My Favorite Victorian Antique

by John Werry on December 12, 2007

Plantation desk 796788 My Favorite Victorian AntiqueI’m sure everyone has a favorite piece in their antique collection and picking out just one to be “the favorite” is like picking your favorite child, but for me it’s a relatively easy choice… and I don’t have children.

Mine is a Renaissance Revival “Plantation Desk” that I purchased at a local auction, somewhat in disrepair. The desk panel would get stuck and one of the doors was no longer attached; a victim of damage and makeshift repairs. Best I can tell from my records, I picked it up for $475. The repair to the door hardware was beyond my immediate skills or time so I sent it to a neighborhood repair shop and it was cleaned and fixed soon thereafter.

This desk greets me every morning as I head to the kitchen for coffee, is there every time I walk up and down the stairs, and every time I leave or enter the house.

It serves many purposes in our household on a daily basis: holding pens, pencils, scratch paper, Cat 5 cables, phone books, restaurant menus, screwdrivers, picture hanging hardware, packing tape, and a cigar humidor. It gets used every day like a workhorse and it is 130 years old, yet I bet that it has never looked better.

It’s original finish has an amazing reddish glow that is so rich it warms my heart to see it. What I believe to be the original key sits perpetually in one of it’s two locks. The inevitable scratches and scars acquired over a century of use, though minimal, seem to endear you even more to it. It looks and feels like that perfect pair of slippers that you break in and then slip into every day.

Sure, I have other pieces made by more notable makers and worth much more money but most of them lack the warmth or rigidity for incorporation into daily life. It seems to me that my favorite piece is the one that has most become a part of our life.

Jason Flatt recently posted pictures of a child’s armoire in the forum that was purchased in 1876 by the original owners of his house. The great-grandson of that prior owner recently gifted it to him and his wife after their first child was born. I think I know which piece is Jason’s favorite.

Which piece from your collection is yours?

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