Ask Antique Trader: Collector pays $40 at garage sale for Tiffany box appraised at more than $1,000

Q I found this interesting glass box at a garage sale for $40. It has no marks or signature. It is 8 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches.
Did I pay too much?
— L.S., Davie, Fla.

A Even without a signature your box was made by Tiffany studios. Produced from 1898 through the 1920’s, inkwells, letter racks, book ends, etc. came in 24 different patterns and various patinations. Some pieces and patterns were produced for only a short time making them quite rare today. Your example is in  bronze in the pine needle pattern over green and white glass.  It could have been part of a desk set and is in a well known Tiffany pattern. Similar examples have sold at auction for $1,000 or more.

Q I inherited this yellow glass vase from my late grandmother, who had inherited it from her mother. Originally it was part of a large collection that got lost or broken over the years. What can you tell me about it ?
— J.D.C., Moline, Ill.

A What you have is a Victorian, diamond-quilted canary yellow, satin glass vase with a ruffled top. As a form of Victorian art glass it was seriously collect in the late 19th to early 20th century.
These days it probably would fetch around $150-$200 at auction.

minarah lampQ This is one of a pair of copper lamps purchased at an antique show. The seller said they came from a woman who said they came Prussia. This would date them from before the 1930s since Prussia was no longer in existence after that. They are 24 inches high and 22 inches at the base.
What is the age, origin and value ?
— K.M., Lake Worth, Fla.

I love the stories antique dealers come up with. You have an Islamic Minarah lamp, probably made yesterday. Islamic objects of every sort are coming to market. Since they have been making them for hundreds of years they look old. Check out the Internet to get an idea of what is out there and prices.
The value of your lamps will be less than what paid.

Anne Gilbert is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of eight antiques and collectibles books, and is well known for her lectures to business and professional groups. She is a member of the Newspaper Features Council and Society of Illustrators. She can be reached via e-mail at

Contact Antique Trader: Send your questions and photos via e-mail (preferred) to, or mail to Ask Antique Trader, 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54945. Click here for more details and image requirements.