Fairy Lamps Recession

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Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by genden70 on Fri May 16, 2008 10:10 am

Whether it is officially a recession or not, the reality is that we are in an economic downturn. I have heard and read a lot of anecdotal evidence that antique prices have plummeted. One appraiser said he is appraising more antiques than ever in the past ten years for people selling for financial reasons. He also stated that the value of the antiques he is appraising is down considerably. Does anyone know how this is affecting the victorian fairy lamp market? I can only judge by ebay and it appears to me that the availability has slowed to an abrupt halt. Are victorian fairy lamps available for sale? and is so, are the prices down? Genene

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by Admin on Fri May 16, 2008 1:57 pm

Genene,

You have asked some very good questions. I hope it generates a lot of discussion.

For me, I have only eBay to go by. I see two things. Occassionally, a choice fairy lamp (admiditidly, they seldom come up) will have a very low "Buy it Now" (BIN) price compared to what it would have sold for just a few years ago. I think this is a good example:


A few short years ago, this Nailsea would have sold for $250 or more, yet no one wants it today for $170. I am sure the reasons are varied. But, for me and perhaps others who have collected fairy lamps for decades, I have little interest in adding duplicates to my collection. That said, this is a great opportunity for beginning collectors.

On the other end of the spectrum, I see BIN prices that are way above the value. And, of course, go un-sold. And, here is an example of "over-valued":


In this case, I think the seller is either uninformed or is bending to the wishes of someone who has consigned it to be sold.

As for the overall antique market, if folks have less money to spend, the less they buy. The less demand, the less the value. I am not surprised the antique appraisals are down. They should be.

Finally, a personal observation that really captures what I think of the current fairy lamp market. I have lamps I would like to sell but I am not willing to let them go for a song. Since eBay is my primary outlet, don't expect any of my lamps to be up for auction anytime soon.

Jim.
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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by genden70 on Fri May 16, 2008 5:13 pm

The reason I have not bid on the Buy It Now nailsea lamp now on ebay is because I have been looking just for three-piece lamps. Originally, I have bought shades or bases, but have found that it is next to impossible to find a match. Jim, your reply is helpful. I hope others choose to respond also. Each of us has different experiences and those experiences would be helpful to the discussion. I never see fairy lamps in the antique shops in my area or even at the antique show that exhibits twice a year. Does anyone have a different experience with shops and shows in your area? Genene

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by RN Collector on Sat May 24, 2008 12:24 am

Genene,
In response to your quiry if there are fairy lamps available for sale in other areas--I live in the Northern Ohio area. Twenty-five years ago I could find an occasional Victorian fairy lamp in high-end antique shops and many contemporary ones at flea markets, antique shows, second-hand shops, etc. For many years now I have seen no Victorian lamps and even the contemporary ones are few and far between. It's my belief that most of the Victorian ones have long been in collections and only become available for sale when the collection is sold off or a collector has extras to part with. As far as the contemporary ones, I believe most people put them up on E-Bay to sell. E-Bay has been a two-edged sword for me in this regard. On one hand I have been able to purchase fairy lamps that I could never have found in the Ohio/Indiana/W. Virginia area I used to comb regularly for treasures. On the other hand it's taken some of the fun out of it for me as I loved spending a day being on the hunt for my lamps, the surprise of what I would find, knowing the many dealers, etc. Sitting in front of a computer searching is not quite the same thing!
Keep looking. You just never know where one might turn up!
Ruth

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by genden70 on Sat May 24, 2008 12:39 pm

Thanks for your reply. I suspected as much, but wasn't sure availability didn't vary according to geographical area. Lots of collectors watching for the quality victorian fairy lamps means the prices will be high. That's good for the seller and not so good for the buyer. Genene

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by cadking on Tue May 27, 2008 12:09 pm

As noted, ebay has been a double edge sword, both good and bad. But you still need to get out and look. I found a nice dome this weekend that I needed in Oregon while I was up there with my youngest. I know that it is just a shade and not a three or seven piece lamp, but still a nice item that I didn't have. I also found a top for a U-95 in blue this weekend as well (for sale if some one needs it). If you are going to wait only for multiple piece lamps, you will be waiting a long time in between finds. A lot of these have been sucked into collections and won’t see daylight until the collector passes. I was recently at a glass collectors home that only specializes in Victorian art glass examples, and they have some very nice lamps as the special glass can be cheaper in a fairy lamp form than in most other examples with the same glass. An example that pops in my mind is they have a super example of a Peloton lamp (sim. R-555). This was offered to them at half the cost of a similar style biscuit jar with a silver lid, so they purchased the lamp. They also have a ribbed pink, opaque, and white striped Cleveland shade that I would like to have also. If I can find another example of this glass of equal size, then I can trade, but even that is hard to find. You also need to look in the not so high end antique stores. As my father used to say about these shops “These are the places you sometimes find a Pony”. (This means that if you did through enough horse #!|*, you might find what you are looking for under it all).

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by genden70 on Tue May 27, 2008 12:56 pm

Thanks for your valuable information and advice. I will look for the pony. What do you think about buying "damaged" fairy lamps. We all want the perfect, but what does a small chip on a ruffle or chips on the post or small flakes on the dome do to the value? Is it best to totally avoid anything with damage? Genene

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Fairy Lamp Recession: Perfect vs. Damaged

Post by RN Collector on Tue May 27, 2008 10:59 pm

I'm sure you are going to get a lot of varying opinions on what type of lamps to put in your collection but I'll weigh in with my perspective. The first consideration you should think about is what is the intent of your collecting fairy lamps? If you are collecting only for investment purposes, then perfection should be the goal as any piece of glass with damage will decrease the value significantly. Factors such as rarity of the item, age, color, pattern, maker will help determine value even with damaged glass but in general glass collectors expect their items to be perfect. In my case I have added damaged lamps over the years if it is a piece that is difficult to find or rare but I have no illusions about the resale value. I bought the flawed lamps if they were scarce or hard to find because I wanted them as an addition to my collection to round it out. I wanted my collection to reflect both Victorian and contemporary time periods, different glass makers, types of glass, colors, etc.
I collect strictly for pleasure. I started collecting fairy lamps about 35 years ago because I love beautiful glass and found the lamps themselves to be magical when lit up. My lamps are on prominent display in my home and I enjoy looking at them every day. Many years ago I started a family Holiday tradition with my daughters where we would light up some of the common contemporary ones for parties, Christmas dinner, etc. Often we would have a dozen going at one time for an event. Now my granddaughter selects the ones we will light up for these events; so many of my lamps have been used over the years. Of course the rare and expensive ones stay in the display cabinets. But the point of it is that I enjoy my collection and have fun both collecting and using the lamps. Since I have no intention of selling them, I'm not concerned about their resale value and I'll leave that to my heirs to deal with. However, both of my daughters and my granddaughter have already pointed out the ones they want when I've gone to the Fairy Lamp Happy Hunting Grounds; so I imagine many will remain in the family. One can only hope the "selection process" will proceed peacefully and not cause a family feud! Smile


Last edited by RN Collector on Wed May 28, 2008 12:08 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : misspelled word)

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by cadking on Wed May 28, 2008 12:11 am

This is a very tough question to answer, and no matter how it is answered, someone will disagree. I have purchased damaged lamps before for my collection with three things in mind.
1. A damaged lamp is worth a fraction of the same lamp in near perfect condition. (I say NEAR perfect as flea bites and rough ground openings are almost always present).
2. Is it a lamp that would add a lamp style or glass type to my collection that I currently don’t have.
3. The last one is the hardest. What piece has been damaged, and what are the chances of finding a replacement piece at some point. (I find shades are some of the easier pieces to find given enough time, but bases or decorated pieces are the hardest).

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Re: Fairy Lamps Recession

Post by genden70 on Wed May 28, 2008 5:52 pm

Thanks to both of you, RN and cadking, for outstanding responses. It helps me to put everything in perspective. Perfect is best but not always available to today's collector. Nobody is making 1890 Victorian art glass fairy lamps now or will they. I suspect price might also be a factor when considering buying a fairy lamp with a little damage. I am cautious and don't want to make a bad buy. Maybe there isn't a bad buy if you really love what you buy. I too collect for pleasure. I don't plan to sell them. My children and grandchildren may or may not develop an interest. They can choose. On the subject of using fairy lamps, I have several Clarke diamond point fairy lamps that I have placed strategically around the house, equipped with the go LED lights I bought at Target. They are wonderful in a power outage. The go LED lights are so easy to turn on and last about 70 hours. They give off a very pleasing glow to guide the way in the dark and I am reminded that the victorians didn't have power outages. Genene

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