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Antiques Considered - February 13, 2013

These three brass candlesticks come from an old Northern Neck family. The pair is 15 inches high and the single one is 12 inches. The owners polish them once a year, and are concerned whether they are damaging the patina by so-doing. All three have their original ejectors.
These are fine examples of English manufacture dating from the second quarter of the nineteenth century. They commonly are known as “beehive and diamond” pattern for the upside-down beehive motif on the pair, and the right-side-up motif on the single one. The diamond reference comes from the upper knobs.

Having the original ejectors is a decided plus in evaluating them. The ejector is an iron rod with a brass cap on the top. It goes through the length of the candlestick, thereby providing a convenient way in which to eject a candle butt that remains in the collar of the stick.

A generation ago the large pair would have sold readily for over $200, but today the market for generic brass candlesticks of this period is significantly lower. Similar pairs are available for $100, and sometimes even less. The single candlestick is worth $45. Going back a century, English brass candlesticks of the eighteenth century with their typical lily-pad bases continue to command high prices, and remain in high demand.

Going a further century back, those that have survived from the Tudor and Stuart periods of English history are extraordinarily expensive. As all forms and styles of English brass candlesticks are being made today by the major brass companies in America, not to mention the huge influx of ones from Taiwan and China, the antique ones have cheap competition, the products of which are satisfactory for those seeking a look rather than period antiques.

These are three nice candlesticks, and I encourage the owners to continue their polishing efforts, which help to sustain the sticks’ value.
Happy Antiquing!

 

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