Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lap Desks – Daryle Lambert's Antiques and Collectibles Blog – Bygone Days

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 Lap Desk

Ladies and gentlemen who were traveling in the 19th century often spent the time writing letters to friends, family and loved ones. Since it took so long to go places in those days, the lap desk was created and every proper family owned one. They were particularly popular in England. Today they are highly sought after by collectors because of their beauty and I promise that if you find one, it won't stay in your inventory long.

These small writing desks could be very elaborate, with mother of pearl and ivory inlay. Some even had gold designs on them. The finest exotic woods were often used in their construction and they were made so that they contained everything needed for letter writing. They have beauty comparable to the music boxes that bring thousands of dollars in the marketplace.

You may run across one of these little jewels anywhere and, if they can be bought right, you will reap a fairly substantial profit. It doesn't take much of a lap desk to fetch $1000 and if it was purchased for $100 I think that you would agree that it would classify as a treasure in my book. Most lap desks sell for $200 to $500 dollars. Here is a little write up on lap desks from Wikipedia.

Antique lap desk

An antique lap desk provided by Wikipedia.   
As an antique, the lap desk is a smaller variant of the writing slope. It is also called a writing box or a writing cabinet. In certain instances it is known as a portable desk, a term which is usually applied to larger forms. Most antique lap desks are really meant to be used on a table or some other stable surface. They are often strongly built of fine hardwoods like mahogany or walnut.
Antique lap desks had hinged writing surfaces, often covered in leather, felt, or other material, that flip up to reveal storage space for papers. Individual compartments were designed to hold inkwells, pens, sealing wax, and other contemporary writing materials. Some desks also had concealed storage compartments.
They were, in effect, the fore-times equivalent of a PDA -- that is, they supplied, to the traveler, many of the conveniences of carrying round an entire escritoire. From them has come the concept of the briefcase not just as a carrier for papers, but as a portable writing place, and thus the laptop computer.

Cecil is responsible for this blog because when we attended the auction at Sohn's in Evansville Indiana, he brought his lady friend to be with us. We were sitting in the front row when a nice little lap desk came up for auction. I didn't bid on the desk because Cecil was and I figured it was for his friend but I was mistaken. When I went to check out, the desk was in with the items I had purchased. I asked Cecil if it was for his friend and he said no, that he had bid on it for me. I couldn't complain because his bid was only about 20% of what it's worth. I thanked him and you will see the desk listed shortly. I will also report the profit achieved on it.

The collecting market is still very strong but it is important to have the knowledge required to price things that are trending up and that can only be accomplished if a person studies a little each day.

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