Tiffany Studios Desk Lamp, ca. 1925

Value (2009) | $1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction

This lamp was left to my husband and I by his aunt when she passed away, along with other household items. It came into her possession as a gift to her husband, who was a prominent physician in the Denver area. The lamp was given to him by a neighbor in gratitude for his medical care and his friendship. Probably back in the late '40s or early '50s.

It's made of gilded bronze, and at the time when it was new, which was probably, by the way, a generation earlier than the late '40s, early '50s, it would have been made in, I suspect, the mid to late 1920s. It's a desk lamp. Do you use the lamp?

It sits on my husband's desk now, and he does use it.

I'm going to turn it on, because it still works.


Now, tell me a little more about what you'd like to know about it.

Well, it says "Tiffany" on the bottom, and I have never seen a Tiffany lamp that did not have a glass shade. And I had been wondering just how unusual it is that this has a metal shade.

I suspect if you put "Tiffany lamp" into a search engine, you'd get probably tens of thousands of responses, and the overwhelming majority of them would show a lamp with a leaded glass shade.


Of a type that Louis Comfort Tiffany pioneered. He was not the only person to make them, but he was making the best ones and pioneered the technique. And when we think of a Tiffany lamp, we tend to think of something worth a lot of money. But the majority of Tiffany lamps like this one, I'm afraid, aren't.

Oh, you're going to disappoint me, aren't you?

Well, I'm going to disappoint you maybe in one way. I hope it's good news to know that it is an authentic Tiffany lamp. There's certainly no dispute about that. If it came to auction today, you would certainly see an estimate on this of between $1,000 and $1,500.

Okay. I'm sure my husband will continue to use it on his desk.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2009)
$1,000 Auction$1,500 Auction
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.