I think my love of Anglepoise lamps probably stems from a childhood spent watching the same few Pixar movies on VHS and becoming sunconciously conditioned by their introduction with the animated jumping lamp.. Anyway, I found my first Anglepoise lamp when I was 16 at a church fête for £1 and I knew I’d got a bargain. From there my interest in them grew and they are now one of my favourite things to collect and display at home.
The market for Anglepoise in general has been strong over the last few years and they normally fetch a good price on eBay or at auction. I’ve currently got four but have had over 20 in the past couple of years which I’ve either sold or passed on.
I love lighting and think it’s absolutely key to making a space feel welcoming and homely. Personally, I think it’s worth investing in classic, good quality design when buying lighting.
Here’s my collection as it stands…
As you can see I prefer the earlier model 1227 lamps as I love their stepped base and tulip shades. These were first designed in 1934 and to me are the classic Anglepoise look. Black and cream are the two most common colours but they did make them in green, blue and a marbled effect as well. There’s probably lots more colours out there so if you see one, grab it! It’s likely you’ll have to pay more for those unusual colours though if you can find them!
Here’s what I’ve learnt about buying Anglepoise lamps:
- Don’t be put off by bad wiring. Chances are you’ll need to re-wire your lamp if it’s got the original wiring anyway as it’s normally unsafe for use. This can be done fairly easily but if you’re unsure seek the help of an electrician.
- Go for original style flex. Fabric covered flex has become really popular over the last few years and you can find endless colours and styles on eBay. If you’re re-wiring an Anglepoise you’ll need 3 metres of flex as a minimum.
- Rusty springs can be off-putting but they can be taken off the lamp and soaked in vinegar to remove the worst of it. You won’t get a perfect result but to me signs of age and use are all part of their charm.
- Dents are fixable. The shades are usually made from alluminium and they can dent very easily. Using a soft cloth and pair of pliers you can normally manipulate them back in to shape, if the dent is on the lip of the shade.
- Look for original fittings. You’ll see on the photo of the cream 1227 model that it has a dark bulb holder at the back of the shade. This is made of bakelite and was standard issue on a lot of 1227 models. If a lamp still has this the value will instantly increase so keep a look out for them.
- Keep your eyes peeled for the holy grail. Anglepoise manufactured a three-step model which is very similar to the two-step 1227 for a short period and they’re now extremely rare and collectable. I’m yet to find one I could afford but would be so thrilled if I ever came across one!
- If the frame is in good condition but the paintwork is shot to pieces you can strip them back to the bare alluminium with paint stripper. Alternatively you could go all-out and have the frame powder-coated a colour of your choice or chrome plated for an industrial feel.
- Give it a deep clean. These lamps were made for workshops, desks and industry so if you find one its probably going to be fairly dusty and grimey. Don’t be afraid to take it apart so you can give it a proper clean. Just be careful not to misplace any of the washers or screws!
The price of a vintage Anglepoise will always vary depending on its condition and age. For the earlier 1227 model I would say pay no more than £50 at a flea market or auction if it’s in standard condition and is one of the more common colours. For the 90 model in a standard colour I wouldn’t go higher than £35 unless it was a particularly rare colour or in great condition. If you see a lamp in a shop then you can expect to at least double those prices but if you like it just go for it. They’re only getting rarer and more popular and are such a design classic that really they should be seen as an investment.
If you’re struggling to find a used Anglepoise or fancy a more polished look then you can buy modern versions of the originals on the Anglepoise website.
I hope you’ve found my tips and waffling useful! As ever please get in touch if you’ve got any questions and please share your Anglepoise finds, I’d love to see them!