Have you ever wondered what happened to all the original Tiffany lamps? Why are they so few and rare? Were there only a handful produced and sold? The truth is some of these gorgeous lamps were forgotten or lost. Many were broken by accident or time. Still others wound their way through garage sales and junk shops to end up in the garbage. One group of Tiffany lamps, however, met an even worse fate as a result of the Great Depression and the fickle nature of fashion.
Louis Comfort Tiffany and his company, Tiffany Studios, was a huge success during the early 1900s. Sadly, Tiffany had lost his eminence as an artist and designer by the time he died in 1933. His lamps, once considered great works of art, were valued only for their materials. Three years later, Tiffany Studios was dismantled and its contents auctioned off. Witnesses describe how salvage dealers took the lamps out of the Studio and bashed them against the sidewalk in an effort to remove the beautiful, but worthless, art glass. Left over were the lamp bases and frames made of lead and bronze which were melted down and sold.
This history illustrates well how practicality and the dollar were able to destroy a treasure trove of art. It wasn’t until the mid 1950s that the beauty of Tiffany lamps was rediscovered. By the 1960s people began reproducing them. Today there are countless copies and new designs but the most valuable of them all is the original Tiffany lamp.