If there is one piece of advice I would convey to the new collector, it is to be patient. You will be tempted to buy the first lamp you find in a particular style. You will probably think that if you don't buy this lamp, you may never find another like it. Don't make that mistake! Be selective and don't settle for a lamp of lesser quality, believing you will never find another like it. The key to finding those lamps is to be mobile! I have traveled hundreds of miles throughout Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin. I have seen thousands of Aladdin lamps, and you will as well if you are willing to seek them out.
One of the best places to find lamps is at the regional gatherings of the Aladdin Knights. Their web page contains some very good information and will show you where you can obtain parts for your Aladdin lamps. Yes, the mantle, gallery, flame spreader, and chimney are still being produced and can be obtained for those lamps missing them! You can also order the newest book on collecting Aladdin kerosene lamps (Aladdin, the Magic Name in Lamps by J.W. Courter) as well as the latest price guide. You will never find a better source of information than these two books, or a more knowledgeable group than the Aladdin Knights when it comes to collecting Aladdin lamps.
The other thing I would like to touch on with those of you who are new to collecting, is to remember that you set the prices for the lamps you buy! The price guide that is available is only that--a guide. The price of a lamp should be determined by it's condition. If the burner is incomplete, the color is poor, or the lamp is chipped, it should not bring the same price as one in perfect condition. Be patient and be selective. If you are willing to buy a lamp that isn't perfect, then make sure you buy it for a price that is reflective of that fact. It's hard to pass up a lamp you have hunted long and hard to find, but make sure it's up to your standards so you don't find yourself wanting a better one as your collection grows. If you won't be happy with it forever, then don't buy it!!
Another bit of advice is that many of you will be tempted to piece together a lamp when you aren't able to find it complete. There isn't anything wrong with doing this as far as originality is concerned. Lamps are made up of parts and as long as those parts are all original, a lamp made from parts is no different than the original. There can be however a very big difference on how much you spend for that lamp! Know what those parts are worth before even thinking of putting together a lamp from them. Lets say you find a beautiful model #7 fount but it's minus the burner and flame spreader. Couldn't you just buy the fount and then later buy a burner and flame spreader to complete it? Well yes you probably can, but that little thimble of a flame spreader will cost you about seventy five bucks from a dealer and the burner about a hundred or more! The metal lamps are the worst for this because the burners and flame spreaders are pretty much model specific and hard to find in good condition. The glass lamps use the model A and model B burners, but even then, remember that the burner is worth around sixty dollars at present prices. A "NEW" gallery will cost you about twenty bucks-- a chimney and mantle another twenty or so. Is this beginning to sink in? Don't pay top prices for lamps that are less than perfect!
Spend your money carefully and you will be very happy with what it buys!!