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Antique lamps add a timeless appeal to your home. Depending on the style, the lamps can add decorative flourish to your home. It is for this same reason that they are also highly coveted as a collector’s item. Some of the lamps that come with elaborate or ornate details on them can be priced higher than those that do not have them. 

If you are curious about the antique lamps in your possession, especially in terms of their appraised value in the market, you have come to the right place. Find out all there is you must know about valuing antique lamps with this detailed guide.

Identifying and Dating Antique Lamps

When dating antique lamps, there are several factors that are taken into account. To determine the age of the lamp, it should be physically inspected to see if there are any markings. This is typically found at the bottom of the lamp. This marking will contain a series of letters or numbers that would indicate the date of manufacture. In some cases, there is a logo of the manufacturer. When you are able to identify the manufacturer, it becomes easier to date antique lamps. Certain manufacturers have a specific time frame when they are known for producing and manufacturing antique lamps.

What are the types of antique lamps?

There are several types of antique lamps. These styles have evolved over many centuries and most have come and gone. These are the most popular types and most are available these days:

  • Chandelier Lamp: This type of antique lamp typically drops from the ceiling. It adds a formal touch to any room and a decorative accent too. Depending on the style and period they originate from, these types of lamps can be extremely expensive.
  • Electric Lamp:  An electric lamp is a modern variation to the earlier types of lamps that were powered using oil or kerosene. This type of lamp was first manufactured in the 19th century. Today, there are three types of lamps that are available in the market: gas discharge, carbon arc, and incandescent lamps. 
  • Sconce Lamp: This type of lighting fixture has been used for many centuries. It is attached to a wall using only the wall as support. Typically, sconce lamps have light directed upwards. In modern times, it is referred to as wall lights too.
  • Gasolier Lamp: Gasolier lamp is another type of antique lamp that originated during the Victorian period that is still in use today. It is used for both interior and exterior lighting purposes. 
  • Table Lamp: A style-setting table lamp might be a staple in modern home décor. However, this type of lamp since the mid- to late-19th century. 
  • Tiffany Lamp: This type of lamp is best known for its elaborate design, specifically the use of stained-glass shade. This type of lamp revolutionized the concept of interior lighting. There are many Tiffany lamps manufactured in as early as 1933 that are still in circulation today.

How are antique lamps valued?

The sheer aesthetic value of antique lamps makes them a highly coveted piece. They come in a wide range of styles and types that differ in market value. If you have inherited one, it is therefore important to know the factors that can affect how antique lamps are valued. 

  • What is the style? This is the first thing that appraisers will want to know about the antique lamp that you own. There are several types of lamps and only the experts can distinguish the difference with each. It is not just about the style but the purpose and function of antique lamps that can determine its market value. 
  • What is the overall condition? A rare and beautifully crafted lamp is good, but it won’t be valued as much if it is in poor condition. Ideally, the antique lamp must be kept in its original condition. There should be no reproduction on any part of the lamp. Some antique owners might be tempted to restore the item that they have thinking it will boost value. However, in the case of antique items, it can actually cause the item to lose its value. 
  • Are there signs of age? You should not worry about any signs of aging on your antique lamp. As long as it does not affect the function of the lamp, it does not affect the value too. In fact, some antique collectors appreciate some natural signs of wear because it indicates that the item is authentic or hasn’t been restored. 
  • Has it been restored? Any kind of restoration job on antique items is always a tricky subject. With antique table lamps, replacement for the base is pretty common. You should not be fearful about losing its value – provided that the replacement base is done properly. The key factor to take away here is that the restoration should be done professionally. The level of craftsmanship should be the same, or as close as possible, to the original.

Caring for Antique Lamps

An antique lamp requires care and attention. It is important that you know how to give it proper care especially if the lamp is quite old. You can use these guidelines when it comes to cleaning and caring for antique lamps so you won’t de-valuate it in the process:

  • Direct sunlight can cause damage to some shades used on antique lamps. Make sure you do not place it somewhere that is directly exposed to sunlight.
  • If the antique lamp has been stored for a long time, be extra careful in trying to remove the dirt and grime. If you try to remove dirt too vigorously, this could damage the lamp resulting in a loss of integrity. You must be careful in cleaning the shade as it is more delicate than the base. 
  • When cleaning the shade, consider the type of fabric. You can soak most types of fabric shades; however, this is not recommended on laminated, plastic, and fiberglass shades.
  • Use a slightly dampened cloth to clean the base of your antique lamp. You can also lightly spray a mist of water onto the moldings and intricate inlays.
  • Use appropriate level of care when cleaning the accessories and other add-ons on your antique lamps.

Tips for Appraising Antique Lamps

Appraising an antique lamp might look like a simple task. However, it is a complicated process that requires only the knowledge and expertise of a professional. There have been numerous styles and types of lamps introduced over the years. The first thing that an expert will do is to know what type of lamp you have. Without this information, they will have nothing to base their appraisal on. From there, other factors will be evaluated such as the quality of the individual parts and the overall condition. If there are also any signs that the antique lamp you own is a rare piece, this will add to the value of the lamp as well. 

Do you have an antique lamp that you need to get valued? At Mearto, you can find experts that can closely evaluate the type of lamp that you have and its overall condition. To the untrained eye, it might be difficult to understand what these factors mean. But for an expert appraiser, they will be able to obtain a close approximation of the antique’s value so you can get paid for it accordingly.

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