Charles Limbert Signed Oil Lamp, ca. 1905

Value (2011) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
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GUEST:
I have a Limbert oil lamp made by Charles Limbert of Lionsville, Pennsylvania. I bought it at an estate sale a couple of years ago, and I've been dying to find out what it's worth.

APPRAISER:
Okay, what did you pay for it?

GUEST:
I paid $1,100 for it.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And at the auction where I bought it, my wife was sitting next to me, and after I paid the $1,100, she went, "Who paid that much for that lamp?" And they walked it over to us and she's like, "Oh, my God!" and that's all she said.

APPRAISER:
And you've done a little bit of research on it. What have you found out about it?

GUEST:
I found out that Charles Limbert was from Lionsville, Pennsylvania. He was in the Arts and Crafts movement, and supposedly he was second to Stickley, but that's what I found on the Internet. And I know he's made a lot of electric lamps, but I didn't know that until after I'd bought the lamp. And I know the oil lamp dates itself to probably, like, about 1905 at the latest because then they went to electric, so...

APPRAISER:
Well, it's a great piece, and Charles Limbert was born in Lionsville, Pennsylvania.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
He actually had a furniture factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then later in Holland, Michigan.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So in 1906, he started the firm in Holland, Michigan. It is a classic Prairie-style slag glass lamp. We know it's Limbert, because it's signed.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it's signed with a paper label, so I'm going to take this off. We're going to look at the paper label here, and we can see the font here from the Pittsburgh Brass and Light Company, and then right here on the back of the lamp, on the bottom, we see the paper label, it says, "Handcrafted by C. Limbert." It's fantastic to see a paper label. You don't see the paper labels virtually at all.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
That's really what drew our attention to it. It's got its completely original finish.

GUEST:
Wow, that's great.

APPRAISER:
Okay, which is going to add some value to it when we come down to it. And you can see the form here. It's got a great form, classic Prairie lamp. So let's put this back together here. We're going to set this on top. I know it's a little tricky to get these in the notches.

GUEST:
I'll help you here.

APPRAISER:
Let's see if you can help me get it in here.

GUEST:
Okay, you're in your side, we're good.

APPRAISER:
Okay. The oil aspect of it does date it to about 1900, 1905.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Probably, therefore, made in Grand Rapids. I wouldn't necessarily say he was second to Stickley, but certainly one of the top five Arts and Crafts producers and manufacturers. This lamp, like so many lamps from the Arts and Crafts period, is made of oak. A lot of these came out as kits. A lot of Limbert lamps were hand-hammered copper and slag glass. Not a lot of these factory-made pieces come up.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So I'm going to give you a conservative auction estimate, so if it was listed in an auction today, we would think that you would see it somewhere between a $2,500 and a $3,500 estimate.

GUEST:
Wow, that's fantastic.

APPRAISER:
I do think it could quite possibly sell for significantly more than that.

GUEST:
Wow, that's fantastic. It just makes me feel good about... that I know what I'm doing a little bit better now than I did before.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Quinn's Auction Galleries
Falls Church, VA
Appraised value (2011)
$2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Form
Lamp
Material
Metal, Wood

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