Why I Bought a $10 Lamp


April 12, 2019 by kittynh

I’ve confessed that my Rheumatoid Arthritis means I have to “take it easy”, and this has fullsizeoutput_9b8lead to some interesting Youtube video choices.

My newest addiction it the Crazy Lamp Lady.  Lamp Lady and often her worlds best vintage hunting friend, Sue, go vintage shopping together. I have learned so much about what to look for that it has made my own vintage shopping expeditions even more fun.

Lamp Lady is one of the few people that will mail lamps.  Think about vintage lamps, especially those with shades.  Packing lamps has lead her to be very picking about which lamps she will pick when picking.

I’ve learned from her that often the shade is worth more than the lamp.  Also the finial (that thing that holds the shade on) can also be worth more than the lamp.  Sadly, she lives in Pennsylvania, because here in New Hampshire, lamps are incredibly under priced.

I went from a beautiful mid century modern pair at the Salvation Army for $10 for the matching pair, with shades, to the nearest vintage shop where I found my lamp.  While I couldn’t justify purchasing lamps that would sell online for over $150.00 (I don’t sell online, or sell anything!), I did have to fold for this lamp for $10.

I won’t mention the beautiful brass chandelier for only $30, and the other 20 lamps and shades that were all under $40.  But this beauty was just $10.


Possibly worth more than the lamp, surely worth more than $10

Did it pass the Lamp Lady test?  Well, it has a really nice finial. That alone is probably worth $10 if not more.  The bottom is also aged, the metal part is not shiny.  Then the top part of the lamp is also metal.


That’s not normal plastic… 

The plastic of the bulb holder is not your usual plastic.  It is some “pre modern” plastic.  Also there is crazing in the finish.

Don’t forget to look at the cord.  If the cord is old, that will mean the lamp is old.  This isn’t some 1980’s hotel lamp.


The white part below the bulb is metal, and there is crazing in the glaze, the pull is also old fashioned.

Throw in no chips or cracks (big deal) and a patter I just like.  Sadly no shade, but I can find one.  Since I don’t sell lamps, I settled with a lamp I just like and that I now know what I own.

I’ve no idea if this lamp is worth much more than $10, but odds are even the finial is worth more.  I am still the vintage shopper that buys for myself and for gifting.  But, I now know how to look at old lamps.


The bottom metal part is aged.  It can be cleaned up but it will probably just be cleaned.

Plus if you own any ugly mid century modern lamps, even if they are huge, check with Crazy Lamp Lady on Facebook.  She has a group there that helps identify and give a guess at prices. Right now mid century modern is big.

I’m not sure what kind of a lamp I own, but I know I like it.  That it was a “good deal” is always a plus, but I look forward to using this lamp.


Another reason not to own too many nice lamps, Lille, Malika and Moxie. They chase each other around sometimes and love to knock even big things down.  

If you are ever trapped at home, a video visit with Sue and Crazy Lamp Lady is a delight. You’ll learn what to look for, such as a clone Barbie made around the same time as the original Barbie is WORTH MORE than the original Barbies, and what to pass up.

I still shop for things “I just like.” but a little knowledge can make any vintage shopping more enjoyable.

Does anyone else buy lamps, or something unusual?  Do you sell on an Etsy shop? Ebay?  I will say lamps are unusual, as few people want to ship lamps.

Also what is the best deal, or biggest treasure, you’ve ever bought at a vintage or charity shop?

4 thoughts on “Why I Bought a $10 Lamp

  1. sgerbic says:

    terrific, I have never really thought much about lamps. nice to know that there are people out there who really appreciate them. The next lamp I look at I’ll take a second look just because of your blog reminding me Kitty.

    And I loved the photo of your three cats on the window sill.

  2. Jude says:

    Not mid century modern — the flowers and fluting, fancy ass finial as well as what is probably a bakelite plug, mark it from an earlier period: ’20s-30s would be my guess.

    Be sure to rewire, or you could start a house fire!

    • kittynh says:

      we did we’re just keeping it and enjoying it with a new shade (did not put on an expensive one). My house is NOT mid century modern, so we love the look and colors.

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