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Antiques Considered - April 16, 2014

This Victorian chandelier hangs in an old Northern Neck home.  The owner writes that it is not original to the house, but was an estate sale acquisition many years ago for $100.  The glass is hobnailed and amber-colored with matching prisms.  The latter are not displayed, as some are missing.  The owner has not been able to find any marking to indicate the maker.

The light dates form the 1880s, and could have been made at any of the numerous factories that were in the lighting business.  The amber glass is rarer than white or red, and the amber prisms are unusual.  I suggest looking online to try to get replacements for the missing ones.

Obviously, this light was originally an oil lamp, and fortunately, the electrification did not involve cutting either the glass or the brass work.  Lights such as this one remain popular, but they are selling for less than they were a generation ago.  In part, the decline comes from the limited light that the lamp emits.  This one is worth $250; hence, the purchase was a good investment at the time.

Victoriana does not sell as well on the market as it once did, whether one speaks of furniture or accessories.  This hanging lamp makes a good accent in the room, but even from the photograph, one can see that it does not put out significant brightness.  It is a good conversation piece and a nice example of its period.  Fortunately, it could be returned to oil use, as the essential elements remain in tact.  For those restoring authentic Victorian homes or building classic reproductions, this chandelier could be a popular item.

Interestingly, here in Virginia, one of the great Victorian lamp collectors recently consigned his collection of over 550 lamps to Garth’s Auction House in Ohio, and they will be forthcoming at several of their auctions.

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