Tiffany Studios Fish Lamp
Appraised Value: $100,000 (1997)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:03)
GUEST: This lamp is on our father's side of the family. It was his great-great-aunt who lived in New York City and was the private secretary to J.C. Penney. And she and her husband bought a lot of beautiful things, one of which was this lamp-- been passed down through the years and it ended up in my dad's house and in my house, so...
APPRAISER: In your house. This is your sister?
GUEST: My sister.
APPRAISER: Aha. This is not an ordinary Tiffany lamp. We've seen a lot of lamps that have floral decoration and some of them geometric. This one is a fish lamp. You can see that there are fish swimming; the glass that these fish are designed with enhances the fish themselves, which are iridescent, and then they're swimming through glass, which is rippled and gives it the look of water. In addition to that, it has these little jewels of glass in different colors. We're going to take it off the base to have a little better look at the glass that's involved. And we'll show you that the different kinds of glass that Tiffany used enhanced the design-- not only the rippled glass but also some glass that is striated and some glass that has different colors in it. Your base is signed on the bottom with the "Tiffany Studios" markings, and the socket has been replaced somewhere along the line, but the value of a Tiffany lamp is not in the base as a general rule. The value is in the shade. Can you tell us a little bit about your... your great-aunt, is that it?
GUEST: It would be my great-great-aunt. She kept it in her home from when she bought it till she passed away. Then it was kept in our... Third cousin's. ...third cousin's house until she passed away well into her 90s.
APPRAISER: Did she ever tell you what she paid for it?
GUEST: The original owner died when I was a little girl and my third cousin was 90-something when she passed away...
APPRAISER: I see, right. So they never really discussed the value of it. Did you ever have an appraisal of the piece?
GUEST: Um... about in the upper 20s.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, I think I've got some good news for you folks.
APPRAISER: Um, a Tiffany lamp of this type, because of its rarity and because of the unusualness of the form and the style, would sell on today's market in the vicinity of $100,000. It's a wonderful lamp.
GUEST: Hey, Dad! You're kidding!
APPRAISER: You think your family would be surprised?
APPRAISER: My mom! I think they're going to be very surprised.
GUEST: They'll be very happy.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.