What Sells: Lamps & Lighting

A wide range of lighting is sold online, from elegant crystal chandeliers to funky 50s pole lamps. The more elaborate and unique the piece, the more in demand it is on marketplaces like eBay, while previously owned lamps bought in retail stores like Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel tend to sell best through online classifieds sites like craigslist.

What Sells

Top-selling styles and brands include:
  • 1950s Danish modern teak lamps and figural TV lamps
  • 1960s mod chrome “Sputnik” hanging lamps
  • Antique bronze Art Nouveau and reverse painted lamps
  • Chandeliers made from crystal, tole and animal antlers
  • Pairpoint glass lamps
  • Stained glass lamps made by Tiffany and other artisans
Research Resources

The Collectics.com website offers educational materials and reference sources for Tiffany lamps and glass, Pairpoint glass lamps, TV lamps of the 1950s and many others. Visit the website at http://www.collectics.com/education.html.

The following books by Ralph Kovel are also highly regarded antiques and collectibles resources: Know Your Collectibles and Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price List, 37th Edition.

Condition & Testing

Look for these signs of wear and tear:

  • Scratches and scuffs
  • Cracks and chips
  • Broken switches
  • Faulty wiring
  • Loose glass panels
  • Frayed or cut cords
  • Missing shades, crystals, etc.

Also, if the lamp is older, ask the owner if the lamp has ever been rewired.

Testing lamps is fairly simple: plug it in and flip the switch. If you don’t have the right equipment to test lamps that have to be hard-wired, you can still sell them “as-is” (many buyers have older lamps rewired for safety).

Key Details

Include these details in your listing:
  • Brand
  • Model name/number (if known)
  • Type of lamp (chandelier, table lamp, swag, etc.)
  • Predominant color(s)
  • Pattern, if applicable
  • Materials (crystal, glass, pottery, lucite, etc.)
  • Age (if known)
  • Packaging (e.g., New in Box)
Storage and Shipping

Lamps should be stored and shipped in their original packaging whenever possible. If the packaging is missing or doesn’t offer enough protection, wrap each item with bubble wrap with the bubbles facing toward the item and secure it with invisible tape. If you’re shipping multiple items, place the heavier items on the bottom of the box or consider packing them in separate boxes. Be sure to fill any extra space below and around the item with foam and/or packing peanuts.

Heavier lamps should be double-boxed, and valuable items should always be insured during shipment.

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