Antique floor lamps
Antique floor lamps or antique standard lamps are tall lamps designed to stand on the floor, produced over 100 years ago.
Background and Description
A floor lamp, or standard lamp, is characterised by its tall height and design to free-stand on the floor.
Antique is generally agreed to refer to anything produced over 100 years ago.
Therefore an antique floor lamp is a lamp of this design created prior to the early 20th century.
Floor lamps originated in France towards the end of the 17th century, and were known as ‘torchieres’ or torch lamps. These were tall candelabra stands made of wood or metal, with mounted candles providing the light on the top. The first designs just had one candle, and this number was increased to provide amplified lighting to dark rooms. This was a revolution in the history of lighting fixtures.
As time went on this developed into the more recognisable modern styles of standard lamp, and, with the advent of technology, candles were replaced with gas lamps and eventually electric light bulbs.
Floor lamps have a long metal or wooden structure rising from a firm base, topped with a lamp fitting that emits light at head level.
Collecting antique floor lamps and their value
Collectors of antique floor lamps will often focus on one particular era, style, or make.
Value varies hugely dependant on rarity, reputation of the maker, quality, materials used and age. Each example must be priced according to its own attributes: there is no general price guide for antique floor lamps as a genre.
For example, ‘antique floor lamps’ have sold on eBay for prices ranging from $40 to $6,000.
The most expensive antique floor lamp sold at auction was a pair of 1880 bronze floor standing lamps, sold for £18,750 ($29,156) at Christie’s in February 2010.
The history of an individual lamp must be determined before putting a value on it.
Often many collectible floor lamps are either very modern styles by famous contemporary designers, or 1920s-30s Art Deco models. These are not antiques, but can often fetch much higher prices. For example, floor lamps with shades or lamp fittings created by famous designers such as Tiffany are worth infinitely more than plain unremarkable antique floor lamps.