Ask Antique Trader: Similar oil lamp patterns frequently bring confusion

emilio pucci slipQ
This Emilio Pucci slip was a gift to me from a boyfriend in the late ’60s, when I was living in New York. It has been in storage and in great shape. What’s it worth today?
— Judy Tyggeseth, Motley, Minn.

A Designers and establishments engaged in couture, always have, and will continue to have a loyal following. Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci’s pieces are being sold through high-profile textile auctions, and cross the block for $200 plus. I would have liked the length, and a photo of the back of your straight-fit slip. The silk geometric print was a signature look, with imposing vivid pinks/gray/black colors. Needless to say, very cool!

Q This lamp came from my grandfather who was born in 1901. Any information would be wonderful.
    — Pam Neuhardt, Fergus Falls, Minn.

A Bellevue was listed through Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass and Glass Company, Pittsburgh, Pa. This post-lamp is ordinarily known as ‘Coolidge Drape’. Vice President Calvin Coolidge was at his grandfather’s farm when news arrived of the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding. When the famous 1923 swearing-in ceremony took place, the room was illuminated using an oil lamp that had this pattern. Initially, there were five choices of size for this stand-lamp and a matching shade could be purchased separately.

     The value without a shade is $160.

Q I have a pair of Lincoln Drape, Aladdin lamps packed away. Are they called Vaseline glass? Also age, value and shade information.
    — Richard Foskett, Jefferson, Wis.

A In Chicago, 1908, Victor S. Johnson formed The Mantle Lamp Company of America, using Aladdin as the trademark for his kerosene lamps. After moving to Nashville, he continued to  perpetually critique his successful business. Electricity had come to major cities, but were ‘light years’ away from rural areas. Traveling salesmen observed homes that had flickering lamps in their windows, and it’s hard to refuse a good product that meets a need. They offered a one week free trial, including fuel and an exchange offer. Housewives liked the opaque color, allowing them to view the fill-line without seeing residue. The name ‘Aladdin,’ with model number, is located on the wick-raising knob, usually their chimneys are taller and more narrow then others. The original formula contained uranium and was never made after World War II. Under a black light, prewar lamps are yellow-green, and postwar is blue-purple. Most vaseline glass is transparent.

     Lincoln Drape pattern evolved as a memorial with its swagged-banner look. It represents unrestrained sorrow surrounding the assassination of a beloved president. The funeral train that traveling from Washington to Springfield, Ill., was protectively shrouded. Countless numbers of people walked miles to pay homage and catch a glimpse of the draped cars. Originally the lamps did not come with shades, most people used only a chimney, as it illuminates more brilliantly. Matching glass shades or parchment shades could have been ordered. Value is determined by completeness of original parts, including burner assembly, mantle and chimney. If in perfect condition, value is $350 for this great pair.

Barbara J. Eash, a member of The Certified Appraisers Guild of America, likes to say, “Antiques are memories that you can touch with your hand.” While living in Tennessee Eash coordinated the annual NBC Channel 3 appraisal fair and was known as the Chattanooga Antiques Lady. She has managed two antique shops, and has appraised for TV shows, clinics and in court. Now living in Wisconsin, she chairs Milwaukee Public Television’s annual appraisal fair. Her two office locations are in antiques shops in Waukesha and New Berlin, Wis.

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