When I spotted the lamp through the window of High Park Antiques (342 High Park Avenue, 416.534.3833), it called to me like a glowing, blue beacon. The shop was closed so I phoned and left a message stating my interest. When the proprietor rang back to inform me that the lamp was still available priced at $60 I committed to taking it, never mind that I hadn’t actually seen the piece up close and personal.
On Saturday I picked up my new baby and immediately confronted a couple of issues, namely what style and size of shade to use and whether or not to polish the rather tarnished brass. Both questions were answered when I got home and did a search of 1stdibs.com where I found the three examples pictured above. That’s right, my $60 lamp is a 1stdibs habitué and you know what that means . . . crazy, stupid prices.
My lamp is a Stiffel and is marked as such on the socket. The lamps above are all from sets of two and, of course, pairs are far more valuable than singles. Still, the twins in question are priced at $3,750 (sans shades), $2,950 (with shades) and $4,200 (with shades). Like I said, crazy stupid. My friend Susan, who was with me when I collected the lamp, found a pair on eBay that sold for $450, a relative steal and for all I know, they could be one of the pairs now on 1stdibs ’cause that’s how it works, folks.
As for the shade and the tarnish, seeing the lamps gussied up I’ve decided I will definitely polish my Stiffel and I’ll go with a white barrel shade in the same proportion as the one top right. And I know that from now until the day I die, I will be ever on the lookout for a mate for my single Stiffel.
Finally, a remark about statement lamps. When I’m flipping through decor porn my eyes always go straight to the lighting; lamps and fixtures are like jewellery in a room or punctuation in a sentence, never underestimate their power to set a tone or hit a particular note. My lamp is huge, 32″ to the top of the socket, which means that by the time I put a harp and shade on it, it will stand more than 3′ tall. That’s a pretty significant player in any room scheme — factor in the startling colour and my Stiffel is destined to be a star.