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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Robert W Irwin Desk



I have a Robert W Irwin Drop Leaf desk, There is a coin/badge inside that has a picture of what appears to be George Washington and Says Royal Furniture Made by Robert W Irwin. From what I know it was made in the 1920's. I paid 4500 for it some years ago and was curious about it's current value? Thanks

Shayne - Robert W. Irwin acquired 100% of Royal in 1919 and combined it with Phoenix Furniture to form Robert W. Irwin Co. Both Royal and Phoenix continued to produce under their own names until 1931 when Royal was discontinued.

Your desk was made in the 1920s and is made of maple veneers and maple and secondary wood solids. It is abattant style, a form of secretary cabinet that presents a blank front when closed. It was developed by the French in the late 18th century. Mary Antoinette ordered a new one not long before her execution in 1793. The most famous abattants are from the Directoire period of French history just before Napoleon and the Empire abattants of the Napoleonic period. There were also significant examples made in the Biedermeier style in central Europe after Napoleon, some examples in England in Regency style and some examples were made in the US, primarily in Philadelphia in the first half of the 19th century. During the Depression era of the 1930s desks of this style were often called a “wall desk” by manufacturers not wanting to confuse the American public with French names. Here are examples

Your desk desk would sell at auction in today's market in the $300 range.

Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

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