A Farewell to 2020


There…is no easy way to summarize the year that is about to pass. Far too much has happened in far too short a period of time to make sense of everything, especially as we are still experiencing it. But the year is passing, and year’s end is a time of reflection. We are grateful for all the good people we know and also for those positive developments that have materialized
– yes, almost miraculously!
We thank you for your steadfast support and gracious fraternity-and we will continue to strive to deserve that loyalty throughout the coming year and beyond. May you all find some well-deserved rest as well as joy during this holiday season.

Hoping to see you in the New Year!

76th Paperweight Auction: Fall 2020






L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Fall 2020, 76th Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 360 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial bidding begins Monday, October 19th at 9am, with competitive bidding beginning on Tuesday, November 3rd.

The auction is fully online, hosted on our AUCTION WEBSITE. A web friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed at E-CATALOG, while a printed copy of the catalog is for sale at PRINT-CATALOG. For those of you who have enjoyed watching spin videos of featured pieces, they can be accessed via our YouTube Channel. If you see something to your liking, please do not fail to place an initial bid in order to ensure that you have a position in the competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction. Competitive bidding concludes after each lot closes, whereby the Buy-At-Reserve stage commences offering all unsold lots at their reserve prices.

If you’re new to our auctions, or if you would just like a refresher, we recently put together a video explaining the auction process. So we encourage you to watch for a full explanation of our unique slow close auctions, including the different stages, rules and processes. And please call us at (312) 583-1177 if you have any questions

We recommend that you give the catalog’s Conditions of Sale a careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols. A key for condition statements can be found in the Conditions of Sale page in the catalog. Please call the gallery with any questions about these changes or the auction format, and don’t forget, we’re always happy to send additional images, videos or condition reports upon request.

We are currently open to visit by appointment only, so please get in touch to schedule a time to see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., suite 207. If you prefer to place any or all bids by phone, or have any questions, just give us a call at 1-800-538-0766.

Updates: Gallery Open By Appointment


We’re happy to announce that the gallery is now open for visits by appointment only. Please get in touch if you’d like to make an appointment to stop by the gallery.

And of course, our website is still open for orders, and we are able to ship any online purchases.  If you have any questions about availability or anything else, please reach out and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

You can reach us by phone or email, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.

The L.H. Selman Team

Paul’s Selections: Fall 2020 Auction 76



Yes, good citizen, the government goofed and had their big deal election scheduled on the opening day of our Auction 76! Boy did they panic, most likely in fear of no one showing up until after initial bidding that day.  BUT – out of respect and deference to the Constitution, the LH Selman Gallery agreed to move its Fall 2020, Auction 76 from our original launch date of November 3rd to October 19th – after a private request was made by both lawyered-up, chambers of Congress.  Imagine that.  We were the only thing those folks could all agree on!  Something about stealing their thunder on the wrong day in the fine print. It was a pain – guess how tiny 435 faces are, all on our Zoom screen pleading their case!  Well, anyway, we’ve done our part and we know that after you’ve read through the list of candidates that LH Selman is putting forward below, that you’ll see that we’re actually the strongest party—and the most fun party!!  So browse the profiles of your favorite glass roots candidates to see which ones, under close inspection, exhibit the traits and values that best represent your interests in the clear light of day … or under your color-corrected full spectrum quasar series 5 Vista pure Tesla specials.  Because we know you take light seriously!  Also, just where those choices you make, actually stand, are critical – so we’re providing stands (as usual) and you can manipulate your choices to take a stand in any direction you Alone decide.  Feel the Power, but keep the Light on it…

Before we begin, we have the usual disclaimer about how we couldn’t possibly describe all the looming marvels that await your discerning judgment – all TRUE.  Just know that every artist you know and love and every favorite school and style of weight is somewhere in this auction inviting you to consider adopting their own platform!  We chose a dozen lots this time to expound briefly about.  That leaves just 96.67% of the auction for you to investigate on your own.  Sound daunting?  So is choosing the right metropolitan water commissioner.  That’s why we offer extra images and first hand reports on those candidates with the most appeal to you.  Now to whet your appetites…




LOT 1. Very rare antique Saint Louis two-colored crown newel post.

There are newel posts and then there are newel posts.  Historically, a fine antique newel post in Europe was a sign of elegant staircase completion, a magnificent cherry on a beautifully constructed ice cream sundae made from old growth forests. (What – you haven’t had Ben & Jerry’s Great Northern Bird’s-Eye Maple Grain Spumoni??) This glass wonder is very nearly as perfect as human hands are capable of, then or now.  Ask to see a variety of extra angles and you’ll see for yourself. It’s hard not to be aware of just how pleased they had to be with how the shape and graceful interplay of the alternating ribbons came out.  Your biggest problem will be finding the appropriate staircase.  Or, you can finally show yourself to be the renegade that you’ve suppressed within you until this very moment, and place this globe of distinction anywhere you darn like!  After all, it is a Saint Louis crown and isn’t your home your castle?



LOT 2, Rare antique Baccarat 1848 scattered millefiori and Gridel silhouettes magnum paperweight

So if the Fates came to you and asked of you, “You can only have one, single, solitary, antique Baccarat 1848 (of course with the date!) scattered millefiori and Gridel silhouettes weight, which one would you choose?  SURPRISE!! IT SHOULD BE THIS ONE!  Reason being—this Magnum is simply the largest, healthiest, and most outstanding example of an 1848 Baccarat we’ve come across since Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos donned their robes.  (Ahem, the aforementioned Fates – you thought we were kidding?). The unusual addition of a striking diamond-cut base perimeter quite completes the picture.   Whatever you decide to acquire, just please don’t mess with Atropos, and never, ever ask to see her scissors…. We suggest you just fulfill your fateful destiny and attain this shining example of the artform.



LOT 3. Antique Bacchus close packed millefiori paperweight.

Oh Wow – You’ve heard of Stendhal’s Syndrome, where the body and spirit reel from an intoxicating artistic experience? If you enjoy that, (and you should, you adventurer) then this is the paperweight for you!  How the ancients managed to create the appearance of precious malachite which has properties of both mineral and gemstone in this glorious stave basket, and also to appear to soak the whole of the design itself in that precious spirit whose name is whispered, ‘absinthe,” is beyond imagination.  Word on the old-world cobblestone street has it, that the secret to the emerald elixir had to do with its distillation through ancient wormwood.  France outlawed the spirit as WWI came along, afraid her soldiers wouldn’t fight as well as the hearty Germans, soaked in beer. Truth – no one wanted to drink the water back then if they could avoid it.  So everyone grabbed a brew and made the conflict possible. On a lighter note there are bustling about in the design – cheerfully delicious red, white and green soft-hued canes various descriptions. They perfectly offset the well-placed crisp and brighter canes for sharp and pleasing contrast. The rare honeycomb cane explains the bees loping in to sniff your cocktail.  And is that really a small line of canes showing (albeit abruptly) the phases of the moon, or have I just been too close to the absinthe?




LOT 4. Rare antique New England Glass Company millefiori nosegay and close concentric millefiori mushroom paperweight.

You have to see the illusion of depth in this beautiful American antique to believe it!  A crisply precise nosegay seems to hover over a thousand-foot drop in the mineral-filled earth, past the crust, past the mantle all the way to daylight again!!  Yes, as you’ve likely not seen before – these beautiful complex canes and their sweet palette of colors are swept down melting like Rapunzel’s golden locks, flowing over the edge of a mushroom-shaped well and lining its interior walls all the way down.  Just the opposite of what happened in real life – where Rapunzel really let her hair down on the outside of a tower for some clown who didn’t mind getting entangled (get it?) in another relationship with a beautiful stranger with a sob story.  Seriously, this offers an astounding illusion of depth, facilitated by the clear and open base – An intriguingly unusual and carefully made artwork you will likely have to fight for, as well you should. And remember, you can fall for this weight; just don’t fall into it!




LOT 7. Extremely rare antique Pantin three strawberries paperweight.

…IT WOULD LOOK A LOT LIKE THIS PANTIN.  Striking, sensuous, and silky-wet in appearance, it’s a wonder anyone could work back then with such seeming confidence. The strawberries soft naturalism is perfectly balanced with the masterfully dimensional leaves, and how they got the delicate sepals to flip up as casually as wisps of hair on a baby’s brow, we’ll never know. (So unfair when some 4-month-olds have manes like Troy Donahue!) And last but not least we have the translucent and delicately defined stem pathways that ultimately feed the glorious fruit which feeds our mouths and imaginations. Yes, strawberries have always had more than just food appeal. This is particularly apparent in the Prado’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (1455-1516). It’s a complicated picture capable of all sorts of interpretations which sadly we don’t have time to go into (actually we’re not board-certified to discuss…) – but a good reproduction would look very fitting as a backdrop to your new Pantin.



LOT 13. Antique Clichy hexafoil millefiori garland and central rose faceted paperweight

This paperweight possesses more curves than the Golden Age of Hollywood. Yes, with its distinctive pink and green rose center, attended by serene blue and lacy whites—this artwork will fit hand your hand like a true friend.  Every curve leads you to another curve.  The basic design of this paperweight is a hexafoil, which is said to derive from the six-petal lily, a symbol of purity. There are also whispers of the hexafoil relating to “witch markings” which the adults call “apotropaic” marks—the word is from the Greek and it involves trapping and/or warding off evil spirits.  So many reasons to relish this flowing, feminine, antique talismanic artwork in your own collection. Hexafoil designs flourished in Gothic architecture where the six-leaf design with concentric circles were found in homes and public buildings, where they served as signs of protection.  Museum putty included if you decide you’d like to sleep with it on your forehead for maximum protection and serenity.



LOT 17. Antique Saint Louis 1848 close concentric millefiori paperweight.

It’s hard to describe just how beautiful this antique Saint Louis concentric millefiori paperweight is.  It boils down to the satisfying and delightful harmony created by the neon celery green in visual tension with the electric cobalt, both complemented by the perfect counterpoint of peach, or rose blush and WOW, does that ever work in both setting off and refining the overall palette.  This is as sophisticated and pleasing a color arrangement as you’ll find in an antique weight. Whoever made this in 1848 was pretty sanguine about the fact that all of Europe was immersed in revolution. Some people can just find the “zone” when they’re making art!



LOT 20. Rare antique Baccarat Queen Victoria sulphide on ruby ground footed faceted paperweight.

What can you say about Her Majesty, Queen Victoria (ruled 1837-1901) that hasn’t been said already?  Likely nothing.  Besides, if you actually have some memories of her, you are way too old!  The musical band the Kinks loved her in their own subversive way with the brilliant 1970s homage, “Victoria” and if you want a great history lesson to dance around the room to – while you also totally cringe – there is absolutely nothing better.  Having said all that this is the most elegant and sophisticated sulphide we’ve seen of her.  Quite an affectionate artwork from the French, who, over the years had spent as much time at war with the English as not. Did you remember that French was the official spoken language at the Court of St. James for 300 years?

Oh yeah, Vicky – Barbados just called, they’re moving out of the basement and getting their own apartment.



LOT 129. Debbie Tarsitano “Scarlet Dahlia” paperweight.

The distinctive and energetic individuality of each and every petal in this Debbie Tarsitano Dahlia is something to behold. Each petal is as different from its neighbor as it is similar – quite a feat when one is creating one after another. Now Cezanne’s 2000 paintings (or fewer) – all of some table top fruit, makes perfect sense! (At least fruit for still lifes was real back then – they needed to paint fast.)  And these scarlet petals, these countless, lambent ambassadors of beauty (too much?) all but breathe as they float lightly upon a ground consisting of subtle shades of blue, hair-fine bits of “straw.”  Actually, we reached out to Debbie and found out that “straw” is not the right word. (We do go the extra mile, around here-you’re welcome!)

“The ground is called my ‘Filament Ground.’

It is composed of thousands of hair-like strands of glass. The strands are created from the ends of pulled petals. When I pull petals it produces many strands of hair like glass which fall onto the work table. In the past I swept them up and threw them away.

One day, I decided to collect the strands and store them in a wooden cigar box a neighbor gave me. I saved them for a few years. Then, I thought I could use the glass to make an unusual and new type of ground. I put the strands between two pieces of paper, placed it all on the floor and stepped on it with my foot. Loved the crunching sound.

The result – tiny crushed thin strands of random color glass. I began to use the new ground successfully in my paperweights and sculptures and loved the effect. I realized later that my Dad used hair-like strands in his spider’s nest. He may have come across the same concept, I will never know, as I created mine long after his death. I feel he may have purposely pulled the strands for his nests. I often re-use materials; often discarded materials can be recycled into the work to make something new and exciting.”  DT



LOT 149. Bob Banford snake on yellow ground miniature paperweight.



Just ask anyone …



LOT 218. Baccarat 1987 plum blossoms on ruby ground paperweight, from the Oriental Series.

When French and Asian tastes combine, the results can be serenity itself. When no less a fashion forward maven such as Tom Ford (of Vanity Fair notoriety) markets “Plum Japonais” as a fragrance so, “…lush and exotic, delectable, luscious, sensual…with irresistible complexity…”  you know to kneel at the door while you write the check, and please don’t soil the welcome mat with your grateful forehead.  Tom’s homage to a sacred symbol of Spring (at least where the ume plum is concerned) starts at over $600. for just over 8 ounces.  We have something better in this meditative Plum Blossom Baccarat – a stunningly beautiful and attainable confluence of these two, sublime cultural aesthetics, perfected in glass.  (Remember when 8 oz. of perfume only lasted your one aunt for about a week?). Bamboo mat extra.



LOT 273. Philabaum Studios 2006 air bubble and reptile skin-patterned surface design high-domed faceted paperweight.

Here is a really striking and unusual artwork; its design reminds me of something that might have been brought back unwisely from a space voyage under Captain Ridley Scott.  For those of you who haven’t just fled the room, be daring enough to consider this startlingly-designed weight!  It actually resembles an egg-shaped reptilian Hermès Birkin bag with the small issue of your not being able to put anything inside it. However, let’s put that in perspective; in 2015 a pink, crocodile-skin Hermès Birkin, with gold and diamond hardware, sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong for $223,000.00!  Do you really think someone is going to jam that purse full of leaky pens and wallets and water bottles? No.  So, with no quotidian functionality involved, we’re talking rough equivalence here. Except that this beautiful paperweight sits here before you as opposed to your being put on a ten-year waiting list for it (depending on what materials the Birkins are finalized with).   This weight comes with a free copy of the film (ask someone).


Okay, glass fanatics, as the candles melt down and the wind howls on the gullies and peat bogs, it’s time for all of you to tuck your notes inside your bonnets and capes and make your ways safely back over the midnight moors to your own castles and time-share condos. And remember to leave room in your imagination for the other 348 offerings in this veritable king’s ransom!  And we beseech thee, oh sisters and brethren of the glass spirits, to watch for the herald bringing the actual auction scrolls to you but in a fortnight’s passing. And did we mention the full moon?

For more information on the auction, click here. 

Fall Glass Harvest 2020 Brochure




As we go gently careening into Fall, we notice that there’s a bit of strange excitement in the air, what with summer vacations to exotic European locales having so quickly wound down. And over there one hears the welcome peal of school bells off in the digital distance. Things feel a little different. Rumors abound.  And lately the Weather Channel has been more exciting than Netflix!  Something unusual is in the offing…

What, you cry, is “afoot”?  What does it all portend?  Well…the answer lies with the United States Postal Service.  That’s right, Patriots – it is all about your impending copies of the official LH Selman “Autumn Glass Harvest” which will provide food for both the eye and the soul, as well as bring you all the pleasures of a summer getaway for this and for every season yet to come!  This Harvest is replete with fresh paperweight produce from many of the finest artisanal glass studios in the country—and also includes some gourmet European treats.  That’s right, they’re making glass good enough to eat.  (But please don’t; we still can’t find our copy of The Glass Extraction Guide 2004.)   

So check your mailboxes and get these mouthwatering paperweight menus into your hands, filled as they are, with tasty offerings—and order your favorites quickly as each serving is one of a kind.  You might also act with alacrity, because all the digital mailboxes in the paperweight community will be right behind you in receiving the catalogues in their cybernetic slots.  Enjoy 22 pages of finely selected treats, mostly warm from the oven.  Maybe (no promises) we can get Damon MacNaught, who loves to bake fresh bread for his family (and they DO have a farm!) to throw in a loaf with every one of his specialty millefiori creations.  And we asked Michael Hunter to prepare a recipe for his favorite style of Haggis to be included with each of his perfectly harmonized fields of color.  The list of gourmet glass artists in this brochure reads like an Avengers roll call, and no wonder—they all have super powers in the studio!  There are orbs by Cathy Richardson with wondrous etching, and new short stories painted in glass by Alison Ruzsa.  Cornucopias of flowering plants blossom in all directions by David Graeber and acutely observed landscapes from the desert to the water bottom represent Gordon Smith. Ken Rosenfeld checked in with a quartet of gems including a stunningly charismatic seahorse, while the aforementioned Hunter shows off his new tropical pet, the elegant toucan.   You know all the other names whose works we are grateful to be able to offer you, including Mayauel Ward, Clinton Smith and Chris Sherwin and others.  But time and space being what they are – “we must away ere break of day,” as JRR Tolkien would say…  

And last but not least – don’t forget to examine our back cover this issue; we could be featuring YOU!  


Paul’s Selections: Summer 2020 Auction 75


If WE were married, this would be our Diamond Anniversary. 

If we were employees, celebrating 75 years of service, we’d likely be sleeping on the job.

And if we were a 75-year-old Buick, we might be sitting around with plants growing through our open hoods, or we might have been melted down and repurposed as suitcases and skateboard wheels.

So thankfully, our 75th is an Auction, where we celebrate – an adventure in paperweights, featuring nothing but good times.  Our stunning catalogue is filled with endless pages of handcrafted, hand-selected, and hand-some works of wonder, and all hand-placed on the shelves! Now we just need a hand from you to help find loving homes (come back from the ledge – we’re done rapping!) for them all.  This auction is so full of quality, you’ll be tempted to pay for your weight twice, just because it will feel like the right thing to do!

So let’s take a quick glance at about 3% of the lots together, shall we?  That leaves the joy of discovering the other 97% of this auction’s offerings to you on your own, aided by our 65-page treasure map!!


And they require real effort, so show you care!

And don’t forget, Competitive Bidding begins on Tuesday, July 21st. For more details click on the Auction Blog.

(All right, drawing blind from a bucket with 360 numbered balls, we happened to pull out no 1 first, so let’s chat a while…) 


LOT NO 1: Very rare Antique Mount Washington tri-colored rose bouquet and millefiori butterflies magnum paperweight.  

And claiming the number one spot in this high-toned slugfest is an America First, Second and Third level work of Art– all in one exuberant paperweight!  That’s Right, Patriots!  Remember John Prine’s classic 1970s song, “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore”?  Maybe not, but NOW we have found a paperweight that WILL!!  No Kidding!  And if you ever find that you’re turned away from the Pearly Gates with this Mount Washington Masterpiece in your hands as an entry fee, you may return it for full refund.  Look up the description and take pride in this apotheosis of skilled American workmanship, (with help from the finest immigrant European glassworkers, artisans and artists of the time).  Ask to see close-ups of this glasswork. 

You likely won’t be seeing this again.  And by the way, the Prine song is based on a true story!   


LOT NO. 2: Extremely rare antique Pantin pink rose and bud paperweight

Shifting gears from the Mount Washington, with its raw power mindful of a sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein, we move on to a flower that looks as though it were painted in beautiful dimensionality by none other than Henri Fantin-Latour the 19th century French genius! (Did you guess that?)  This is bulbously deliciously dimensional, a real piece of royal pastry, reigning on a stately white cake…Okay, a cupcake, maybe, but just work with us, willya?


LOT NO. 3: Antique Baccarat 1848 scattered millefiori and gridel silhouettes on blue carpet ground paperweight.

This is simply a crisply assembled classic with sparkling canes on a vibrating carpet of the richest blue, and dazzled with a million tiny stars.  Examples of this weight don’t come better than this stellar example.  A high point in any Baccarat collection.  


LOT NO. 6: Very rare antique Saint Louis patterned millefiori and dancing devils carpet ground paperweight.

This is an awesome paperweight. What looks like a star cluster or cosmic cloud, slowly peeling back and drawing you into the center of what – the universe or maybe the heart of a complicated flower budding slowly open?  This work sports a very unusual set of interlocking and overlapping cane fields that aggregate to become something that appears organic And wouldn’t you just know it – at the center of everything there are two devils as delicate as an etching by Whistler, sketched with a hypodermic needle in bright red.  At least they’re just dancing – or maybe it’s dancing like in West Side Story, where a social faux pas could get you a lethally sharp rebuke?  You need to call for close-ups of the close-ups on this exquisite paperweight.


LOT NO. 15: Antique Clichy close concentric millefiori and roses stave basket paperweight. 

This little garden of lush roses and baby blues is concentrically disciplined but otherwise very playful in its rings of unusually sequenced pastels. There’s a reason Clichy isn’t with us making modern weights.  They knew they had done their very best a century and a half ago, and they’re content to rest on their laurels and read the great press clippings from yesteryear. 


LOT NO. 120: David Graeber 2020 all-over cherry and pink blossom bouquet with honeybee swarm orb.  

Just read page 27 in the auction catalogue.  And look up the Glass Art magazine May/June 2020, article, because you really can’t describe this wonderworld – it would take too long.

Let’s just say, “Okay it’s all real inside!”  No one who walks in the gallery believes us anyway!


LOT NO. 163: Cathy Richardson 2016 koi engraved surface design paperweight.

With this new Cathy Richardson splashing around on your favorite presentation table, you’ll need little else for a good while by way of classic and classy entertainment.  (You may now dump the 5 streaming services and their 3000 programs.)   This masterful paperweight is akin to a flowing, decorated, transparent silk kimono wrapped around an azure globe—which is covered with an engraved interlocking of playful koi. Every slight tilt of the axis here and you have a notable visual shift in the interplay between the members of this dance academy.  Some of the koi are a bit bold while other koi are a bit …coy (sorry – couldn’t resist!). The sculpture is a graceful demonstration of captivating tension between stasis and motion. The only tension here is that there is only 1 of these, and there are quite a few of you out there.  Sorry about that!  


LOT NO.192: Alison Ruzsa 2001 “Technicolor Dance Party” frosted house-shaped magnum paperweight.

You’ve heard that “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!”

That’s Right, folks! Alison Ruzsa is throwing a bash, and people are almost dancing on air! Lot 192 features a splendid shindig with viewing on all four sides of the house.
Intentional, subtle rippling in the glass windows lends perfectly to the rhythmic motion of the colorfully clad dancers, who are generously spaced throughout the dance floor. Turns out that this is the inspiration for the Prince song where they were going to party like it’s 1999! 


LOT NO. 247: Noble Effort 1984 clear-encased close packed millefiori marble.

Voted the absolute most fun lot of the auction, this weight combines a colorful children’s toy block or puzzle aesthetic with a formidable and intricate design that draws the eye around and teases you to see if you can look everywhere at once!  Looks like a lot of people want to relive their childhood by fighting tooth and nail for this unusual and coveted toy.  Tooth and nail – yeah, that was definitely kindergarten in my Chicago neighborhood!   


LOT NO. 264: Lundberg Studios bird, clouds and stars compound paperweight.

We’re running out of your time, so let’s just finish with this auction’s winner of the “Too Cute for Words” award: ____________________________________________________________!!!

Apologies to all those who lobbied for their favorite lots to be covered and were disappointed.

It’s a good life lesson for you. And a donation of less than $50 gets you nowhere near the front of the line.  So, for the other 350 lots – get over to your computers and open those catalogues!!!


(Click HERE to begin placing bids!)

L.H. Selman’s 75th Paperweight Auction





L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Summer 2020, 75th Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 360 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial bidding begins Monday, July 6th at 9am, with competitive bidding beginning on Tuesday, July 21st.

The auction is fully online, hosted on our AUCTION WEBSITE. A web friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed at E-CATALOG, while a printed copy of the catalog is for sale at PRINT-CATALOG. For those of you who have enjoyed watching spin videos of featured pieces, they can be accessed via our YouTube Channel. If you see something to your liking, please do not fail to place an initial bid in order to ensure that you have a position in the competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction. Competitive bidding concludes after each lot closes, whereby the Buy-At-Reserve stage commences offering all unsold lots at their reserve prices.

If you’re new to our auctions, or if you would just like a refresher, we recently put together a video explaining the auction process. So we encourage you to watch for a full explanation of our unique slow close auctions, including the different stages, rules and processes. And please call us at (312) 583-1177 if you have any questions

We recommend that you give the catalog’s Conditions of Sale a careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols. A key for condition statements can be found in the Conditions of Sale page in the catalog. Please call the gallery with any questions about these changes or the auction format, and don’t forget, we’re always happy to send additional images, videos or condition reports upon request.

We are currently open to visit by appointment only, so please get in touch to schedule a time to see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., suite 207. If you prefer to place any or all bids by phone, or have any questions, just give us a call at 1-800-538-0766.

Spring 2020 Brochure: Reflecting on the Gift of Glass


Hello Everyone. As you all already know, we draw inspiration, pleasure and even strength – often a communal strength – from the Arts. And you are also aware that this is especially true in trying times.

By now, our booklets should have been delivered to your mailboxes. We hope you’ll find joy in these pages. They are filled with heartfelt offerings from artists who have devoted their lives to sharing their love of glass and the art it can become, with you all.


All of the paperweights featured in the Spring Brochure can be found on our website under NEW ARRIVALS.

Although we are closed to the public, we can still accommodate shipping online orders. If you’d like to place an order by phone or email, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

-Your Friends at the Selman Gallery

Auction 74 Winter 2020: Post-Auction Check-In


Hello, fellow glass lovers!

So just how do we capture your attention at this point in all of our much too busy lives?  Okay, not at all busy for most of us at the moment—but certainly we’re all overloaded, dare we say inundated … with news, data, information, occasional knowledge and that all-too-rare glimpse of actual wisdom.  It’s a topsy-turvy world just now! There – so much for current events and archaic expressions. We’ll also try not to write a piece here that rivals the length of a Vanity Fair profile or an Atlantic expose… although they are both great periodicals!

Simply put, we at the Selman Gallery want to very briefly thank you for making Auction 74 a success. 91% of the lots sold, and many of you have already received your new paperweights. Notes we have received about what a lift the weights are bringing you make us feel really good about having cat-burgled our way back into the gallery’s building to get the winnings packed and shipped!  Okay, so that was mostly just before the actual lockdown. 

That’s right, we do have a note on our website that may have made you think we were all completely away for the month, and we apologize for any confusion.  At the last minute we all decided to turn down the offer of a staff outing, facilitated by the unexpected arrival of free cruise ship tickets… (Remember, if it’s too good to be true…)  So yes, with our own remote, isolated workspaces and HAZMAT gear, we’re virtually around, although not open to the public. But we’re responding to emails and if you call we will be forwarded your messages and we’ll get back to you.  We’re able to function remotely almost as usual, including shipping. Everything on our website is available. In fact our new brochure will be finding its way to your mail boxes (the real ones) very soon, filled with fine art glass to help you welcome Spring. Yes, Spring is still scheduled!

And that art will help see us all through.  Andre Malraux, the great French adventurer, writer, statesman and Minister of Cultural Affairs wrote in the classic, The Voices of Silence,  “Art is Man’s Revolt Against Fate.”  We bet it sounds even nobler in French.  As long as we have the Arts, we’ll triumph.  Okay, sure, fine rooftop dining and a private swimming pool would certainly add to the zest.  That’s on you.

Back to the auction.  You have all seen many fine paperweights over the years in your collecting.  That makes us a little nervous and keeps us on our toes and keenly focused on the auction selection process each time at bat.  But thus far, we seem to have succeeded in gathering an exciting number of sweet surprises for you to ponder, delight to, strive for and often acquire!  (Okay, yes, occasionally there’s reason to lament…) And yes, Auction 74’s Lot 1 was special, (actually darn special) but so were so many other weights throughout this most recent carnival outing.  Lot 1 was addressed thoroughly in the pre-sale auction blog and it’s obvious that the weight’s connection to the great James Bond and saving the Free World (go back and read the blog!!) played a big part in the battle for ownership.  At least there were no mortalities this time around. Antiques acquitted themselves quite well in general with 35 of the first 40 lots finding new homes among you all. 

Lot 1. Superb and rare antique Russian flower bouquet faceted paperweight.

You seemed happy with the selection of modern and contemporary weights as well, to judge by the excitement in many lots.  Beginning, as is the norm with Paul Stankard classics, we moved on to James Kontes’ voluptuous flowers and fruits and then on to a striking Andrew Byers’ tribute to New Zealand marigolds. Next came the bidding on a glow-in-the-dark Johne Parsley, (more fun to say than “Vaseline”) Lot 101, which went the full 15 rounds!  And you could have chipped a tooth going after the lifelike peaches in Rick Ayotte’s Lot 116. All but one of you has missed your chance at that. We think a New Yorker bought the Hunter Big Apple, and there were gorgeous Trabuccos and Tarsitanos to thrill the eye, and on and on and on…  

Lot 101. Johne Parsley 1993 daffodils miniature paperweight.

We’ll end polishing the list of your newly adopted glass treasures right here (as promised)—although the auction is certainly fun to recap, what with the memories of your phone calls and inquiries, tensions and excitements.  And we also enjoy each and every one of your reported pleasures upon receiving the artworks. It can actually be an emotional experience for us here, as we ride along with you all on the hunt. In other words, we at the Selman gallery take a real pride in being a part of all this.  So in closing, we’d just like to say again, thank you. This is a trying time for us all and we can only hope to find the same strength and good will in our larger social networks that we already have and enjoy in our far flung but nonetheless tightly knit paperweight community. And do keep an eye out for our beautiful brochure, coming soon.

Lot 116. Rick Ayotte 2004 two peaches with blossoms paperweight.

Remember using the great old idiomatic expression, “See You in the Funny Papers?”  Neither do we. That was the 1920s.

But we’ll be in touch, soon. 

 Stay Safe.

Your Friends at The Selman Gallery


Paul’s Selections: Auction 74






We understand what you’re thinking; these are or were nice warm-up distractions, – but when’s the MAIN EVENT?

(we’re glad you asked)

As the Curtain Pulls Back on the Main Stage, We are Proud to Announce …


“Late February days; and now, at last, Might you have thought that winter’s woe was past; So fair the sky was and so soft the air.” William Morris

That’s Right, kids!  We’re classing up the joint with nothing but those Roman Numerals and 19th century quotes to let you know just how important this month is in your lives.  And rightfully, it’s been building to a fitting climax…

The Gridiron and Hollywood have their places.  But here now, is the real world, the world of magnificent glass paperweights – where clearly, (too obvious?) we offer you such incredible opportunities in the world of fine glass art, that all the other dates in February should just be embarrassed.  Really? Average resale price for a ticket to the Super Bowl reached $9,000. (high of $46K!) while the market value of the Swag Bags at the Oscars has been reported to cash out at around $215,000. (No, that’s the correct number of zeros.)  And trust us, you won’t even find a handy caliper tucked inside those giveaways like we had in our bags at “Celebrate the Paperweight!”  The Nerve. And don’t even think about the real cost if Valentine’s Day goes really, really, well! (Adjusting for inflation and figuring on say, three children and the inevitable mortgage – well, we’ll need the Roman Numerals to figure out that impending cost.)  

So, I think we’ve determined which of these monumental dates is offering the best deal in town here, right? You can have a wonderful experience participating in our exciting Winter 2020 Auction at absolutely No Cost!  Really! No…wait a minute – actually that’s provided you don’t win anything, and what fun would that be? Answer – NO FUN!

So be glad you passed on attending the Super Bowl.  And since no regular folks are even allowed to buy tickets to this year’s Academy Awards, you likely would not have qualified for an Oscar Swag Bag – so that leaves True Love and Fine Glass.  No Comparison, We Know! Now the considerable savings you’ve realized from passing on the rest of February events can really be put to intelligent, long term and rewarding use. (We mean paperweights, not mortgage payments and college tuitions.)

So Without Further Ado, (who said that, Ed Sullivan or Bill Shakespeare?) let us to the main event.  


LOT I (1).  Superb and rare antique Russian flower bouquet faceted paperweight.

Now we know what everyone in that movie was really after – our own very special LOT 1!  

“From Russia With Love” is supposedly based on a Cold War attempt to spirit a Russian decoding device called a Lektor, out of Constantinople–but anyone with a crosshair scope can see that the Lektor’s case was actually designed to protect special art glass, with room left for a dagger and a belt of Krugerrands.  (Our own President Kennedy listed From Russia With Love as one of his 10 favorite books, and the film was the last that he saw before going to Dallas in November of 1963.)  Word on the street has it that it might have been author Sir Ian Fleming himself who successfully retrieved this magnificent Russian magnum faceted paperweight.  With faceting that gives the impression of a massive rare gemstone and that harbors a full garden of nestling velvety florals, we’re pretty sure the Hermitage would be pleased to see this lavishly textured masterwork returned to Mother Russia for free.  Fat chance – Bond risked his life to get it, and you deserve a chance to enjoy it. But if you don’t measure up, it could also possibly wind up in the Queen Mother’s collection. Word is she’s got money to burn, with Harry off the payroll!  



LOT III (3). Rare antique Baccarat four-flower bouquet with “thousand petal” pink rose paperweight.

Remember the 1957 film Man of a Thousand Faces?  We don’t either.  But here we have the flower with a thousand blooms, or close to it, anyway.  This entire garden on a stem is all the more amazing when you realize that the original French glass masters had to have learned something of the Principles of Inheritance from one Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) the Father of Genetics. (Remember how the high school pea experiments smelled?). Mendel was finishing his studies at the University of Vienna around 1845 and we think it could only have been he who shared something of his discoveries with the Boys of Baccarat.  This is one crossbred beauty! And this is your chance to support art and science at the same time!


LOT XII (12). Antique Bacchus patterned millefiori circlets on sodden snow ground paperweight.

This beautiful weight can be best described as possessing qualities both crisp and smooth simultaneously. Canes with delicately tinted hues are all relaxing in a luxurious milk bath – just ask Mariah “I bathe in milk” Carey; she swears by them as beauty treatments. Yet for all the softness in this surface, there is also a distinct brightness to it.  You’ll never see a more harmoniously delicate palette than in this unusual Bacchus. It is almost reminiscent of a medieval object of veneration proudly displayed in the Library at Trinity College between the Book of Kells and the Book of Hours. (Reference Room Only). And you thought the Dark Ages were Dark? Not by a long shot – providing you don’t count all the forced confessions! 


LOT XVI (16). Rare antique Clichy blue and white barber pole, millefiori and rose chequer paperweight.

Electrically charged barber poles, snake and collide their ways among lusciously large complex canes like bumper cars in a Chinese puzzle, to offer a near psychedelic visual.  A rich and satisfying palette with fabulous canes, including a beautifully executed trademark rose. There is a jazzy, almost vibrating rhythm to this arrangement that makes you think it could almost move by itself. Museum putty on request to hold it still.


LOT XXVI (26). Antique Bohemian Riedel close packed millefiori paperweight.

Black and Silver. Sorry, Raiders fans (your team last won a Super Bowl in 1984).  But your colors thrive in this antique Bohemian weight. It’s filled with a beguiling variety of less familiar shapes and colors, all resting on a ground that resembles ultra-cool American postwar 1940s Deco-style kitchen tables and countertops.  And believe it – that period is hot in today’s market. The 40s and 50s are about as antique as the market goes. (You can’t even give away fine Chippendale.) But just don’t try digging up the bits of ‘silver’ scattered throughout the weight. It doesn’t work that way. Remember the end of Raging Bull, (DeNiro won the Academy Award for Best Actor 1981) where Jake LaMotta cut the jewels out of his championship belt to pawn – only to discover that it was really the belt as history and symbol (the jewels didn’t hurt) that provided the value?  So leave the weight alone and enjoy it whole, Jake… 


LOT XXXVIII (38).  Very Rare Baccarat Type II blue primrose miniature paperweight.

We hear many discussions about the importance of “transparency” in business and government, and sometimes this applies to the arts as well. The Beatles covered this concept nicely with the hit song, “I’m Looking Through You,” back in the Sixties…  Marcel Duchamp made some of his greatest work of transparent glass. (Put the phone down – we’re not here to quibble…) And the paperweight Oscar for greatest transparent beauty in a work of glass or transparent medium goes to ……. The Baccarat Primrose, with its way too cool for school and totally transparent blue petals!!!  This is a radiating little treasure, (thanks in part to the star-cut base).  And speaking of stars – Elizabeth Taylor would’ve snapped this up as a large earring and commissioned its mate.  Subtle and gorgeous. 


LOT CXVI (116). Rick Ayotte 2004 two peaches with blossoms paperweight.

It always makes the hair on our several heads stand on end to read critical essays in the arts that employ that exhausted formula of desperately seeking to elevate a reputation by drawing comparisons in the minds of the readers between the artist under discussion and another who enjoys universal acclaim.  BUT HERE we can say that there is – without exaggeration – a close kinship in quality between the finest Ayotte weights and the paintings of Jan Davidsz de Heem, a true 17th century Dutch master.  Their works are closely related because both artists strive for and achieve absolute verisimilitude in their depictions of the natural world. The peaches, blossoms and almost breathing leaves in Lot 116 hold their own and more against de Heem’s stunning still lifes (yes, that’s the right grammar)- which were among the sought-after highlights of the Golden Age of Dutch painting.  AND, de Heem only had to master 2 dimensions! Ever hear of Stendahl’s Syndrome? It could apply here…you could faint from desire for these fruits.  Eat a good breakfast before looking at this weight.  


LOT CXX (120). Mike Hunter 2017 “Patch” patchwork apple hollow sculpture.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and you come to own this glorious specimen, you’ll never again need to even have a check-up.  This apple is a high caliber masterwork by a master worker – a superbly structured glass quilt combining several techniques and multiple patterns; it is a celebration of the possible.  Just don’t eat a full 200 seeds in one sitting, (look it up) or we’ll be getting it back from your estate for another auction… 


LOT CXXXIII (133). Chris Buzzini 1993 Artist Proof lilac and buttercup rectangular paperweight.

You know how in the chicer restaurants these days, the tendency with certain drinks is to include only a single, major league ice cube just a little bit smaller than the glass itself? Me neither.  But we hear from friends it’s a ‘Thing!’ Now we know where the mixologists found their inspiration – the Buzzini Top Shelf Ice Cube Paperweight!  That’s right, kids – fresh frozen fruit has been followed by flash frozen flowers! Thank you, technology! And, this crisp-looking beauty also has a gorgeous ‘green anise’ back that provides the perfect foil for the compact but lively arrangement within.  The sides are icily textured, of course and the weight is cool to the touch. If Fred Astaire and William Powell were alive today, they would quip to the death over which man deserved this treasure. Which would then leave the Buzzini on the Rocks (or Rock) for Ginger Rogers and Myrna Loy to share amicably.  And so it goes…


LOT CL (150). Bob Banford entwined black snake with spider and ladybug paperweight.

Very spotty job here by Mr. Banford, and we mean that in the best way!  These convincingly shaped and positioned characters might have been just a bit too delightfully unsettling were it not for the deco martini olives two of them are sporting like Versace jackets. Or is this a mirage; is it what Humphrey Bogart saw after weeks in the desert and days out of water?  All three of these creatures look like they’re too cool to rumble. Besides, looks like Ladybug is asking the Sir Snake to tell Mr. Spider that it’s meatless Friday. The artist leaves us wondering. Some say the job of the artist is not to supply answers but mainly to ask the right questions. Maybe they’ll all settle for feasting on the plant.  Maybe we’ll never know. 


LOT CCXX (220). Baccarat 1994 “Bouquet de lilas” lilacs magnum paperweight.

YES, you old romantics – of course it had to be Frenchmen (Pierre Cour and André Popp) who wrote the little ballad “Love Is Blue,” that was played every single waking minute of the late 1960s and on into the 1970s.  (Laws were passed after that.) When Paul Mauriat recorded it, it became and remained (until 2017) the only performance by a French artist to top the Billboard Hot 100. The song has appeared everywhere from The Simpsons to the closing credits of Mad Men.  And now we know the source, the inspiration for this obsession – a glass paperweight made by – of course – Frenchmen!!  This Baccarat weight is pure blue. It sings blue and whispers blue. It breathes blue. It glows blue. You thought the sky and sea were blue…well, they used to be.  And compared to this glass artwork, the next most beautiful blue in the world looks brown. Oh, wait a moment, our Blue didn’t come along until 1994!  We’re still right!


LOT CCLXVII (267). Lundberg Studios 1995 dragon engraved surface paperweight.

Well if the Super Bowl didn’t slake your thirst for stylish conflict and violence, you’re in Luck!  Daenerys Targaryen has heard your pleas. (Also, HBO is not doing a sequel, so the dragon’s contract is up and he’s available.)  Honestly, this magnificent Dragon is something to behold! It wraps sinuously and omnipotently around the shimmering golden skies in an effort to circle the world and catch up with itself.  Be relieved it’s not looking your way. Iridescent gold and matte black (actually it’s a very striking translucent amber) have always been one of the most exquisite combinations, frequently employed during the Art Deco movement. Here they are joined to stunning effect. The famed Czech artist Lubomir Richter, who has etched his name delicately at the baseline, has truly outdone himself with elegant cutting that is in equal measure delicate and muscular. Screaming peasants not included. 


  Okay, gang, we heard the bell too.  Close your books and mark down your favorites on the palms of your hands in ball point pens.  We’ll see you soon! 

Click here for more information on the auction, to view the digital catalog, or to begin placing bids.