Yellin Floor Lamp, ca. 1925
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $10,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (0:00)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
GUEST: A friend of mine gave it to me in about 1974, and I always loved the lamp, and we've used it every day since.
APPRAISER: And this is the shade that came with it when you got it?
GUEST: I think it was, but it's pretty poor, but I never did anything but dust it.
APPRAISER: You know something about what this is. This has a mark on the bottom of it?
GUEST: It has a mark. It says "Edward Yellin,
APPRAISER: Okay. I was hoping we'd see a piece of Yellin's-- and it's actually Samuel Yellin, because Samuel Yellin--
GUEST: Oh, Samuel, yeah.
APPRAISER: --was from Philadelphia, and he's a very well-known Arts & Crafts-era metalsmith, working primarily in iron. In fact, perhaps, exclusively in iron. And this piece would date to about 1920 or 1930. Yellin was born in Poland in 1885, and emigrated to the U.S. in about 1907. And he was at the Pennsylvania Museum School of the Industrial Arts, where he started as a student, and then became a teacher. And, at one point, he had between 200 and 300 people working for him in his workshop-- in his foundry. Most people, when they think about Arts & Crafts metal, they think about copper. Copper was very democratic and very malleable, and almost all the Arts & Crafts-era material you see of any substance is either of copper, and sometimes of silver. Most of the ironwork done during the Arts & Crafts period is a little heavy-handed, and a little cheesy. Yellin was the exception. I mean, look at how fine the work is on this.
GUEST: Oh, it's wonderful.
APPRAISER: This is an adjustable floor lamp, all hand-wrought iron. This base is very typical. What is unusual is that you don't get such fine detailing on ironwork that you do on copper.
APPRAISER: So this piece, for example, this really fine little detail on the end? It's beautiful. And the way the top finishes, also very fragile in spite of being made of iron. You must have taken very good care of it. The patination on this lamp is also original-- a nice, dark finish, which is what he would have imparted at the time it was made.
APPRAISER: Yeah, that's the... That's the coating over the metal that preserves it and adds some... some rich depth and texture to the... to the metal finish. Now, one thing I do want to point out is that the shade is not original to the piece.
APPRAISER: No. I've had Yellin pieces where there were no shades, where there were parchment or mica shades.
APPRAISER: Or when there were actually iron shades that were conical, with holes punched into them to let the light out. Conservatively, if I was auctioning this lamp, I would estimate it for somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness!
APPRAISER: Now, if it had its original shade, I would have made the estimate more like $7,000 to $12,000.
GUEST: Oh, my God! Yeah. Thank you very much.
APPRAISER: My pleasure.
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