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Dirk Van Erp – Hammered Copper Lamp Values

Please note that the prices listed in this article do not reflect the auction market as of December, 2008. Auction prices on these lamps have dropped from 5% to 40% over the past several years. If you send us a photo of your item, we can give you a current market assessment.

Dirk Van Erp’s hammered copper lamps were made in three distinct periods, greatly affecting the value of each hammered copper lamp. Differences in the die stamp impressed into the lamp bases, and the style of each lamps’ rim, help date the lamps.

Today, 95% of all Van Erp lamps have a market value that ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. Certain lamps, however, because of rarity, date, size, and design can sell as high as several hundred thousand dollars. The article below shows examples of various style and date lamps and can help you date your own pieces.

Dirk Van Erp Lamp - Straight Rim: Circa 1910-1915
Straight Rim: circa 1910-1915 lamps
Dirk Van Erp Lamp - Rolled Rim: Circa 1915-1929
Rolled Rim: circa 1915-1929 lamps

Dirk Van Erp Lamp Die Stamp: Circa 1910-1911
Dirk Van Erp Lamp Die Stamp: Circa 1911-1915
Dirk Van Erp Lamp Die Stamp: Circa 1915-1929

Earliest Lamps using D’Arcy Gaw Designs, 1910-1911

When Van Erp started making lamps, it was in partnership with a talented designer, D’Arcy Gaw. Van Erp’s earliest lamps are signed near the center of the underside of the lamp, with the windmill logo, and D’ARCY GAW and DIRKVANERP enclosed within a rectangular box.

Figure 1 Figure 1 shows a very large Van Erp lamp (over 26” diameter shade) that was made with five mica panels in the shade. While the standard Van Erp lamps have either three or four mica panels, we know of three D'Arcy Gaw period lamps with five panels and one with six panels. Because of their rarity, massive size and exquisite workmanship, these lamps have sold upwards of $250,000.

Figure 2 shows the earliest version of Van Erp’s Bullet Lamp. We sold this 22” x 22” lamp in May, 2002 for $180,000.

Figure 3 shows a single socket Trumpet Lamp that sold in our May, 2001 auction for $79,500.

Dirk Van Erp lamp five mica panel shade
figure 1
Dirk Van Erp Bullet Lamp
figure 2
Dirk Van Erp Trumpet Lamp
figure 3

Early lamps bearing the signatures of both D’Arcy Gaw and Dirk Van Erp are not only the rarest of all Van Erp lamps, they tend to be the most perfectly proportioned. D’Arcy Gaw was a gifted designer, and the lamps produced under her tenure with Van Erp were made taking advantage of both her design talents and his coppersmithing skills. After D’Arcy Gaw left the Van Erp studios, Van Erp designs rarely rose to this level. The lamps I have seen bearing the D’Arcy Gaw/Van Erp signature have started at $20,000 for small lamps, with most going to the $50,000 and higher range. Only lamps bearing the full D’Arcy Gaw name were made in the 1910-1911 period. (Note: Many lamps have a shadow of the D’Arcy Gaw name in the logo, or a few letters that are faint; these lamps were made after her name was stricken from the die stamp and are not 1910-1911 vinatge.)

Early Lamps post D’Arcy Gaw, 1911-1915

Figure 4 shows a Dirk Van Erp Milk Can Lamp made circa 1915. This form is an iconic form for Van Erp; the design is magnificent, its size is impressive with its 26” height making it the tallest lamp Van Erp produced, and it is extremely rare. We sold this lamp for $172,500 at our September, 2003 auction.

Figure 5 shows a Rivet Lamp, one of Van Erp’s most popular designs. It is a mid-size lamp, and because it is a form that comes up regularly, it tends to be reasonably priced compared to lamps of similar quality. We sold this lamp in September, 2005 for $16,450.

Figure 6 shows a large gourd shaped lamp 22” high x 24” diameter. The gourd shaped lamps are extremely popular and hard to find. This example sold for $74,750 at our October, 2000 auction, and would have likely sold for over $100,000 had the patina not been lightly cleaned.

Dirk Van Erp Milk Can Lamp: Circa 1915
figure 4
Dirk Van Erp Rivet Lamp
figure 5
Dirk Van Erp gourd shaped lamp
figure 6

Lamps from the 1911 to 1915 period tend to run from about $10,000 to as high as $225,000 based on size, condition, workmanship, design, and rarity. Large bulbous, gourd shaped lamps like the one in figure 6, and Milk Can lamps like the one in figure 4, tend to be the lamps that bring the most money.

Mid to Late Period Lamps, 1915-1929

Figure 7 shows a Bean Pot lamp, also called a boudoir lamp because it is a small lamp that does not give off significant light, but sets a mood. It is only about 12” x 11”, one of Van Erp’s smallest and most popular lamps. We have sold many of these lamps over the years and I would have to guess that Van Erp made more of these lamps than any other form. This one sold in September, 2005 for $7,600. Note the rolled rim on the lampshade, as opposed to the straight rim on the earlier lamps.

Figure 8 is a teardrop shaped lamp that was repatinated and has replaced mica. We have sold perfect examples of this lamp for as much as $15,000, but because of the restoration this lamp had, it brought $6,000 at our March, 2006 auction.

Figure 9 is a “Flat Top” lamp designed by Auguste Tiesselinck, Dirk Van Erp’s nephew, who emigrated from Holland to work with Van Erp. It is an uncommon and unique form that got different cut-out treatments in its cylindrical rim, from the simple scroll work of this lamp, to repeating sailboats and other designs. Considered late and not as desirable as Van Erp’s peaked lamps, these bring less than paneled forms of the same size. This lamp sold for $11,750 at our January, 2003 auction.

Dirk Van Erp Bean Pot (boudoir) Lamp
figure 7
Dirk Van Erp teardrop shaped lamp
figure 8
Dirk Van Erp flat top lamp designed by Auguste Tiesselinck
figure 9

The lamps made from 1915 to 1929 usually sell from $5,000 to $15,000 with exceptional examples rarely selling above $35,000.

Selling Dirk Van Erp Hammered Copper Lamps

Our auction business, Craftsman Auctions, is the premiere outlet for Dirk Van Erp lighting, having sold many Van Erp lamps for record prices. We have both auction and private clients for these lamps, and if you have one you would like appraised for possible sale, we are glad to offer that service free of charge. Send photos to or mail to Jerry Cohen, 109 Main Street, Putnam, CT 06260

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