Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    U.S. House of Representatives: Circa 1857 Desk. The oak desk in this lot was used in Congress from 1857 to 1873. It (and a matching chair) was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the architect of the Capitol. His renovations culminated in the enlarged dome surmounted by a statue of a Native American princess, emblematic of Liberty. Chairs and desks were ordered as part of an 1857 renovation of the House, overseen by Montgomery C. Meigs. There were 241 Congressmen at that time. When 11 states seceded from the Union, the number of members was reduced to 175. Excess furniture was then distributed to other government buildings and sold to the public. The desk was manufactured by Doe & Hazelton of Boston while the chairs were made by Bembe & Kimble located at 20 Broadway in Manhattan. The desk has a Federal shield decorated with stars and stripes on the top gallery facade, extensive carving including a globe in the half round inscribed "America", four stars encased in circular frames, a lattice-work screen and a hidden shelf. It is 35.5" tall, 29" wide and 21" deep. It has a hinged slant lid with writing compartment and original leather writing surface. The gallery facade is loose and needs some dowel replacement. Most of the original varnish finish has worn off, but the desk itself has not been refinished. There is a long vertical age crack on the right front panel. The overall condition is quite good and all original. When the House of Representatives was refurbished in 1873, any remaining desks and chairs were sold off. Examples reside in several museums (Smithsonian Institution, High Museum of Art, Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, Chicago History Museum, Ft. Wayne Historical Society).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 741

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 29 days left to consign to the 2020 March 4 Rare Books Signature Auction Books Signature Auction - New York !

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931