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Personal Effects

By JERRY SAMPSON

 

Question: Mr. Sampson, I’m showing you a pair of glass candle holders that my wife and I bought in the 1970s while on vacation in Alabama. We spent $100 for them and that was

a goodly amount for us at the time. 

They are in excellent condition with no damages. We were wondering if they were worth anything and if we should get insurance coverage on them. My wife keeps them in our living room near a window and the sun makes them stunning. We’ve never seen another pair in the amber color.

Answer: Wow! I’ve seen it at the shows, but never thought I’d receive an email with a question about a pair. You don’t know, but I spotted it just from the shape, before I saw the mark. You have a wonderful matching pair of Heisey candelabras. And they are gorgeous! If you look on the bottom, you’ll see the mark for Heisey, it’s that “H” in a diamond. 

Without getting too deep into it, Heisey was a major, American glass house that, in effect, folded in 1957.

The proper name of this pattern is Old Williamsburg. Heisey made candlesticks and knockout examples of two- and three-socket candelabras in a couple of sizes. You have the two-socket candle holders. 

Dating them is a little tough because they made these from 1903 to 1957. In 1958 the Imperial Glass Company, another big glass manufacturer, bought many of the Heisey molds and re-issued them under their name.

But it’s the color that makes them easier to date. This color called Sahara, was issued in 1930 and was discontinued in 1937. It’s a rare and collectible color. I saw a couple of examples with different prisms.

These were issued in u- drop prisms, like yours, and the colonial style prisms, that we dealers call flats. So I feel that your prisms are correct. 

This is a catch 22 of a value judgment. One, it’s a rare color, however, yellows, golds and ambers aren’t exactly loved in today’s marketplace. I think because of the form and color you have a pair, which is always higher in value and you know the maker,they would be priced in an upper retail venue, for about $500 the pair. Twenty years ago, they would have been

priced for $1000 a pair. Still, for your $100 initial price, you did very well. Thanks for a great

question.