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How much is my antique lamp worth?

Have you recently inherited or purchased an antique lamp and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of antique lamps. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your antique lamp. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours. Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your antique? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.

Click the "Get Started" button below to set up a free account.

Answer a few simple questions and upload images of your item.

Receive a specialist's valuation by email in 24 to 48 hours.

Get help with the next steps, including consignment and sale.

Mearto evaluates hundreds of similar items each month.

What is the history of antique lamps?

There have been many types of man-made light sources, beginning with lamps fed by oil or kerosene. Today’s lamps are almost universally electric and in their modern state, have existed since 1802, with the invention of the first incandescent lightbulb. Over time, lamp design has developed as an artform across the world.

How are antique lamps classified?

There are several types of antique lamps. Some popular types are chandeliers, sconces, gasoliers and oil lamps, table lamps, standing lamps, and stained-glass lamps.

  • A chandelier 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.
  • Sconces are attached to a wall and typically direct light upwards.They may also be referred to as wall lamps. The effect may be an interesting shape of light projected on a surface. 
  • A gasolier is a type of chandelier that was used during the Victorian period. It consumes oil or kerosene instead of using traditional candles or modern electric bulbs. 
  • Oil or kerosene table lamps are usually made of one or two glass tubes, sometimes elaborately decorated or in bulbous shapes and often incorporate handles.
  • Table lamps are ubiquitous in most homes, and usually have a base and a shade. The base is often made of ceramic, metal or some sort of plastic composite. Shades are often paper or fabric. 
  • Standing lamps are freestanding and may or may not have shades. 
  • Stained-glass lamps are made with colored or painted glass either in a single piece for the shade or with a shade made of smaller fused fragments. The gold standard for stained glass lamps are those produced by the Tiffany company during the Art Nouveau period in the 1920s and 30s. Rare originals can be viewed in museums and galleries, but the term “Tiffany lamp” has today come to mean any stained glass lamp. 

How are antique lamps valued?

Antique lamps come in a wide range of styles and types that differ in market value. Overall condition is important. A rare and beautifully crafted lamp is good, but it won’t be valued as much if it is in poor condition. Ideally, an antique lamp should be in its original condition, without major repairs or reproductions. It might be tempting to restore an item, however, this should only be done after research and deliberation since it can cause the item to lose value. In fact, some antique collectors appreciate some natural signs of wear because it indicates that the item is authentic, or hasn’t been restored.

How should I care for my antique lamp?

An antique lamp requires care and attention, especially if it is old. You can use the following guidelines when it comes to cleaning and caring for your antique lamp so you won’t devalue it in the process.

Direct sunlight can cause damage to some shades.. Make sure you do not place it somewhere that is directly exposed to sunlight. If the lamp has been stored for a long time, be extra careful in cleaning it. If you try to remove dirt too vigorously, this could damage the lamp. Use a slightly dampened cloth to clean the base of your antique lamp. You can also lightly spray a mist of water onto moldings and inlays.

What are some of the most famous types of antique lamps?

Famous designers have produced lamps of great aesthetic value and in unique forms. Some classically beautiful lamps include those designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Achille Castiglioni’s famous arched metal floor lamp and Gino Sarfatti’s “sputnik” lamp, which looks like an exploding starburst, were iconic of the 1950s and 60s. The 1935 original adjustable lamp seems like an afterthought today, but George Cardwardine’s incorporation of springs and movement was new at the time. Often mimicked, these are a few innovative designs that have shaped the genre.

What was the most expensive antique lamp ever sold?

In 1997, Tiffany’s “Pink Lotus” table lamp sold for $2.8 million. It held the record for most expensive lamp until 2018, when another Tiffany lamp, the “Pond Lily” table lamp went for $3.37 million. Each of these pieces is an Art Nouveau masterpiece, fusing organic design motifs, with electrically produced light diffused through the centuries-old tradition of stained glass mosaic work.

Would You Like to Sell Your antique lamp?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your antique lamp based on its current fair market value:

Customers with antique lamp expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with antique lamp valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your antique lamp through Mearto, please click here.

Leah

Leah Illingworth is a content specialist here at Mearto. She loves learning and writing about art and antiques each day in addition to exploring the history and stories behind art movements and objects.

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