Ask Antique Trader: Pair of slag glass lamps worth $300

For information on where to buy and sell antiques and collectibles, visit our Trusted List of Antiques Auction Houses.

Whenever you purchase any item from our official online store’s Deal of the Week section, you will receive an addition 10 percent off our already-reduced prices. Learn more at — Antique Trader’s official online store.

I am hoping you can give me some information on these two lamps I got at an estate sale. I have had them for 15 years and am not sure how old they are or who made them. They are not petty as you see but they have a real glass panels. I think they are called slag glass and are very heavy. Do they have any value? P.D. – Iverness, Fla.

A Your refreshing frankness recalls a Loomism that my antiquer Aunt Panny taught me: “everyone to his/her own taste said the little old lady who kissed the cow.” Many collectors find slag glass lamps quite appealing thanks to those colored glass shades. They have become known as the “Tiffany lamps for the less affluent.”

Although this mass produced glass with white or cream streaks was first made in England during the 1890s, the moniker “slag glass” is recent. “Slag” from the iron smelting is added to the glass when still molten. Slag glass lamps like yours first became popular after World War I and then as antiques starting in the 1980s. Although not technically a pair your lamps work beautifully together due to similarly shaped shades and heights. On January 24th Burchard Galleries of St. Petersburg, Florida sold a pair resembling yours for $300. Please don’t hate me but pairs are usually worth more than an assembled duo. I would be happy if you got $250 at auction.

Q I have had this plate that belonged to my mother’s mother and I believe is quite old as my mother is 93 years old. It is in perfect condition and all hand painted. My grandmother came from Germany and quite possibly got it there. I have drawn the mark on the back which says “Hand Painted, Nippon.” May I have an idea of age and value? A.C. – Bellevue, Neb.

A Your comely Japanese antique dating from the early 20th century is a rack plate, which in “antiquese” means it was not intended for serving dinners. Its purpose was decorative either to be displayed in a cabinet or upon a built-in plate rack in the dining room that ran across the top of wooden paneling about a foot or so below the ceiling. The plate could have been purchased in Germany and then brought here when your grandmother immigrated.

By the late 1800s Japanese ceramics were sold internationally and were less expensive than European Wedgwood or Haviland. “Nippon” means Japan and dates your piece from circa 1891 to the 1920s when those famous words “made in Japan” became the norm. On July 13, 2010, O’Gallerie in Portland, Oregon sold four Nippon pieces including two wall plates (another way of saying rack plates) for $140. Sentimentally, your plate is priceless but monetarily about $40.

Can you identify this pipe? Thank you. J.F. – Champaign, Ill.

Your meerschaum pipe modeled as a horse with its swanky, original box is a real insight into the Victorian era. The late 1800s, “The Gilded Age” as Mark Twain so wonderfully described, witnessed a curlicue explosion for everything from fashions to home décor. Any respectable Victorian gentlemen required an elaborately carved meerschaum pipe.

Meerschaum, a mineral found in Turkey, is milky white and is a natural filter for nicotine and with use becomes a light brown. Pipe smoking was popular until the end of World War I when many old customs ended. Neal Auction Company in New Orleans sold a carved meerschaum pipe depicting a galloping horse for $280 in January 2010. Lucky you, since your pipe has two horses; therefore it is worth at auction about $350.

Frank Farmer Loomis IV is an antiques and fine arts appraiser, lecturer, journalist and host of “Keep Antiquing!” a weekly radio show on WMKV radio in Cincinnati, Ohio, ( He is the author of Antiques 101 and Secrets of Affordable Antiques in addition to hosting “Antiques, History & Loomis” on Anderson Community Television, broadcast on Cincinnati Public Television.


Great books, CDs, price guides & more

Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2011 Price Guide

Interact with other antique collectors in Antique Trader’s online forum

Get up-to-date pricing for tens of thousands of antiques & collectibles on – FREE for 1 year – when you join the Collecting Insider Club!

Browse (or place your own) FREE online classified ads

Sign up for your FREE email newsletters

For more columns and features for antique dealers, restorers and collectors, get your own subscription to Antique Trader magazine