Q: We own a Moss floor lamp that’s exactly like the one on the cover of the book, “Moss Lamps: Lighting the ’50s,” except the base is black Plexiglas, not brown. The figurine perched on an outcrop of the leaning base is a woman wearing a long white dress. Dad bought the lamp back in the 1950s and I think the company advertised the lamp by saying movie star Clark Gable owned one. What is the lamp worth today?
A: Moss Manufacturing Co. of San Francisco started making traditional lamps with metal bases in 1937, but its 1950s Plexiglas lamps decorated with typical California ceramic figurines are the ones that attract today’s collectors. The figurine on yours is known as “Cocktail Girl.” She was made by Decorative Kilns, one of the many companies that provided Moss with figurines for its lamps. Your “leaning tower” lamp is Moss’s No. 2317. If in excellent condition, it could sell for more than $600. Moss gave up production of lamps in 1968 but continued distributing lamps made by others until about 1997.