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NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hurricane Lamps are Collectible but Functional

A few weeks ago, a storm rolled through the Mid Atlantic states, and pretty much the whole midsection of the United States.  After a stretch of hot and humid days with temperatures reaching the 95 – 100 degree range, we were hit with what some folks are now calling a “Derecho” or in my estimation one of the freakiest weather events that I have ever lived through.  I watched out my back doors as the neighbor’s large trampoline flew across, took two sections of my fence and landed in our yard.  A few minutes later, the winds picked it up again, sailed it across the opening in the fence and put it right back where it had come from, minus a few pieces.
The thunderstorms, lightning and winds combined to take out not only a portion of my fence with the help of the trampoline, but it took down large sized tree limbs and of course power lines, cable lines and telephone lines.  Hundreds of thousands of people were left without utilities.  This then reminded me of the hurricane of 2004 that hit us while we lived in Mclean, Virginia.  This time we were one of the lucky ones because we didn’t lose power, the last time we lost power for three and a half days; no Internet, no TV, no air conditioning  . . . like our forefathers before us, we played cards and read by candlelight. Some people might think that fun, but being an Internet junkie, for me it was a torturous.  But there was a bright side to all of this, as people started thinking of alternatives to candles and ways to “light up their life.”
The weekend after the hurricane, I was set up at the Clarendon AntiqueMarket in Arlington, Virginia and wouldn’t you know that I sold every single oil lamp that I had in inventory.  It didn’t matter if they were pretty, or ugly, vintage glass or retro ceramic, every single one of our hurricane lamps flew off our tables and shelving.  It was amazing, because all the while, I had had those in my inventory and had never thought to bring them out during the power outage for my own family to use.  It wasn’t until they were flying off the shelves that I realized I didn’t really have to use candles.  Not that it would have made my situation any better, life without power and for me the Internet would have been unbearable regardless.

Which then leads me back to a previous article that I had written; more folks are buying functional antiques and collectibles.  Vintage oil lamps or hurricane lamps are not only collectible, but functional during a storm.  And the nice thing about vintage oil lamps is that they are available in so many colors, styles and shapes; they fit in with any décor in any home.  Sure, you can go to Walmart or Target and get a brand new oil lamp, but they just don’t have the character and the beauty of the old lamps.  Additionally, without power you don’t have Internet, so sit back gaze at the flame in old oil lamp and you can make up stories in your head about where it has been in the past, and the stories it could tell.

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