Today in history... Thomas Edison patents his incandescent lamp

One of the most fascinating aspects of collectibles is their sheer variety. Art, for instance, covers anything from paintings, ski posters and bizarre bronze elk sculptures... to lamps.

An 'Elaborate Peony' lamp from the Gluck Collection ($1.5m)
An 'Elaborate Peony' lamp from the
Gluck Collection ($1.5m)

Last year saw a number of successful decorative art and furniture sales by all the main auction houses, with unusual lighting and lamps never far from the auction block.

Among the finest lamps are those produced by the glassmaker Tiffany - best-known for its stained glass windows and iconic New York style.

Today, Tiffany's status on the art auction block is largely down to Eugene and Eleanor Gluck.

The pair avidly collected Tiffany lamps, glass and other items throughout the 1970s.

After the death of her husband Eugene in 1978, Eleanor reluctantly released her collection onto the buyers' market.

A Tiffany "Dragonfly" table lamp
circa 1910 ($71,700)

Recently, at Christie's, three large sales of decorative art and design in December, 2009, an item from the Gluck collection was a star lot.

Sold in artist and company founder Louis Comfort Tiffany's native New York City, a rare and exquisite Tiffany Studios "Elaborate Peony" lamp realised a final hammer price of $1.5m.

Heritage Auction Galleries' sales also featured a number of Tiffany items. In June, a "Dragonfly" Leaded Glass and Bronze Table Lamp, circa 1910, sold for an incredible $71,700.

Arik Levy's Fractal Cloud - 5 Units

Five months later, also at Heritage, a "Woodbine" Leaded Glass and Bronze Table Lamp, circa 1910 (stamped "TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 9510"), brought $47,800.

Today, decades after the Glucks' Tiffany collection was amassed, Thomas Edison's legacy and collectible art continue to collide with fascinating results.

In our round-up of 10 Unique Christmas Gifts last year, we highlighted artist Arik Levy's "Fractal Cloud - 5 Units": an artwork comprised entirely of fluorescent light bulbs.

The artwork - one of just 20 released onto the market - is still available to collectors priced $28,500.


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