A can of Zinsser BIN Primer, some paint and new handles. I spent roughly $17 on the primer and $21 on new handles. I used the left over paint from the bookshelf make-over previously and it's completely transformed it. Sure beats spending over $500 for a new desk!
I learned something very, VERY valuable at my Annie Sloan workshop. When painting stained furniture from the 30's and 40's use a coat of Zinsser Shellac to seal up the stain and prevent bleed through. For some reason the stain used during this time always bleeds through paint.