Antique lamps are great for adding a nostalgic charm to your living room or bedroom. But, if yours is just sitting tucked away in an attic or doesn’t suit your style anymore, it may be time to give it a new home — and many of these gems could earn you some serious cash!
Antiques appraiser Lori Verderame, PhD, shared with us several tips for finding out how valuable your old lamps are. Similar to other antiques, collectors are attracted to older lamps with high quality craftsmanship, designer names, and good materials. She mentions that ones manufactured by Tiffany Studios and Pairpoint are valuable finds for antique American lamps that date back to the 1900s. Fun fact: She tells us she has previously appraised Tiffany Studios lamps that were valued at more than $750,000!
Verderame also shared some design features that could increase the lamp’s value: “Look for lamps that have hand-painted porcelain bases, reverse glass painted shades, and shades and finials that match the lamp’s overall design.” One listing that encompasses some of these details is this colorful Fratelli Toso antique Murano art glass table lamp, which you can find online for $12,000.
But these days, people are really looking for mid-century modern lamps from around 1945-1969. (Think Mad Men!) “While early 20th century lamps are found in the marketplace, the real value is in mid-century modern (MCM) lamps from various locations around the world,” Verderame says. Buyers tend to look for MCM lamps made in Italy, Sweden, or Denmark featuring designer names such as Murano of Italy, Nardini Studio, Knoll, and Stiffel.
Now don’t worry if the lamp isn’t in perfect condition, Verderame says it doesn’t have to be working in order to be valuable. But, rewiring an antique lamp (which you can do at home or allow a local lamp repair shop to do) is a great and cheap option that can increase its selling price. “Most antique lamp shoppers want new wiring for safety reasons,” she explains. “Rewiring is a great way to attract buyers and increase the value of your old lamp.” Verderame adds that you might want to hold onto the original wiring as proof of the lamp’s old age or origin, though.
Feel free to take a look video below to find out more of her appraisal expertise and tips for these types of lamps:
Browsing through eBay, you’ll find current listings such as a 1910 Tiffany Studios lamp currently going for $145,000 and Baccarat glass oil lamp priced at $125,000. Your old lamps could quite quite literally be a goldmine!
Although the lamp’s label should specify details of the country of origin, manufacturer, and design date, visiting your local appraiser can give you an accurate idea of the its value. Or you can do a virtual appraisal consultation, which Verderame offers on her website (DrLoriV.com) if it’s hard to track down an appraiser in your area.
With these expert tips, you can make sure your antique lamps don’t continue to just collect dust in your home and make some extra money doing so — a definite win-win!