I tried to buy a Tiffany Poppy table lamp, but…

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tiffany 17 poppy fairfield
Tiffany 17″ diameter Poppy table lamp, Fairfield lot #14

Fairfield Auctions, Monroe, CT, held a general auction on September 29, 2021. Included in the sale was a beautiful, but badly damaged, 17″ diameter Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp. Interestingly, the lamp was discovered by a cleanout crew whose job was to dispose of the contents of a house. It had been treated very poorly on the mistaken belief that it had no value.

tiffany 17 poppy fairfield 2

Besides the missing glass in one section and several missing tiles in the border, there were multiple severely damaged tiles that needed replacement. I counted at least 35-40 damaged or missing tiles. That’s quite a lot of damage.

I wanted to buy the lamp because the undamaged parts of the lamp were really beautiful. If properly restored, the lamp would be gorgeous. I guessed the restoration would cost about $15,000 and the lamp would be worth approximately $60,000 after restoration. But besides the cost of the restoration, the lamp needed a better base. The simple stick base it came with was good for a geometric shade like an Acorn, but not for an important Poppy shade. So I figured the upgrade in the base would cost another $7,500 – $10,000. Then the lamp would be worth $70,000 – $80,000 in my estimation.

Prior to the auction, I figured I could pay up to $20,000, including the buyer’s premium. That way my total cost for the lamp after paying for the restoration and upgrading the base would be approximately $45,000, leaving some room for a profit. I don’t know who bought it, but it wasn’t me. It sold for $40,800, including buyer’s premium. Doesn’t make sense to me. Only a collector or dealer with knowledge of how and where to restore this lamp would have any interest in it. And that means the total cost of the restored lamp would be approximately $65,000. Sounds nuts to me.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.

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