Dirk Van Erp Lamp, ca. 1911

Value (2013) | $20,000$25,000

I bought it at an auction in 1985 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Okay. And how much did you pay for the lamp at that time?

$65. It looked like a lamp I had seen in the movie The Sting with Paul Newman.


And I'd seen that lamp and I liked it. I said, "That's neat." And I saw it, and it sort of looked like a little mushroom, and I said, "I gotta have it." So I bought it. I did read a magazine not long after that that mentioned the maker, and it said lamps can sell up to $1,500.

Okay. And that maker, did you see a name?

Yeah, Dirk Van Erp.

Dirk Van Erp. Well, that is what you have here. It is a lamp by Dirk Van Erp. And we're going to take a look at the bottom, where he signed his work. And we can see on the underside his windmill mark and his name, Dirk Van Erp. And one thing to note here is the closed box. That closed box dates this lamp for us to circa 1910 to 1912.

All right.

Which is a bit earlier, because Dirk Van Erp emigrated to America in the late 19th century. He was a Dutch immigrant who came here and settled in Northern California.


And he began working in the Oakland and San Francisco areas and became a pioneer and leading figure in the American Arts and Crafts decorative arts field. And today, he's recognized as one of the premier makers of American Arts and Crafts decorative objects. So the first thing that is a major statement of "Here I am, I'm a great maker of American Arts and Crafts" is these rivets in the copper that are holding the top of the lamp on. And he's used four rivets per strap, and he's showing you the rivets and the strap. He's not hiding them under the corona of the lamp. And then as we move on down the strap, we do see the rivets at the edge of the lampshade as well. So this lampshade is made of copper and mica, and the condition is really good here. So we've got a really early, rare Van Erp lamp in good condition, though it is a bit dirty and it could benefit from a bit of a clean-up. But it's in great shape and it's a great thing, and I would expect this at auction to sell for in the region of $20,000 to $25,000.

You're kidding me.

I am not kidding.


Van Erp lamps have diminished in value a bit recently. Ten years ago, I might have said $40,000 to $50,000.


Appraisal Details

Jason Preston Art Advisory & Appraisals
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2013)
Richmond, VA (August 17, 2013)
20th Century
Copper, Mica

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