Puffy lamp brings beauty with the lights off

Antiques & Collecting

As we go deeper into December, the nights get longer and the days darker. It’s no wonder so many holiday traditions involve lights, from the Hanukkah menorah to strings of Christmas tree lights to Kwanzaa candles.

In the early 20th century, everyday lights could look festive, too. Incandescent light bulbs were invented in 1879. While they took some time to replace familiar light sources like candles and oil lamps, designers quickly realized their potential. Amplifying the light and protecting the flame were no longer the highest priorities for lighting design. In fact, electric lights often needed to be softened.

The early 20th century saw the appearance of beautiful, elaborate glass lampshades. The Pairpoint company in New Bedford, Massachusetts, started making lamps in 1890. Their most famous — and most expensive — are their Puffy lamps with three-dimensional designs. This Puffy lamp with three-dimensional flowers and colorful hummingbirds sold for $5,736 at Morphy Auctions.

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Q: My family inherited a pair of elephant tusks from my late father and mother-in-law. They were given to them by my mother-in-law’s sister’s husband, Willem De Beer. He was the head game ranger at The Wankie (Hwange) National Park and, as such, had government permission to cull wildlife. I am confused with the legalities regarding the sale of ivory, so any advice or guidance would be appreciated if these could be legally sold.

A: First, check your state’s department of fish and wildlife for local laws. Some states do not allow any sale of ivory. If selling ivory is legal in your state, check the current federal laws according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov/guidance). There are different restrictions for African and Asian elephant ivory. We presume your elephant tusks are African. You will need to be able to prove what animal the tusks came from, how old they are and when they were imported to the United States. A licensed appraiser may be able to help you get the documentation you need. If there is an antiques dealer, jeweler or auction house in your area that sells ivory, they may be able to help you. If you cannot legally sell the tusks under your circumstances and you do not want to keep them, you may be able to donate them to a museum or give them to a family member.

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Q: My niece has several “foil” Pokemon cards. Where can she go to sell them?

A: Foil Pokemon cards, also known as holographic or holo cards, almost always have higher value than non-foil, or matte, cards, especially if they are first edition. A local card or comic shop is usually the easiest place to sell trading cards but will not necessarily get you the best prices. They need to be able to make a profit from reselling the cards and so will likely offer you less than market value. You may be able to sell for higher prices at a card show if there is one in your area. There are plenty of online resources for researching and selling Pokemon cards. You can find guides to determine the condition and value of your cards on tcgplayer.com. It is also possible to sell cards through them, but they charge a fee. Another popular place to sell collectibles like Pokemon cards is eBay, which often brings market value. Sites like Facebook Marketplace can help you find local buyers. Some auction houses that sell sports cards or vintage toys also sell trading cards. Wherever you decide to sell, be sure to get reviews or references first and check for any fees or charges.

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Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Kitchen, chocolate mold, fawns, standing, facing front, textured back, 12, hinged, 16 x 18 x 2 1/2 inches, $75.

Toy, sled, wood, painted, oval cartouche, landscape scene, yellow scrolls, iron runners, scrolled ends, $90.

Porcelain-Asian, charger, blue and white, two cranes in landscape, flowering trees, scalloped rim, Japan, 12 inches, $130.

Quilt, patchwork, multicolor starburst, ring of eight white squares inside, white ground, green binding, early 20th century, 70 inch square, $190.

Thermometer, Royal Crown Cola, The Fresher Refresher, red and white, multicolor crown at top, 25 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, $210.

Furniture, cupboard, jelly, pine, poplar, long dovetailed drawer over two front doors, paneled ends, bracket feet, late 1800s, 52 x 39 x 16 inches, $250.

Phonograph, RCA Manufacturing, portable, aluminum, chrome-plated steel, lacquered wood, vinyl over wood case, John Vassos, c. 1935, 22 x 21 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches, $720.

Lustres, cranberry, gilt overlay, shaped rim, oval cartouches, portraits alternating with flowers, pendant cut prisms, five lower panels around foot, Bohemian, 19th century, 12 1/2 inches, pair, $1,665.


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