Victorian lamps are pre-electric lamps produced during the Victorian era of the 19th century.
Brief history and description
Victorian lamps were created during the Victorian era (circa 1837 to 1901), and typically feature a unique design which includes oil lamp chimneys (or lamp shades) shaped like globes or umbrellas. It was also during this era that the creation of oil lamps had been significantly improved thanks to the burning of whale-oil and kerosene, and these lamps soon started to become mass produced all over the world, (especially in Europe in Britain).
However, after the creation of gas lighting and electric power, these lamps soon started to wane in popularity. Because of this, Victorian lamps are extremely popular for any antique lamp collector thanks to their uniqueness and rarity.
Notable auction sales
Hanging Victorian lamps
Time & Again Auction Gallery in Linden, New Jersey sold a hanging Victorian lamp with a light green shade for $6,500 in September of 2007.
ANN & CO. in Webster, New York sold a Victorian hanging chandelier with cast iron, original gold paint and eight arms holding oil lamps (which have seen been electrified) for $4,000 in July of 2011.
Amphora Victorian lamps
Homestead Auctions in North Canton, Ohio sold a rare Amphora Victorian lamp with fry opalescent-beaded drop shades for $7,500 in January of 2007.
Victorian parlour lamps
Jackson's Auction in Cedar Falls, Iowa sold a fine blue "mother of pearl" Victorian parlour lamp (circa late 19th century) with a mop blue satin shade, burnished brass, silver medallions and blue jewels for $4,600 in April of 2010.
Standing Victorian lamps
Sotheby's in New York sold a standing rosewood Victorian lamp (1.6 meters in height) for $6,600 in April of 2004.
Bonhams in San Francisco sold two Victorian-style copper and painted iron lanters, each with an octagonal ring and leaf molded standard (approximately ten feet in height) for $9,000 in February of 2007.
Christie's in London sold:
- Two late Victorian brass Corinthian column lamps (circa 1900; 66 inches in height) for £2,640 in July of 2006.
- Two Victorian lacquered-brass standing lamps with a leaf stem, reeded shaft, cabriole legs and claw feet (74 inches in height) which was later wired for electricity for £17,250 in February of 2009.
Christie's in New York sold a Victorian cut-glass standing oil lamp (circa 19th century; 65 inches in height) with a faceted baluster stem, two cut-glass bowls, a circular bass and paw feet for $14,400 in April of 2005.
Victorian oil lamps
Sotheby's in New York sold two bronze-mounted, faceted and molded glass columnar Victorian oil lamps (circa late 19th century; 24 inches in height) for $4,800 in December of 2004.
Victorian banquet lamps
Fantasticantiques Inc. in Temecula, California sold a rare Victorian banquet lamp with its original glass base (circa 1880) for $4,500 in May of 2007.
Victorian wall lamps
Christie's in London sold two Victorian silvered brass wall lights (circa 1880) which were later fitted for electricity for £3,000 in May of 2008.
Victorian table lamps
Garth's Auction Inc. in Delaware, Ohio sold a classic "Liberty Bell" Victorian student/table lamp which was manufactured by the Edward Miller & Company in Connecticut (circa 1880s) with a bell-shaped font holder, burner holder tanks, cast brass foot, feeder arms and a heart-shaped handle for $4,000 in July of 2008.
Guide for collectors
Victorian lamps that contain detailed art glass in a variety of shapes and colours (such as satin glass, mother of pearl, cranberry and amberina) are considered to be the most valuable and rare among collectors, while Victorian lamps with plain opal chimneys made of milk glass are considered to be less rare and valuable.
Victorian lamps that are made out of slag glass, opaque, streaked pressed glass or crystal tassels are also considered to be extremely popular among collectors.
Restoration of a Victorian lamp is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. (However, restoring a Victorian lamp may reduce its value).
For more information regarding where to find Victorian lamps, visit Antique Lamp Supply or 19th Century Lighting.
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