Loading Spinner

Desks - General

The earliest known images of desks in use date to 1440, when drawings depicting scribes sitting at sloped desks copying documents, manuscripts, and books. By the Renaissance era, the desk had come into its own as not only a work space for the literate few, but as a status symbol for the social elite.

Some of the most popular work stations produced were French Provincial desks. They were decorated with cabriole legs and scalloped carvings and rendered in oak, cherry, walnut, beech, or fruitwood. Others preferred multi-purpose pieces with more built-in storage like the Chippendale secretary desk, which boasted a drop-front writing surface, chest-style drawer,s and bookcase-like top.

The kidney desk, which first appeared in 18th-century France and England, made a strong return in the late 1940s. The style remains popular in traditional and contemporary design today.

Thanks to John D. Loughlin, who designed the first scaled-down desks for school use in 1880, children of all ages could have their own dedicated work space. Now, antique school desks have become hits with parents and nostalgic collectors alike.

From the stand-up desks preferred by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson to classic executive desks used by corporate leaders, desks in all forms are popular at auction.

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Vintage Desk 32” X 60” X 22”
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Desk 32” X 60” X 22”
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$4324 Bids
Walnut inlaid slant-top desk - Ohio River Valley
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Walnut inlaid slant-top desk - Ohio River Valley
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$45012 Bids
bp parity badge
PERIOD STYLE WALNUT DESK/SIDE TABLE WITH 4 DRAWERS
Mar 07, 9:00 AM AEST
PERIOD STYLE WALNUT DESK/SIDE TABLE WITH 4 DRAWERS
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD407 Bids
Vintage Wooden Two Drawer Glass Top Desk 33" X 37" X 20"
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Wooden Two Drawer Glass Top Desk 33" X 37" X 20"
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$86 Bids
A Fine Dutch Marquetry Desk
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
A Fine Dutch Marquetry Desk
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $250- $500
$1303 Bids
A nordic pine two drawer knee hole desk
Mar 10, 7:00 PM AEDT
A nordic pine two drawer knee hole desk
by Lawsons
Est: AUD400- AUD600
AUD203 Bids
Antique C.1850s-1860s Salmon Chase Davenport Desk
Mar 09, 10:00 AM MST
Antique C.1850s-1860s Salmon Chase Davenport Desk
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$653 Bids
FRENCH EMPIRE MAHOGANY CYLINDER DESK
Mar 12, 11:15 AM EDT
FRENCH EMPIRE MAHOGANY CYLINDER DESK
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1102 Bids
SPANISH CARVED WALNUT DESK
Mar 12, 11:15 AM EDT
SPANISH CARVED WALNUT DESK
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1102 Bids
Arts And Crafts Mission Oak Slant Front Secretary Desk
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Arts And Crafts Mission Oak Slant Front Secretary Desk
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$552 Bids
French Provincial carved walnut bureau plat
Mar 07, 10:00 AM EST
French Provincial carved walnut bureau plat
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
19th Century Mahogany Lap Desk
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
19th Century Mahogany Lap Desk
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $150- $300
$201 Bid
Paris Maine Child Roll Top Desk and Chair
Mar 23, 6:30 PM EDT
Paris Maine Child Roll Top Desk and Chair
by Gary R. Wallace Auctioneers Inc.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
5 School Desk, AS IS, CUSTOMER MUST PICK UP
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
5 School Desk, AS IS, CUSTOMER MUST PICK UP
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
bp parity badge
Antique Mahogany Leathertop Campaign Desk
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Antique Mahogany Leathertop Campaign Desk
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
ANTIQUE QUILLWORK WRITING SLOPE, LAP DESK
Mar 12, 11:15 AM EDT
ANTIQUE QUILLWORK WRITING SLOPE, LAP DESK
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
Vintage French Provincial Louis XV Wooden Desk
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage French Provincial Louis XV Wooden Desk
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $200
$11 Bid
WOOD AND LEATHER WRITING SLOPE
Mar 13, 11:15 AM EDT
WOOD AND LEATHER WRITING SLOPE
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
Adlerpult. Wohl 19. Jh. | Holz, beschnitzt, farbig gefasst. Adlerrücken lederbezogen.
Mar 22, 12:00 PM CET
Adlerpult. Wohl 19. Jh. | Holz, beschnitzt, farbig gefasst. Adlerrücken lederbezogen.
by Scheublein Art & Auktionen
Est: €600- €800
€6001 Bid
French Louis XV Style Green Japanned Writing Desk, 20th c., H.- 30 in., W.- 51 1/2 in., D.- 26 3/4 in.
Mar 08, 10:00 AM CST
French Louis XV Style Green Japanned Writing Desk, 20th c., H.- 30 in., W.- 51 1/2 in., D.- 26 3/4 in.
by Crescent City Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$3001 Bid
French Modern Ash and Laminate Desk, 1950s
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
French Modern Ash and Laminate Desk, 1950s
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Biggs Furniture Richmond Virginia Secretary Desk
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Biggs Furniture Richmond Virginia Secretary Desk
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
Plastic lap desk/3 tier desk organizer
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
Plastic lap desk/3 tier desk organizer
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Desks - General


Ashcroft and Moore

Ashcroft and Moore

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Piasa

Piasa

King Galleries

King Galleries