How to identify an antique brass candleholder

Written by linda stamberger
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How to identify an antique brass candleholder
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Antique brass candleholders go back to the 18th century, when brass was poured into a mould in the shape of elaborate candelabras and ornate brass candlesticks. Used before the invention of electricity, candleholders made from brass were a much-needed utilitarian decorative, made both for function and beauty by master craftsmen. Parts of an antique brass candlestick include the wax pan, nozzle, sconce, capital, shoulder, stem, column, knop, well and base.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Magnifying glass

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  1. 1

    Check the antique brass candleholder to see if it has a seamed stem. That is the main telltale sign of an old brass candleholder. Look at the middle part of the candleholder, which is the stem part, for a line that runs from top to bottom. Antique brass candleholders were often seamed; two pieces soldered together over an open flame.

  2. 2

    Look at the finish. Turn the brass candleholder upside down and check for a well-finished underside, something similar to the finish on the entire candleholder. Antique candleholders have a yellow gold colour.

  3. 3

    Examine the metal closely with a magnifying glass for discolouration on the bottom. Feel the bottom to check for roughness. On newer candleholders, made in the 20th century, there will be a discoloured bottom, and they will not have a continuation of similar-coloured brass like on the older, antique pieces. On newer pieces, there may be less quality metal on other parts of the brass candleholder as well.

  4. 4

    Look at the shape of the base to see if it is round. The round-shaped bases on brass candleholders are often an indicator that they are antiques. That is because the base underside was cleaned by hand, and to get that finery throughout, the base had to be arched.

  5. 5

    Examine the candleholder for push-up rods or side ejectors. These were made in the 18th and 19th centuries. They kept the candle in place and also dejected it. Look at rounded corners on the brass candleholder for smoothness. A smooth patina would match that of quality old brass.

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