Antique Lamps Value and Identification Guide

Whether in your home or the office, the lighting of any building contributes to its aesthetics. If you are considering renovating or redecorating the interior of your home, you should get a lamp, preferably an antique lamp.

Adding an antique lamp in your home or office will immediately add aesthetical qualities to your space. However, it is crucial you know the value of these antique lamps. So, take this article as an identification guide to determine antique lamp values.

Antique Lamps Value and Identification Guide

What are Antique Lamps?

The first antique lamp was created before the 6th century BCE and was made of clay. This particular model reigned until the rise of the Grecian Empire. This was when metal was first introduced to lamps. The first lamps created used to be shaped like humans or assume relatable  figures. Now, the complexity of artistry and architecture has made the designs even more complex.

At the time antique lamps were created, electricity and many other technological advancements were yet to be. So, these lamps only work with oil. There is a knob to control and regulate how fast the oils burn, which controls the brightness of the light.

How to Identify Antique Lamps 

You think you have an antique lamp, but you are not sure it is what you think it is. Antique lamps can easily be differentiated from a modem lamp by their age. But how do you know their age? Here, we have compiled a list of factors and characteristics to help you identify if your lamp is truly antique or not.

Check the manufacturer’s label.

Check the body of your antique lamp for a label indicating the manufacturer. Antique lamps designed by prestigious companies will have a logo of their brand somewhere around them. If you can’t find the manufacturer’s label on it, check for other marks and symbols, they may indicate the hallmark. Popular antique lamp manufacturers you should look out for are:

  • Handel Company.
Handel Lamps PAT’D NO. 979664
Handel Lamps PAT’D NO. 979664
  • Tiffany Studios.
Tiffany Studios Lamp Mark
Tiffany Studios Lamp Mark
  • Duffner and Kimberly.
  • Dirk Van Erp Studio.
Dirk Van Erp Studio Van Erp’s earliest lamps are signed near the center of the underside of the lamp, with the windmill logo
Dirk Van Erp Studio Van Erp’s earliest lamps are signed near the center of the underside of the lamp, with the windmill logo
  • Edward Miller and Company.
Edward Miller lamp
Edward Miller lamp

It is possible to have an antique lamp with a newer shade; this does not dispute that it is antique. Lampshades are exposed and as such vulnerable to damage. So, these shades are changed over time.

Examine its accessories

You can tell if a lamp is antique or not from several characteristics and features of the lamp, one of which is its accessories. But not everyone knows this. Most of these lamps are made of ancient materials that hold high value in society today.

Check your lamps for materials like bone, ivory, quartz, tourmaline, and many other rare similar materials like this. Also, don’t forget the bulb itself. Old bulbs are now worth a fortune. Imagine having a collection of antique bulbs from the 13th century on your shelf.

Lastly, the shade; though, some lampshades are newer materials as the original lampshade might have damaged or broken from handling. If the shade is of glass, there is a chance that your lamp is antique.

What type of lamp is it?

An essential question in determining if your lamp is antique or not determines the value and worth of the lamp. There are several types of antique lamps made of different materials.

How do you know what kind of antique lamp is in your possession? Pick up your lamp, have a seat, carefully examine it and compare its features and characteristics to the common types of antique lamps discussed below.

1. Student lamps


Student lamps, or antique kerosene lamps, were first invented in the 1890s. These lamps were specially created for reading as it emits light bright enough that permits the visibility of written characters in the dark. The antique kerosene lamp has a kerosene tank separated from the main lamp and a swing that serves as a handle.


2. Tiffany lamps

Antique Duffner and Kimberly Pompeian Lamp Tiffany Studios Handel era
Source: Antique Duffner and Kimberly Pompeian Lamp Tiffany Studios Handel era

Tiffany lamps are sometimes referred to as antique brass lamps. If you are wondering why it is called the antique brass lamp, it is because brass is the primary material it is made from. The tiffany lamps were first seen in the 1970s. Louis Comfort Tiffany created the tiffany lamp. It is designed with glass shades of different colors and a knob to switch it on and off.


3. Cruise lamps

Cruise lamps are among the first set of lamps created. In the 1600s, cruise lamps were made to provide light via a small bowl-like container that holds the oil and a channel for the wick to burn.


4. Argand lamp

Top quality Antique Bronze figural Argand Lamp double arm Astral oil lamp
Source: Top quality Antique Bronze figural Argand Lamp double arm Astral oil lamp

The argand lamp was first seen in Switzerland in the 1780s. Aime Argan created this lamp to overcome the problem common with the cruise lamp, that is, the wick constantly falling in the bowl. It is built with a separate burner that holds a cylindrical wick that contains the flame.


5. Astral lamps


These are upgrades to the argand lamps. They were not released until later in the 1830s. A noticeable feature of the astral lamp is its bronze and brass columns where the oil reservoir rests and etched glass shades covering the flame and diffusing prism-like lights.


Confirm its design, style and materials

Aside from the types of antique lamps, its design, style, and finish materials can also tell you if it is truly an antique lamp. For instance, the Tiffany Lamp, its shade may be glass, and it can also have a porcelain globe over it. Antique lamps are known to have standard designs, styles, and patterns. You can identify your antique lamp with the following styles, designs, and materials.

  • Porcelain lamps:If it is an antique porcelain lamp, the lampshades will most likely be porcelain or ceramic.
  • Glass oil lamps:Antique glass oil lamps range from green to pink, blue, and more. Some antique glass oil lamps even have multiple colors. Here you might have your lampshade to be glass or other parts of it.
  • Hurricane lamps:No, they don’t work with a hurricane. Instead, they are designed to work against the effect of strong wind. They are designed with a tall chimney to protect the flame from going out due to wind.

Identifying the Value of Antique Lamps

Whether it is an antique floor lamp or a desk lamp, they hold a significant value as far as they are antique. However, you must know that an antique lamp can be a lower value modern lamp. The value of antique lamps is attached to many characteristics, including:

  • Its age

The age of your antique lamp is a significant player in its value. Some of these lamps were made centuries ago, and now, the manufacturing companies are no longer in production. Since such lamps are no longer made, they become rare and, as a result, attract high value.

  • Its type

The type of antique lamp will surely reflect on its value. Irrespective of its age, which is a major factor in determining the value of any antique item, the type, in some cases, overrules it. The antique tiffany lamps are not the oldest antique lamps but are the most valued and priced ones.

  • Its condition

The current condition will determine if it is worth anything at all. If your antique lamp is in good shape and all its accessories are intact, you can make a fortune from it. If some accessories are misplaced, and there are some minimal damages, they will be factored in and deducted from their value.

  • Its manufacturer

Antique lamps from renowned manufacturers say a lamp from Dirk Van Erp Studio, for instance, will be valued more by appraisers than a regular antique lamp from a regular manufacturer.

  • The material & design

Is the oil reservoir brass or bronze? What about the lampshade? Is it glass or porcelain? Is it a full shade, or is it cut and etched with some patterns? Its design and material add value to it.

Are antique lamps worth it?

If you have an antique lamp passed to you from your great aunt sitting in your basement for your home, you may want to bring it out, dust it off and take it to the nearest thrift shop and make a profit out of it.

In the same vein, they still hold their value if they sit on a desk in your home.

An antique lamp can worth a lot, especially if it is in a good state. However, a slight scratch on it or a missing accessory can diminish its value.


If you recently purchased an antique lamp or you want to buy one. Or you found an antique lamp in the basement of an estate you just got. Whatever the case is, our antique Lamps value and identification guide will assist you in evaluating its worth. However, we advise you to visit a professional appraiser to know the total value and worth of your antique lamp.

1 thought on “Antique Lamps Value and Identification Guide”

  1. I acquired two small glass lamps that look like they would be used for lamps on nightstands and a bedroom. They are pink and some of the bases clear glass. I was able to get a little bit of information off the brass part Viton? I think patented 25gw


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