Pick of The Week: Van Sciver Desk

Hello everyone, Happy Spring! Angela here with my pick of the week. I have chosen this adorable little desk we got in about a week ago. It is a Van Sciver priced at $245 and ready to use.

For those of you that are asking, What on earth is a Van Sciver? Lucky for you, I have come prepared with a history lesson (don't worry, its brief)

J.B. Van Sciver is an American Furniture company dating from around the 1880's to the mid 1980's. It actually headquartered in Camden, NJ.  Joseph Bishop Van Sciver Sr was a really interesting guy. He started the furniture company in a small shop on Federal Street in Camden but quickly expanded to a larger facility making several additions over the years. By 1923, the operation occupied 10 acres and totaled $4 million annually. Can you say WOW! Way to dream big J.B.!

Van Sciver quickly expanded in to other areas of NJ and PA. Shipping furniture in all states  and overseas. 

He was involved in other business as well, including the Knickerbocker Lime Company which supplied building materials in the tri-state area. Mr. Sciver supplied most of the concrete used to build the Ben Franklin Bridge, as well as Phila. banks, subway, and more. Pretty cool.

J.B. Van Sciver later became a resident of Chestnut Hill, in an estate called "Ingleside", where he lived out his days. In a side note, "Ingleside" was originally the Bohlen Mansion located at 195 Bethlehem Pike Philadelphia (Chestnut Hill), PA which is right around the corner from Phantastic Phinds.


Upon his death, the business passed to his son, J.B. Van Sciver Jr. A 1943 Camden Evening Courier newspaper article described him as “the man who made Philadelphians come to Camden to furnish their homes.” In 1982, J.B. Van Sciver III moved the business to Cherry Hill and that is where my info stops. Does anyone know what became of the company after the move?

Needless to say, the name Van Sciver is an industry great. The pieces were well made, durable and long lasting - that is why so many of them surface today. Although they do not hold a magnificent dollar value, their quality speaks for itself. Today, you will find second hand pieces in good condition, generally sell between $100-800.

I have been dreaming of this little desk as a vanity with a mirror hung above it and the storage used to hide all my products. I have ALWAYS wanted a vanity to sit and make myself pretty, now there will be no excuses! I would proably paint it something fun like this apple green color from the My Blessed Life blog. It is painted with latex but I could easily achieve this color with a blend of Antibes Green & Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®. Hummmm.... I am thinking I need to buy this desk and just do it!

Thanks for sticking around through my history lesson and vanity coveting. See you all soon!

Historical info for this post: via

~Angela for Phantastic Phinds

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  1. I purchased a Van Sciver desk about a year ago for $105, a steal. Three letter drawers a side and a pencil drawer, oak, with all the subtle marks of history: a cigarette burn, some deep scratches.
    My research at the time, as I recall, found that the company lost the war to the likes of Ikea, still makes some items, but will never rise again, so cherish a Van Scriver find. A VS Desk inferior to mine recently sold on eBay for $400.

  2. Thank you so much for post such cool info I am Russell's Grand daughter. I love seeing all the cool info I have some really old movies of the building the Camden store I think. I want to have them put on to a DVD. The person who knows all the info you might want is Joe Van Sciver the third. He is a wealth of info. He lives on the property that Ingleside was on.


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