What is a Tiffany Lamp Worth? – Most expensive Tiffany Lamps
In this blog we discover the most expensive Tiffany Lamp 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 is a Tiffany lamp worth.
Originally when I wrote this blog then I would have the most expensive lamp was sold for under $3 million. But as you will read below this has recently been surpassed by some margin.
Prices start from around $4000 to over $3 million.
To find out where you can see real Tiffany Lamps read here!
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 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.
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 of a Tiffany Lamp 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 can you tell if you have a 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 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 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:
What about Tiffany Style Lamps?
Click on the link to read my blog about re-production Tiffany Style Lamps: