How-To’s

How to clean a Tiffany Lamp – Cleaning Stained Glass

In this blog we discover the most expensive Tiffany Lamps in the World. To give you an idea of the range of values of authentic Tiffany Lamps I highlight some Tiffany Lamps sold at Auction. 

In the second half of the blog I tell you how how to identify a Real Tiffany Lamp using Tiffany Lamp Markings and more!

Creative Commons Green Cleaning Kit

Find out quickly and simply how to clean a Tiffany Lamp. I bullet point the key steps of how to clean stained glass lamps and for cleaning stained glass windows.

A Tiffany Style Lamp is the focal point of your room and when lit it is natural that you want to show off your lamp to maximum effect.

Leaving build ups of dust on your Tiffany Glass Lamp shade can over time lead to discolouration of the glass.

Build-up of dirt and grime will lead to tarnishing of metal lamp bases over time. Different types of metal require different cleaning solutions, so I cover how to identify which type of metal lamp base that you have and cleaning solutions for metal lamp bases.

Not all types of Tiffany Lamps should be cleaned the same way, so I highlight the best cleaning methods for each.

A genuine Tiffany Lamp is often worth several thousands of dollars, so you should thing carefully before removing engrained dirt. It may pay to seek the help of an expert who has experience in handling these delicate lamps.

cleaning stained glass lamp shade – Cleaning Highlights:

  1. Unplug and allow your Tiffany Style Lamp to cool
  2. Rub colored glass softly with lemon oil furniture cleaner using lint free cloth
  3. Rub clear glass softly with ammonia free glass cleaner using lint free cloth
  4. Clean porcelain Tiffany Style Lamps with lint free cloth and rub dry
  5. Dust your lamp regular with a feather duster to reduce build-up of dirt.

Do not forget to clean dust from the inside of the shade. This is important to allow light through your lampshade and highlighting the fabulous colors.

Cleaning Tiffany Lampshades with colored glass

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Tiffany Lampshades that contain colored or opaque glass, cabochons (cut and polished gemstones) should be cleaned with lemon oil furniture cleaner and a lint free cloth.
  3. Apply a small amount of the lemon oil furniture to a lint free cloth.
  4. Polish the lamp shade with a clean lint free cloth
  5. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Lemon Oil Cleaners avoid the discoloration and oxidisation (weakening) of the copper foiled leadwork in your Tiffany Style Lamp, as well as protecting the integrity of the metal fittings.

Cleaning Tiffany Lampshades with clear glass

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Tiffany Style Lampshades that contain clear glass panels should be cleaned with a glass cleaner that is ammonia, vinegar or acid free.
  3. Apply a small amount of the glass cleaner to a lint free cloth and gently rub the glass panels.
  4. Polish the lamp shade with a clean lint free cloth
  5. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Glass cleaners that contain Ammonia, vinegar or are acid-based are too harsh to the delicate glass panels in Tiffany Lamps and so should be avoided.

If your clean your clear glass Tiffany Style Lampshade regularly you should be able to get good results from just rubbing with a damp lint free cloth, avoiding the need to use a glass cleaner.

Cleaning Porcelain Tiffany Style Lamps

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Use a damp lint free cloth to wipe clean your Porcelain Tiffany Lamp
  3. With a clean lint free cloth rub and polish the lamp dry
  4. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Cleaning grease from a Tiffany Style Lamp

Tiffany Lamps or Tiffany Style Lamps fitted in a kitchen may attract grease from cooking.

If this happens to your lamp you will need to use a degreaser.

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Wear rubber gloves
  3. Only apply a small amount of degreaser to a lint free cloth.
  4. Rub the lamp sparingly at a time
  5. Wipe clean the glass with a dry lint free cloth

Applying too much degreaser in one go can saturate the leadwork, weakening it. Following the method above will preserve the integrity of the copper foiled leadwork in your lamp and soldered metal parts.

How to clean Tiffany lamp base – How to clean a metal lamp

Authentic Tiffany Lamps are almost always made from brass, whereas reproduction or Tiffany Style lamps feature plastic, wood, brass or zinc bases.

Any metal lamp base will become tainted over time with exposure to air, so it is important to clean these lamp bases regularly to maintain them to the highest standards.

Cleaning antique brass lamps at least once every six months will avoid the long term build-up of muck and dust avoiding long term problems.

How to clean a metal lamp – Quick steps:

  1. Prepare a damp soft cloth with warm soapy water
  2. Rub down the metal base of the lamp with the cloth
  3. For an extremely dirty lamp rub down carefully with extra fine steel wool, grade 0000
  4. Use a medium firm toothbrush to get into harder spots.
  5. For extremely tarnished bases, use the appropriate, for each, metal polishing cleaner

When polishing a tarnished metal lamp base, choose the metal polish cleaner depending on whether you have a zinc or brass metal base. Examine the manufacturer’s instructions but normally you will apply a small amount of the metal polish cleaner covering the entire lamp base or tarnished are as necessary. The polish should be left to dry and then removed from the lamp base by both rubbing and buffing. If any polish remains in hard to reach spots then clean with some warm water and completely dry.

The easiest way to tell if you have a brass or zinc lamp base is to test with magnet. Solid brass is not magnetic. A brass plated lamp or zinc lamp base on the other hand will be magnetic. Another test would be to look for a scratch or make a small scratch out of the way on your Tiffany Lamp Base. Shiny yellow means you have a brass lamp base, while silver will indicate a zinc lamp base.

Recommended Cleaning Products – lemon oil furniture cleaner – flux cleaner for stained glass

Applying a small amount of lemon oil furniture cleaner on your glass Tiffany lamp shade will penetrate grime deeper and loosen any engrained dirt. It will also work well on metal lamp bases.

The lemon oil cleaner will brighten the glass, allowing you to enjoy the colors more.

Always remove all residue from the cleaner thoroughly, first with a clean damp cloth and then wipe with a dry cloth. Acidic cleaners over time will weaken the lead solder in your lamp.

Always try a new cleaning product on a small test area first.

The most popular lemon oil furniture cleaners are:

Guardsman Revitalizing Lemon Oil

Old English Wood Polish

Milsek Furniture Polish and Cleaner with Lemon Oil

Homequicks highlights a simple recipe that can be used to make your own lemon oil furniture cleaner:

“In a bowl, combine 2 parts olive oil and 1 part fresh lemon juice together. Give it a good stir and dip a soft, clean cotton towel in it. Moving in circular motion, use this cloth to wipe the furniture; for wooden furniture, go in the same direction as the grain. If there are any hard-to-reach surfaces, dip a soft-bristled toothbrush to get the job done. Take another dry, clean towel and wipe the oil off the furniture.”

If you have done any repair work to your Tiffany Lamp, then you may want to use a flux cleaner for stained glass. It will remove any excess solder from. The two most popular products are:

Kwik Clean Flux Cleaner

Cj’S Flux Remover

Acknowledgements

https://living.thebump.com/clean-tiffany-style-lamps-7928.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/clean-tiffanystyle-lamps-78133.html

https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Zinc

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/clean-metal-lamp-90135.html

https://www.buckleguy.com/blog/the-difference-between-brass-and-zinc/

https://www.lifeorganizers.com/housekeeping-101/lemon-oil-not-just-furniture

https://homequicks.com/lemon-oil-for-furniture

What is a Tiffany Lamp Worth? – Most expensive Tiffany Lamps

In this blog we discover the most expensive Tiffany Lamps in the World. To give you an idea of the range of values of authentic Tiffany Lamps I highlight some Tiffany Lamps sold at Auction. 

In the second half of the blog I tell you how how to identify a Real Tiffany Lamp using Tiffany Lamp Markings and more!

 

Authentic Tiffany Lamps are still highly sought after. I was interested in finding out what a Tiffany Lamp is worth.

Originally when I wrote this blog the most expensive Tiffany Lamp was sold for under $3 million. But as you will read below this has recently been surpassed by some margin.

Prices of authentic Tiffany Lamps start from around $4000 to over $3 million.

To find out where you can see real Tiffany Lamps read here!

 

Tiffany Studios Pond Lily Table Lamp
Creative Commons LACMA Tiffany Studios Pond Lily Table Lamp

Tiffany Pond Lily – the most expensive Tiffany Lamp

On December 13th, 2018 Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Pond Lily Table lamp sold at Christie’s for $3,372,500. This by far exceeded the guide price of $1,800,000 – $2,500,000 and was the most expensive Tiffany Lamp sold for in twenty years. “Pond Lily” was thought to have been made around 1903. 

There are only ten known examples of the “Pond Lily” to have been built.

Production was discontinued in 1910.

If you want to view one of these stunning lamps then The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York, have their own “Pond Lily”, gifted by Mr and Mrs Hugh Grant in 1974. The shade (model no. 344) measures 47.31 cm in diameter and the base (also model no. 344) is 67.4 cm in height.

This lamp has often been known as Flowering Lotus or Descending Lotus. It is expected that the Pond Lily is an early design. One indication of this is that the shade and base were designed in tandem The absence of marks and presence of early production numbers rather than model numbers is a further clue. The
original price was $400.

Previous to this the highest price a Tiffany Lamp fetched at auction was $2.8 million at a Christie’s auction in 1997.

Tiffany Floor Lamp – Tiffany Dragonfly Floor Lamp

Tiffany’s imposing Dragonfly Floor Lamp was up for auction at Sotherby’s December 13th, 2018 where it realized $675,000 (estimate of $500,000), making it another of the most expensive Tiffany Lamps.

The Tiffany Dragonfly Floor Lamp dates to around 1910.

I review the best Tiffany Style Dragonfly Floor Lamps for purchase in this blog!

Tiffany Lamp Auctions

A large lot of Tiffany Lamps sold at Murphy Auctions on December 5th, 2018. 

Amongst the pieces sold was a large shade 16 panel Linenfold table lamp which realised $6,190.

A ten-light lily lamp with gold Favrile shades with lightly ribbed bodies on a base is finished in gold. The lamp 52.7 cm in height sold $25,200, which was less than its estimate.

Next was a Tiffany Studios Nautilus desk lamp with a bronze base depicting a mermaid rising out of the water with waves surrounding her body and with her hands supporting a nautilus shell shade. The
lamp is 16½ inches high and it went for $18,450, within estimate.

Perhaps the best example at the Tiffany Lamp Auction at the auction was a Poppy Table lamp that sold for less than its estimate at $141,450. At nearly 70 cm in height with a shade that is just over 50 cm in diameter this impressive lamp features purple and maroon poppies set against a mottled and shaded blue backdrop. It is
finished with a band of shaded green poppy leaves around the edge of the shade.

A Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp measures 27 inches tall with a shade that is 20¼ inches in diameter. This lamp has a leaded glass shade in purple and maroon poppies set against a mottled and shaded blue background. A band of shaded green poppy leaves surround the edge of this shade. This lamp sold within
estimate at $141,450.

Lesser value authentic Tiffany Lamps

Lamps that are have harmoniously designed shades formed from a mosaic of hundreds of individual glass pieces are considered the ultimate examples and can be purchased for between $100,000 – $150,000

The later styles with floral designs and vibrant colors are the most popular examples for todays consumers. The more popular designs can range from the dreamy flowing floral designs like the Tiffany Daffodil lamp to the Oriental designs like the Tiffany Poppy Lamp.

How to identify a Real Tiffany Lamp  – Tiffany Lamp Appraisal

There a few techniques that can show you how to identify a real Tiffany Lamp.

The form of a Tiffany Lampshade is important. They should have cone or globe shaped. A Tiffany Lamp normally comes with a brass base.  

Tiffany Lamp designs are largely botanical in nature such as pond lilies, or feature dragonflies, butterflies, spiders and peacock feathers. Geometric patterns are also widely featured.

Due to the age of authentic Tiffany Lampshades there is likely to be some movement in the glass shade. So holding the shade at the top and lightly knocking on the glass can help to indicate you have a real Tiffany shade if there is a slight rattle. Fakes do not tend to rattle as the soldering is newer and firmer.

Much of the glass produced by Tiffany Studios contains specks of color, often known as confetti glass. Gold glass where used should have a translucent amber sheen. Fake shades containing gold glass often have a greenish tint or a very pale translucent gold color.

Tiffany Lamps have the paint embedded into the glass, whereas with some fakes the color can be painted onto the glass. Simply applying a small amount of nail remover to the glass surface can tell if this is the case.

An authentic Tiffany lamp should have a signature. On early model this will take the form of a thin sheet of brass that has been stamped with the Tiffany Studio name. These however are not difficult to make so you will need to look for further signs. Glass palates in some original lamps are less garish than fakes. The color palette of originals is more understated. In other lamps the pattern may have been altered and can appear sloppy compared to the original. The pattern of original lamps tend to be more natural in style than the fakes. The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass contains an archive of all the glass used by Tiffany Studios, so it is further possible to identify forgeries that are found to have been made with glass not by Tiffany Studios. Fake Tiffany lamps can also suffer from bad paintwork or soldering.

Tiffany lamp markings

Most authentic Tiffany Lamp shades are signed. How they are stamped varies over time. Some of the Shades bear the complete Tiffany name on the outer rim, while others state “Tiffany Studios”, Tiffany and Co.”, or initials. A lot of the shades have a model number, which can match the base if made as a set. The model number will appear by the name stamp. Many shades are marked by a bronze pad. These Tiffany lamp markings, stamps or signatures are pretty easy to copy so should not in isolation form a decision that you have a genuine Tiffany Lamp.

An original Tiffany Lamp base should contain a grey metal ring within the base cap. Practically all original lamps feature a hollow bronze base with a heavy ring of lead inside. In a small number of lamps mosaic bases were, however used. Brass, zinc, white metal, plastic or wood bases are common in fake models.

Tiffany bronze bases often develop a patina as they age. However better forgers can add a fake patina, so authenticity cannot be guaranteed by this alone.

Most real Tiffany Lamps feature a turn-paddle knob to operate them. There are a small number that use a chain pull instead.

A great resource in determining the authenticity of a Tiffany Lamp is the book “The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany” a collaboration by Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen. If nothing else it serves as a great piece of eye candy and is probably my favorite book covering Tiffany’s Lamps. There are some great essays included in the book as well as a comprehensive catalogue of the most important lamps.

Detecting a Tiffany Lamp Forgery by the Neustadt Collection:

Where can I see Tiffany lamps?/What museums have Tiffany Lamps?

Click on the link to read my blog on the best museums to visit and see authentic Tiffany Lamps:

Tiffany Lamp Collections – Best Places for Real Tiffany Lamp

What about Tiffany Style Lamps?

Click on the link to read my blog about re-production Tiffany Style Lamps:

What is a Tiffany Style Lamp?

Acknowledgements:

https://antiques.lovetoknow.com/about-antiques/how-identify-antique-tiffany-lamps

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/identify-real-tiffany-lamp-53447.html

 

Authentic Tiffany Floor lamps – Most Valuable / Where to Buy

In this blog I detail the Top 6 Antique Tiffany Floor Lamps sold at auction, including the outstanding Authentic Tiffany Dragonfly Floor Lamp on display at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. Other historical Antique Tiffany Floor Lamps highlighted include a Poinesettia Floor Lamp and Daffodil Floor Lamp.

We then discuss where to buy Genuine Louis Comfort Tiffany Floor Lamps including the Macklowe Gallery in New York, top auction houses featuring Authentic Tiffany Lamps and auction listing sites that feature historical details of Real Tiffany Lamps sold at auction and upcoming auctions.

Tiffany Studios Peony Floor Lamp
Creative Commons TIFFANY STUDIOS LEADED GLASS AND BRONZE BORDER PEONY FLOOR LAMP. Circa 1920

If your looking to buy a Tiffany Style Floor Lamp then this review blog will give you the answers you need.

Antique Tiffany Floor lamps – Best Sold at Auction

Some examples of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s most famous tiffany floor lamps include:

1. Tiffany Studios Hanging Head “Dragonfly” Floor Lamp

The Museum of Fine Art in Boston have a fine example of the Tiffany Dragonfly Floor Lamp.

This lamp comes with a Mosaic and Turtle Back base and dates to between 1905 and 1910.

The dimensions of the lamp including shade and base are 33 1/8 x 22 1/2 inches.

In 1989 the lamp was acquired from Harvey Weinstein, by a Japanese collector Mr. Takeo Horiuch Mr Horiuch became an avid Tiffany collector and created the S. C. Tiffany Garden Museum in the coastal town of Matsue, Japan to house his collection. Arguably this collection became the most important Tiffany Studios and Art Nouveau to have existed. Circumstances dictated that the collection must be broken up and this Dragonfly Floor Lamp was acquired by Boston’s Museum of Fine Art via the auction house Michaan on December 12, 2012.

2. Tiffany Studios Patinated-Bronze and Leaded Favrile Glass Poinsettia Floor Lamp

This cone-shaped lamp features a myriad of poinsettia blossoms in mottled shades of pink, red and amethyst, set against a backdrop of green and amber leaves and a ground of mottled white and turquoise.

The dimensions of the lamp including shade and base are 64 x 28 1/4 inches.

The lamp coming from the Estate of Charles Davis White Thompson fetched $317,500 at Doyle’s Auction on September 29th, 2004.

Another example considered to be the finest Poinsettia floor lamp was sold at Christies on December 10, 1998 for $795,000, exceeding its estimate of $400,00-$600,000. This lamp was 78 in x 26 inches and dates to around 1910.

The Tiffany Poinsettia Floor Lamps were said to have been inspired by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s love of nature as a Christmas piece, hence the red and green coloring.

According to a write up by Paul Doros for Sotheby’s the Poinsettia floor lamps first appeared for sale by Tiffany Studios around December, 2008. Poinsettia’s had already established a Christmas appeal in the United States since their introduction in 1828. These lamps were promoted as having a “distinctly Christmas atmosphere”.

The shades were available in six different sizes from 14 to 26 inches.

The table lamp version was not introduced for a further three years and was intended as a more affordable version, that was a “practical Christmas Gift of permanent value”.

3. Tiffany Studios Intaglio-Carved Favrile Glass, Turtleback Tile and Bronze Floor Lamp

An example of this lamp was sold by Christies in December 8th, 2000 for $25,850, exceeding the reserve price of $18,000 – $24,000.

Dating to around 1910, the lamp design feature three intaglio-carved dragonflies, a butterfly and a fly. The background color of the shade is a “Murano” green.

The dimensions of the lamp including shade and base are 53 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.

4. Tiffany Studios Butterfly Etched Iridescent Favrile Glass and Bronze Floor Lamp

Waddington’s Auction House of Toronto, Canada sold this Tiffany Floor Lamp on June 10th, 2009 for more than double the top end of its reserve price, realising $25,200

The dimensions of the lamp including shade and base are 54 x 10.2 inches.

5. Tiffany Studios, Leaded Daffodil Floor Lamp

This gorgeous Tiffany Floor lamp was sold by James D. Julia auction house on November 28, 2012.

Realising over 9 times the upper reserve price, the lamp realized $13,800 at the auction. While not as intricate as the Dragonfly floor lamp above, I personally believe this was excellent value for the delightful design, number of glass pieces and color palette.

Featuring yellow daffodils and green leaves, set against a mottled blue background the shade rests upon an undecorated brass junior floor base.

The shade dates from 1919 and the complete lamp measures 64 x 20 inches.

6. Tiffany Studios A Favrile Glass and Patinated Bronze Floor Lamp, circa 1900

This Tiffany Bronze Floor Lamp sold at Bonham’s auction house in London, United Kingdom on October 7th, 2015.

The lamp dating to around 1900 realized $1500 at auction.

Being one of Tiffany’s earlier pieces it is simpler in design than the Dragonfly or Daffodil floor lamps and does not feature the copper foil method of manufacture.

The dimensions of this lamp were not listed.

The six floor lamps listed above range in value from around $2000 to over $300,000. The values reached at auction date back to as far as the year 2000, so there is sure to be a significant increase in the value of these authentic Tiffany Floor Lamps if they went to auction today.

Where to buy Real Tiffany Lamps – Genuine Tiffany Floor Lamp

The Macklowe Gallery

The Macklowe Gallery features an extensive range of original tiffany floor lamps from their gallery in Park Avenue, New York.

Macklowe Gallery Tiffany Lamps range from the entire period of Tiffany Studios from around 1900 to 1928. The Tiffany Lamps on offer are all signed Tiffany Studios New York or Tiffany Furnaces.

Macklowe’s website features excellent photography of the lamps and detailed descriptions.

Check out the Macklowe gallery here:

http://www.macklowegallery.com

Auction Houses

Christies, Sotheby’s, Doyles auction houses all regularly feature Tiffany Studios works for sale.

https://www.sothebys.com

https://www.christies.com

https://doyle.com

Christies has the following guide to authentic Tiffany Lamps:

https://www.christies.com/features/Tiffany-lamps-10-things-you-need-to-know-9542-3.aspx

There are various websites that list Tiffany items both historically and that are coming up for sale. My favorite amongst these are:

https://www.invaluable.com

https://www.liveauctioneers.com

http://www.artnet.com/artists/tiffany-studios/

Acknowledgements:

https://www.invaluable.com/blog/inside-the-archives-tiffany-lamp-prices/

https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/hanging-head-dragonfly-table-lamp-567459

https://doyle.com/auctions/04be03-belle-epoque/catalogue/520-tiffany-studios-patinated-bronze-and-leaded-favrile

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2018/tiffany-dreaming-in-glass-n09958/lot.323.html