Collecting oil lamps, whether you are interested in new or antique items, can be a fun, lucrative activity for someone with an interest or passion for oil lamps. However, collecting lamps can be difficult if you don't know where to find them, especially if you intend to make a profit reselling them later. As with collecting almost anything, the most important things you will need are a passion for the merchandise, a bit of patience and persistence.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Local telephone book or online directory
- Computer with internet access
- Local newspaper
Visit local thrift stores and second-hand shops to find collectable oil lamps. While most stores of this type will take any working item, they often get collectable antique items when people donate them because they simply cannot use or do not want them anymore. While it may take several trips to a thrift or second-hand store before you find anything worth purchasing, when you do find something worthwhile it will probably be quite inexpensive.
Request catalogues from current, high-end oil lamp makers whose products may be worth collecting in the future. Examples of new oil lamp makers include Aladdin, Falk Stadelmann, Eltex and Veritas, though there are many companies manufacturing oil lamps that are worth collecting (see links in Resources). Catalogs can be requested through most company's websites or over the phone.
Look for estate sales in your local newspaper or online that offer items like lighting and antiques. While you may not find collectable oil lamps at every estate sale you attend, you can often find lamps for much less than you would pay at an antique shop. Make sure you get to estate sales as early as possible, as collectable items have a tendency to go quickly.
Contact local antique dealers and let them know that you are an oil lamp collector. While they may not have anything in stock, they may be willing to contact you if they receive a collectable lamp. Make sure your contact information is up to date when giving it to an antique dealer.
Tips and warnings
- Consider learning a bit about repairing oil lamps that are not functioning properly. Most oil lamps are fairly simple devices and if you are handy, you might save yourself quite a bit of money by purchasing an oil lamp that is not fully functional, and fixing it.
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