room value was still an impressive £1.2 million. So how does this compare to antique furniture in ‘conventional’ sales, i.e. those in which the lots stand firmly on their own four claw-and-ball feet?
For this, you need look no further than antique desks. In America, a 1760 Goddard Chippendale-style Secretary desk was sold for $12,100,000 at Christies. It remains the highest price ever paid for an item of American furniture. Its value is due to its rarity – only 7 of these uniquely crafted pieces were ever made, all of them private commissions.
Secretary desks are conventional slant-fronted antique desks supporting a glass-fronted bookcase. They have become very popular in Preston antique dealers. However, you won’t have to pay Christies prices! In Preston, look for antique desks in the Chippendale Revival style, which compare favourably with Goddard in terms of everything but price.