Samuel Yellin Light Fixture, ca. 1910
It actually belonged to my father-in-law. Um, he was in the boys' choir at the Washington National Cathedral, and when his voice changed, he worked on the custodial crew at the cathedral to help pay his tuition. And he said he found this lamp in the trash, being disposed of, and he rescued it. Uh, when he passed away, no one in the family wanted Dad's ugly lamp, and my mother-in-law was going to call someone to pick it up for scrap metal. I asked her not to do that, to let me look it over. When I saw that it was marked Samuel Yellin, I did a little bit of research, and my husband and I visited the Washington National Cathedral to kind of learn a little bit more about Yellin, and we were shocked to find what appears to be an identical lamp hanging on the wall of the Chapel of the Resurrection. When my father-in-law had it displayed in his home, he had that shade on it. I don't know if it was original to the lamp, or something that he created to go with it, but that's how we got it.
Well, I'll tell you what: It has nothing to do with it whatsoever.
I think it was just a nice, decorative shade that fit well. Uh, but no, it has nothing to do with the piece at all.
I love the story, and what's really wonderful about this piece is that the mark on it of Samuel Yellin is so very clear, and Samuel Yellin was a metalworker based in Philadelphia. And he started his business in around 1907, and at the peak of the business, had over 200 people working for him, providing, uh, metalwork and lighting for great American homes. Also, national monuments-- the Washington Cathedral. Uh, from my little research I could do, he continued to supply pieces for the National Cathedral throughout a period of time. What's lovely about the piece is that we're here at Winterthur today, and there are actually drawings in the museum collection of Samuel Yellin's work.
Yes, so really wonderful to see this here. This is a single light fixture, and it's more ecclesiastical in design, so the value's, uh, a little on the softer side for his pieces. But if I were to see this come up for auction, I would expect to see an estimate of around about $3,000 to $4,000.
That's fantastic. That's an expensive piece of scrap metal. (laughs)
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