Metro-East News

Wally came back from the auction with another lamp. Is it junk?

Wally Spiers’ worst weakness at auctions is small lamps.
Wally Spiers’ worst weakness at auctions is small lamps.

Apparently live and not learn is my motto.

That must be why I became the owner of a set of golf club irons, Bob Goalby model, but with two 6-irons and no wedge. Only $2 at an auction last week. I also bought a leather golf bag for $2 to carry the clubs despite not having played golf for three or four years.

But my worst weakness at auctions is small lamps. I began buying crystal lamp bases when I learned to make six-panel stained glass lampshades for them. They made great wedding gifts since they looked a lot more expensive than they were.

I realized I was out of control one day when I counted the number of lamp bases I had purchased. It was somewhere around 50. And I was just counting the ones I knew I could use. I had many others that were only good for parts or for sitting on shelves, collecting dust.

That is how I live.

Here is how I don’t learn. As I write this, I am looking at a lamp I got last week at an auction which is destined for a collecting-dust role.

It has a brass base with a white, porcelain hand holding the stem that supports a six-sided paper lampshade. Each panel of the lampshade has a Currier & Ives print. Four of the panels have a print from the Homestead series with summer, autumn, winter and spring. The remaining two panels have the Roadside Mill and the River Side. Each panel is 7 by 11 inches.

It has a brass base with a white, porcelain hand holding the stem that supports a six-sided paper lampshade. Each panel of the lampshade has a Currier & Ives print.

The lamp shows some wear. The hand has some cracks and a mysterious stain on some of the fingers.

There is wear on the rolled edges of the paper lampshade as well as a few holes, and the paper looks aged.

The lamp is 28 inches tall. It holds two light bulbs and it works, which is unfortunate because if it didn’t, I could have returned it and have been rid of the eyesore.

“Why did you buy it?” you might ask. I blame it on momentum. It’s like when you are running and it takes you a little distance to stop. You bid a dollar and things go on and before you can stop someone yells “SOLD,” and you have bought a lamp for $5.

Somewhat abashed, I went to find my wife and explain what had happened. She was sitting by a table full of clear glassware and aluminum serving pieces she had bought for only a dollar more than my lamp.

I had no moral high ground to chastise her. So, I’m writing at a table full of glass and aluminum ware with a lamp on the floor beside me.

I tried to look up the lamp on the internet but was kind of stumped on how to describe it. Mention the porcelain hand holding the stem and you get results for hand-painted lamps. Put in the Currier & Ives lampshade part and it gives you pages and pages of Currier & Ives prints.

I haven’t found anything on the internet matching it. Unfortunately, unique doesn’t always translate to valuable. At least it never has for anything else I have purchased.

The best indicator that the lamp is worthless is that the cats have ignored it, and they love to rub on valuable stuff.

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