Q: I’m considering buying an oak roll-top desk made by Grand Rapids Desk Co. It had been painted black but has been restored to its original oak finish. The hardware is not original, except for the lock that’s marked “1887, Grand Rapids Desk Co.” The desk is 41 inches high, 40 inches wide and 18 inches deep. The asking price is $600. Is that too much?
A: So many furniture companies were based in Grand Rapids, Mich., by the 1920s that the city was called “The Furniture Capital of America.” It has also been called “Furniture City” because it has been a center of furniture-making since the late 1800s. The Grand Rapids Desk Co. was founded in Grand Rapids in 1893. It moved to Muskegon, Mich., in 1898 after a factory fire, and desks made after 1898 list Muskegon as the city of manufacture. The company changed owners a few times before closing in 1931. A retail price of $600 is fair for a roll-top desk in good condition. Some sell for more.