How much would you be willing to spend on a chandelier? The traditional homeowner might consider spending a pretty penny on one. Others prefer a more budget-friendly lighting option. Chandelier prices vary significantly. Price is determined by the materials used, the size, and the designer. However, some chandeliers are so elaborate they cost more than most homes. These chandeliers are not the type you find in traditional homes. Here, we take a look at the most expensive chandeliers ever sold.
10. The Von Trier Bar Sold the “Iron Man” Chandelier for $130,000 in 2018
If you were a frequent visitor of the Von Trier bar, you might have spotted the “Iron Man” chandelier since it is very conspicuous. The Von Trier bar is a German-themed bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An auctioneer, Patti Fox, termed it as timeless and beautiful. The chandelier was made of antlers and iron and had been part of the bar since 1978. At 1000 pounds, it was one of the heaviest chandeliers ever. To understand how heavy it is, its weight is equivalent to 3 giant pandas or 7 kegs of beer.
It was initially from the Pabst Mansion and commissioned by Capt. Frederick Pabst in the early 1890s. There was a belief that the Pabst Mansion would be demolished, so the chandelier had to be quickly sold. Eventually, the people at Pabst Mansion realized that it would not be demolished and wanted it back. Unfortunately, they could not get it back, so a replica had to be made for the Pabst Mansion management. The Von Trier management decided to auction the chandelier so that it could use the funds to renovate the bar further. Fortunately, the management was able to sell the chandelier to the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.
9. A Dale Chihuly Chandelier Sold for $200,000 in 2015
The chandelier was sold by Rago Auctions, New Jersey, against estimates of $60,000 to $80,000. It was a white, clear, and amber glass light fixture. Straight away, you may assume it is fragile since it is made of glass. This chandelier, however, used a type of sturdy glass, hence not prone to breaking. You would be amazed at how often glass chandeliers break when installed or taken down. The chandelier measured 10 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 8 inches deep. Dale Chihuly made the light fixture in 2004.
He is an American artist best known for his glass sculptures. This chandelier belonged to a certain man from New York. He ended up owning the chandelier after purchasing a house in the state. However, he realized his 3-year-old son was terrified by the chandelier due to its huge and spiral shapes. That was the moment the man approached Rago Auctions to sell it off. The auction house did not immediately bring it to their premises. Instead, Rago Auctions opted to capture a photograph of the chandelier and market it online. Rago Auctions claimed that some people are more comfortable purchasing an item online than meeting in person. Fortunately, their tactic paid off.
8. A Collector Decided to Procure Genoese Crystal Chandeliers for $677,203 at Sotheby’s Auction in 2010
Genoese crystal chandeliers were made in Genoa, Italy, during the late 18th century. They are made of gilt iron arms and contain a gilt wood center column. The column featured six arms that were draped in crystal. If you had a chance to observe each of the six arms, you would notice crystal swags with hanging French drops. Its center was decorated with acanthus leaves and French drops. It was primarily used to hold candles. However, it was later built to accommodate candelabra bulbs.
With its elaborate features, it is not hard to see why it sold for the amount shown in the header. By the time the unidentified collector bought this chandelier, the price was already more than twice the valuation. It is generally estimated that these chandeliers went for around $201,249 to $335,415 around 1700-1799. Even for the period, you cannot help but marvel at how expensive they were. However, once you remember that they are made of crystals, you slowly understand why they were priced highly.
7. An Imperial Neo-Classical 18-Light Chandelier Believed to be From Russia’s Pavlovsk Palace Sold for $815,025 at Christie’s in 2010
This chandelier is attributed to Johan Zekh, one of St. Petersburg’s most celebrated chandelier makers. According to 1st Dibs, he created 21 chandeliers from 14 different models for the Mikhailovsky Castle. This chandelier was believed to be housed in Empress Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom. The 18-light chandelier had a rock crystal encased central fut with an ormolu acorn finial at the bottom. Next, its reeded bottom ormolu tier is decorated with ormolu laurel leaves joined to the fut. Its arms were then joined by rock crystal garlands and adorned by rock crystal teardrop pendants. Lastly, it has a massive rock crystal at the top, which is below a large opulent ormolu spray ending. This chandelier was valued at $271,223 to $406,834 yet managed to sell for the price indicated in the header.
6. St. Louis Museum Bought a Wright Chandelier for $835,000 in 2013
This chandelier was designed in 1903 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was made in brass, bronze, and iridescent leaded glass, which assumed square shapes. The chandelier was one of two chandeliers that would stay in Wright’s master bedroom. When hung on the ceiling, it stretches by about 30 inches. Next, it had a flat glass shade that hung over a small glass tube. The St. Louis Museum loved the square shape of the iridescent glass since it felt that it perfectly echoed the geometry of any house.
St. Louis Museum, the Missouri museum, considered their chandelier purchase a rare opportunity. According to STL Today, the museum had been looking for Wright’s works for 20 years. The museum was finally happy to pair this chandelier with a chair from Wright that they already owned. The museum claimed that this purchase was one of the most expensive that year. This chandelier had been bought from undisclosed sellers.
5. Napoleon’s Imperial Chandelier Was Auctioned for $1.1 Million at Sotheby’s in 2007
The aim of selling the chandelier was to benefit a French non-profit organization called the Virginio Bruni Tedeschi Foundation. This organization’s sole purpose is to pursue charitable social aims worldwide in research, education, and medicine. It therefore makes sense why the chandelier would be sold so expensively. This particular chandelier was a royal one made around 1812 by Dufougerais for Emperor Napoleon. Dufougerais was the emperor’s furniture supplier. The chandelier was a gilt bronze and cut crystal piece.
Generally, the chandelier had a unique design with a shape not commonly seen in most chandeliers. First, it was more horizontal than circular. Then, it was made with a crystal bowl at the bottom to support the crystal pillars. Crystals were preferred in chandeliers because they instantly drew your attention. They were thought to invoke a feeling of romance and magical intimacy, something that you cannot achieve with other lighting sources.
4. A Particular 18-Light Chandelier Was Finally Auctioned at Christie’s for $1.1 Million in 1990 After Changing Ownership Several Times
The chandelier was 5-foot-wide and weighed 200 lbs. When it sold for the amount shown in the header, it sold double its high estimate. Additionally, the chandelier became the sixth lot of silver to sell for more than $1 million at an auction. It was made by Robert Garrard in London in 1837 for James Hamilton, 2nd marquess of Abercorn. One day, the marquess embarked on a shopping spree and bought expensive items like paintings, antique sculptures, and furniture.
Eventually, he became bankrupt due to his overspending and had to sell the chandelier to Sir John Kelk, an industrialist. Sometime in the 20th century, the chandelier was transferred to Baronscourt. It remained here until 1950, when it was sold to the owners of E. & C. T. Koopman & Son Ltd. and S. J. Phillips for $1 million. In the following years, it was sold at losses. For instance, it was once procured for $418,000 for two George II salvers and sold at Sotheby’s for $198,000. Fortunately, by 1990, it managed to sell at an auction at Christie’s for $1.1 million.
3. An Imperial Chandelier Was Sold at Sotheby’s for $1.3 Million
The chandelier was made by Napoleon’s furniture supplier. It was sold as part of the Alberto Bruni Tedeschi collection at Sotheby’s. The chandelier was used circa 1812, and it may have been valued from $492,222 to $984,445. Based on the price it was sold for at Sotheby’s, the profit margin is small considering the short period between the years. This chandelier was very popular in Genoa and Piedmont. It was normally surmounted by a crown. The chandelier was popular among people who resided in the Royal Piedmontese areas.
It was best recognizable for its hung droplets, lozenge-shaped elements, and pendants. As for the support of the scrolled branches, it has a shaft. Its corona has six elaborate scrolled supports to accommodate many candles. Furthermore, the chandelier was equipped with twelve candleholders. When you think of this chandelier, you may think of it as outdated. After all, weren’t the candleholders a sign that electricity wasn’t invested? Though they were popular before the invention of electricity, the chandelier also made for a good décor item in that era and even today.
2. A Varnished and Gilt-Bronze Cut-Glass Chandelier Sold for $1.7 Million at Sotheby’s Paris in 2005
This particular chandelier was large enough to house 12 lights. It had a central fluted shaft decorated with water leaves, seeds, and a frieze of posts. The chandelier could hold twisted branches that are topped by crystal daggers. Its gilt-bronze frame was decorated with rosette motifs, acanthus leaves, female faces, and bearded satyrs. As for the wicks, they are decorated with cut crystal pendants.
The pendants would bring the light from the ceiling all the way to your table or counter. Lastly, the chandelier’s lower part was laced with a blue lacquered metal decoration. The previous owner of the chandelier was Hotel Lambert. The hotel sold the chandelier at Sotheby’s during an auction. In that year, the hotel sold the chandelier; it became the second most expensive one to ever sell at an auction. It is estimated that the chandelier was valued at $1.3 million to $2.7 million from around 1745 to 1749.
1. The Givenchy Royal Hanover German Silver Eight-Light Chandelier was Sold at an Auction for $9 Million in 2011
This chandelier was designed by William Kent in 1736. William designed it in a complex way, such that no one could help but stare at it. It has a central fluted vase-shaped standard with an ovolo border at the shoulder and a fluted and acanthus-clad ring handle. Next, it has a cul-de-lamp formed by the rising of an everted openwork acanthus calyx. The chandelier floats on two acanthus and lion’s paw curved supports. Lastly, its central-shaped standard has huge floral garlands that descend from its lion masks. The chandelier was owned by several royalty members. According to Christies, some of the kings who owned this chandelier included King George II, King George III, Prince Ernst Augustus, King George V, and the list goes on. Before it was sold at an auction at Christie’s in 2011, it was first sold at the same center in 1993.
Do you think the high prices of the chandeliers were justified in this list? Although it is unethical to exploit clients by selling things too expensively, one cannot help but see why the chandeliers were sold expensively. Some of them are made from valuable materials, while others had to sell them expensively to try and recover their business. The good thing is that you can get pretty chandeliers at affordable costs.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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