Jane and Emma had been quite disheartened after their mom's sudden death. While cleaning through their mother's closet, Jane and Emma came across a weird-looking lamp. Although it wasn't the most beautiful, the sisters decided to take their lamp for sale, not even hoping it would cost much.
When they meet the dealer, they receive shocking news. The lamp was not what they thought it would be. When the dealer told the sisters the real worth of that average-looking lamp, it was as if everything came to a standstill. They couldn’t believe their luck and kept praising their mother for having a good eye ...
Five Rambunctious Siblings
Imagine a house full of five high-spirited siblings who are always running around the house breaking things and making a lot of noise. You would be scared to keep valuables lying around the house in such a case, right?
The two sisters, Jane and Emma who appeared on the 1999 Antiques Roadshow episode came from exactly this kind of household. To save their mother's antique lamp from their siblings, they took a big step.
Two Out Of Five
The two out of five sisters decided to take things into their hands to protect one of their mother’s prized possessions. At least someone else can keep it antique safe if not them.
Fortunately, around the same time, they heard that Antique Roadshows were visiting their town. Can you guess what the sisters did next?
The Sisters Participate in The Show
The two sisters, without telling their other sisters, registered for the show and showed up with their mother’s antique land. They were a little hesitant at first but then they thought this must be done.
The sister explained to Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau LLC that their mother found the lamp in the late 1960s. The piece of information the sisters then got after a while blew their minds and made them extremely emotional.
Newspaper Flyer Listing
Back in the 1960s, their mother reached the lamp after seeing a newspaper flyer. The seller who sold the lamp to their mother was shifting into a studio apartment and could not find space to keep her grandfather’s lamp.
Hence, she decided to part ways with it and put an advertisement in the paper. The two sisters thanked their stars that their mother saw the advertisement.
Seller Asked $125
Once their mother reached the seller and saw the lamp, she instantly knew what it was. Without any further delay, she asked the seller how much she wanted for the lamp.
The seller oblivious to the true value of the lamp asked for $125. Their mother then immediately went to the bank, withdrew the money, and made the purchase.
The seller before giving the lamp to the sister’s mother took it to two dealers. However, to her bad luck, the dealers could not recognize its true value and it was a Tiffany’s.
One dealer confidently told the seller that it is not a Tiffany’s because the finish on the base is wrong. Unfortunately, the seller took the dealer seriously and decided to get rid of the lamp.
Taking Care of The Lamp
Their mother loved the lamp and kept it very carefully, nobody else in the family was allowed to touch it. It was her prized possession and she cleaned it every day with utmost care.
When guests came, she carefully placed the lamp on the pedestal in the living room to flaunt it. Who knew after her passing, the lamp would sit away in the store for years to come?
Blast From the Past
One of the sisters recalled an incident from her childhood when she was scolded by her mother for manhandling the lamp. She remembers, one day when she came back from school, her mother informed her that they were expecting guests in the evening, and she had to help her clean.
She offered to clean the lamp and place it on the living room pedestal and to her surprise she agreed. When she was cleaning it she accidentally placed the lamp at the edge of the table and when her mother saw it, she gave her an hour-long scolding.
Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau LLC
When the sisters appeared on the show, they told the whole story to Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau LLC. After they finished the story, the host provided the lamp's historical background to the viewers.
According to Nassau, the lamp was a Tiffany Studios Rose Helmet Lamp from the early 1900s. Later when she revealed its valuation, the sisters and the viewers were shocked.
Tiffany Studios was a decorative arts enterprise founded by Louis Comfort Tiffany, not to be confused with Tiffany & Co. Louis Comfort Tiffany was an American decorative artist and designer who is best known for his stained-glass work.
From 1878 to 1933, the company operated under many different names. It was well renowned for its stained-glass windows, Tiffany lights, mosaic installations, and luxury items including desk sets.
The Rise of Tiffany Lamps
Tiffany glass lights became extremely famous during the 1990s. Louis Comfort Tiffany founded the company right before the turn of the century, originally designing solely stained-glass windows before transferring his expertise to constructing ornate, handcrafted lamps that were immensely popular in succeeding years.
These styles, which encapsulate the Art Nouveau trend in the United States, are still highly sought after at auctions. The sisters were extremely lucky to have their mother’s antique lamp.
The Unique Lamp
What made the lamp unique apart from its good condition was its golden tinge, etched base, and its rose helmet shade. Nassau also told the sisters that it's extremely rare that the two original pieces of the lamp, the base, and the shade, had stayed together without breaking all these years.
Both the sisters were instantly proud of their mother for taking care of the lamp properly. However, Nassau had more interesting revelations to make about the lamp.
The base had a great art-like quality to it and the pattern was called arc and leaf. On looking closely at the lamp, one could easily see the wonderful, stylized leaf forms that followed all along the edge.
The leaves repeated in slightly different forms moving upwards. It was the first time; the sisters also made these observations about the lamp.
Back when Tiffany’s was making these kinds of lamps, they were considered luxury items. The middle class could not afford this kind of lamp and people who bought these lamps belonged to the high-class New York Society.
Even in the 1900s, the lamp must have cost around $200. It was a lot of money back then.
Nassau Was Impressed
Nassau added that it was the first time she was seeing something as beautiful as the lamp. The base of the lamp was very unusual and one of its kind.
The shade was also as great as the base. The golden tinge in the shade gave it an almost surreal look. Have you ever seen a lamp like this?
In The 1990s
The lamp was presumably sold for roughly $200 in the 1900s, which, adapted for inflation, would cost upwards of $5,000 now. But, as is common of well-preserved, one-of-a-kind antiques, the lamp grew in value with time.
Nassau claims that the lamp is worth between $80,000 and $125,000 at the time of the original video, which was shot in 1999. According to an updated evaluation by "Antique Roadshow," the lamp is worth between $250,000 and $300,000 in 2021.
The Good News
The moment the sisters heard this news, they couldn’t believe it and broke down. They were shedding tears of joy and missing their mother incredibly at that moment.
If their mother would have been present at that moment, she would also have been proud of herself for buying that lamp and keeping it securely for so long. Nassau kept telling the sisters that their mother had a good eye.
Sharing the News
The sisters were very happy and decided to share the news with their other sisters. Their sisters were a little angry with them as to why they did not share the news before but eventually, they got over it and were equally proud of their mother.
They felt bad for all the times they made fun of their mother for obsessing over the lamp. They agreed with the others that their mother indeed has a great eye for things.
If you also have age-old lamps, do not take them lightly, they can be antique pieces with great value. Antique lamps, while loosely classified, mainly date from the mid-Victorian period, which witnessed more technological improvements in lighting than ever before.
Gas lamps gradually displaced candles, oil lamps, and coal lamps, allowing designers to showcase superb glass work alongside highly polished metallics and scrolled embellishments. Pairpoint, Tiffany, Duffner, and Fulper are some of the designers and makers to keep an eye out for.
Consider These Factors
If you have a lamp like this, there are certain things you should keep in mind. It is important to look at the overall condition of the lamp because damage can reduce the value of an item.
If it is an electric lamp, make sure it works when plugged in. Wiring is a good clue for the age of the lamp. Also, check the authenticity of the materials.
Appraising Antique Lamps
The internet is a fantastic place to start your search. There are reputable forums run by antique experts who will gladly assist you in determining the value of your lamps.
Price guides are frequently available on antique forums and online pawn shops. These price guides can give you an idea of what lamps are currently on sale.
It is suggested to have the lamps assessed by an antique expert. An antique specialist can assess the genuine value of your lamps and recommend a few local outlets where you can sell or pawn them.
Do take care of these lamps and do not take them for granted. Very few people have antique lamps nowadays.
Learn From the Sisters
The sisters also did not take care of the lamp initially. They let it go to waste for a long time in the storeroom.
Fortunately, at the right time, they realized its value and did what was right. Be like the sisters and learn from their mistakes.