- Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:00
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This pedestal and lamp are two pieces from a Northern Neck estate. The pedestal is oak, and originally was the newel post of the family’s Victorian home in Lancaster County. The lamp was originally oil, but the family had it electrified many years ago.
To look at the lamp first, it is American-made, and dates from the late nineteenth century. The brass appears to have been lacquered, perhaps at the time of
electrification. Unfortunately, when the conversion took place, the prevailing practice was to drill the fount, and bring the wiring through it and out the base. Today lamps being electrified are not drilled, but get new burners suitably wired, which screw into the base, thereby allowing for re-conversion back to oil. In such cases I recommend keeping the old burner to be able to re-convert if desired.
As drilled, and without its original shade the lamp is worth $50. Had it not been drilled, the value would be twice as great.
The pedestal is a great survivor of what must have been a wonderful house. It reminds me of the newel post I bought as a teenager as the east side of the Breakers Hotel was being torn down at Colonial Beach. I still have it, but have not used it, as I did not want to cut off the cannonball top to get a flat surface.
I have kept it as a memento of the golden age at the Beach, when Mary Costello Cahill had both sides of the Breakers teeming with guests all summer long. In between the two nearly matching sides, she served her famous meals on a large covered porch.
This one has good details, indicating that the family home must have been quite elaborate, with typical Victorian embellishments. As is, it is worth $75, but to someone needing such a piece for restoration of a home, or to place in the stairway of an addition to a home, the price could be higher.