Popularized in the early 19th century, dry sinks consisted of a bookshelf-like desk with a bowl centered in the middle of the desk portion. The bowl was removable, due to the lack of indoor plumbing in most homes during the time. However, it also had decorative purposes for holding books, linens, pictures or decor. In recent years there has been a resurgence in the use of dry sinks due to the popular "vintage" decorative aesthetic. If you've purchased a dry sink and would like to find out if it's a valuable antique, there a few ways to find out how valuable your dry sink is.
Inspect your dry sink. Dry sinks have become a very popular piece of furniture, so there are tons of reproductions. Original dry sinks where made by hand, so inspect your dry sink for no more than three dovetails that are slightly different in shape. Newer dry sinks are machine made, which means the dovetails will most likely be the exact same size. If your dry sink has no more than three dovetails that are all slightly different shape or form, you most likely have a valuable antique.
Set up an appointment with a local certified antique dealers or auctioneers and get your dry sink appraised.
Pack up your dry sink and visit local antique events. Often there are appraisers there that will appraise your antique for free if you are interested in selling the item.
Go online and signup on antique websites. Most often they provide information about free appraisel services, local events and auctions.
Visit the PBS Antique Roadshow website to see if the tour is coming to or near your city. The PBS Antique Roadshow offers a televised free appraisal for people looking to find out if they've been housing antique fortunes.