June 20, 2024

Why Collect TV Lamps?

The ever-increasing popularity of TV lamps seems to be due primarily to nostalgia, but it’s not quite as simple as that. In fact, those driven by their nostalgic appeal can be divided into two sub-categories. The first are those who feel an instant attraction for things from the 1950s. During the past 30 years or more the 50’s have been regarded fondly as an era filled with boundless prosperity and progress. Regardless of the reality of the times, no other period in the 20th century is remembered, or imagined, with such fondness. Because of this it’s easy to see why TV lamps, whose birth and demise closely fit the framework of the decade, have become a quaint reminder of better times.
In a similar nostalgic vein is the appreciation some people, often younger collectors, have for TV lamps as a curiosity, as “kitsch”. By today’s standards they possess a rather naive, peculiar quality, and are looked upon somewhat like ’50s horror/sci-fi movies… cheap, tacky, and great fun because of it. I find myself collecting two types of lamps, the ones I find genuinely pleasing to the eye, and the ones that generate a smile, or even a laugh, with their charming “oddness”.
So, why collect TV lamps? It depends on what motivates you…do you have a fascination with the nostalgic charm of these old lamps? Perhaps you have fond memories of the ceramic panther that watched over your childhood TV viewing. My interest was initially sparked by the esthetic beauty of these affordable sculptures. My wife and I enjoy the look of our home with these lamps scattered about, and take pleasure in displaying them on tables and in various shelves and cabinets for an interesting visual effect. TV lamps are low maintenance, and you can spend as little (or as much) on their purchase as you like.
Some collectors look at them as an investment, hoping for some level of short-term financial gain, but profit is probably the worst reason to collect. The value of TV lamps is driven by the publics fluctuating interest in them…and interest fluctuates a lot. For many people TV lamp collecting will prove to be a fad, for others a life-long pursuit driven by the sheer love of collecting. Whatever the reason, a clear understanding of your motivation and depth of interest will help you make the most of your efforts.