George Nelson Desk, ca. 1952

Value (2017) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
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GUEST:
We bought the desk in about 1951, '52. We ordered it from Grand Rapids, Herman Miller factory, and I understand it was designed by Charles Eames.

APPRAISER:
How much you paid for it?

GUEST:
About $500, which was an enormous amount. We were very much in love with the Charles Eames designs, had a couple of his chairs. The whole idea of it being very modern and very cutting-edge and up-to-date at that time was very appealing.

APPRAISER:
Now, you're right to say that this is a desk that was marketed by the Herman Miller Company out of Zeeland, Michigan.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
However, the designer of the desk is not Charles Eames, it is George Nelson.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Now, Nelson was the director of the Miller Company for years, from the '40s on, and he is really one of the finest American designers of the 20th century. There's a nice investigation of materials. We have a blond mahogany wood. There's a great leather surface on the top and then also these doors, and then metalwork in the legs, and also this kind of fun Pendaflex file. You've sat at this desk-- how comfortable is it?

GUEST:
It's a great desk to work at, really, because everything is at your fingertips.

APPRAISER:
Show me some of those things that you might...

GUEST:
Well, this opens up, and it was back in the times before computers, and we had at one time a portable typewriter that you could attach on here, and then it would be down in the well. And it has a lot of little storage areas in here, places for paper and stuff like that.

APPRAISER:
Yes, as well as these storage areas along the top. So George Nelson cared about you sitting at your desk, wanted to make sure that you had everything at your fingertips. The desk is in very original condition. It looks very good to me. Original leather top. It's got a little surface wear on it, but it's just the way these things should look. You want to see some age imparted to them. When we're seeing these things at auction, estimated really, I would say, in the $6,000 to $8,000 range.

GUEST:
Oh, really? Wonderful!

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
That's great.

APPRAISER:
Ten years previous, you could have found it, you know, on a street corner in Manhattan. No one would have cared.

GUEST:
(laughs) Well, I'm glad we held onto it. That's terrific, thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Update (2017)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Appraised value (2002)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
Kansas City, MO (July 27, 2002)
Category
Furniture
Form
Desk

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