THE MORE YOU LOOK THE MORE YOU SEE – Sharing a few Eye-Catchers from Our 70th Outing


Anyway, just to play fair with the rest of you out there, we had to cajole and wrestle a number of weights from the grips of several festival attendees who were trying to convince us to let them buy them on the spot! But they’re all still here, safe and sound and all of you out there have an equal fighting chance for them. Can’t blame them for trying, though – some of these lots are a real steal! So please peruse this little blog and see if you agree with us on our excitement…

Speaking of Stealing, this Clichy Could Have Been in a 1960s Heist Movie with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn!

LOT 1. Rare antique Clichy spaced concentric millefiori on moss ground paperweight. Est. $16,000 – 20,000

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. This is a luxuriant antique glasswork—with brilliantly colored canes basking on a stately carpet of rich, almost breathing green, (as those who saw it can attest). This paperweight is redolent of royalty, like a large emerald, studded with precious gems. Yes, it comes with a stand, but you have to pay for the security systems. Watch out for attractive couples who are really cat burglars…

From the Queen of the Adriatic to the Queen of Greece!

L0T 2. Extremely rare and historically important antique Pietro Bigaglia and Giovanni Franchini 1845 Queen of Greece Amalia of Oldenberg paperweight. Est. $16,000—20,000

This next offering actually does lay claim to royalty. When Queen Amalia, wife of the King of Greece, visited Venice in 1845, there was a scramble to impress her (…did you like that one?) and to the best of our knowledge she was given the weight that you see here. With its veritable explosion of shapes, colors and images the whole effervescent spirit of Venice is barely contained therein (Franchini pulled out all the stops with every cane) this creation all but bursts from its glass skin. Made to impress, and very successful…

The Year Queens Made Themselves Scarce!

LOT 3. Antique Baccarat 1848 blue carpet ground millefiori paperweight. Est. $16,000—20,000

Simply put, the blue carpet ground of this stately arrangement of stars, arrow heads shamrocks and the animal kingdom finished off with an elegant “B 1848”, is like little else. This is not quite a cobalt, navy or royal blue. It is a charming and reassuring blue—beautifully offsetting the elements embedded in its surface. A seriously stunning artwork. You would never guess revolution was in the air – and in the streets. Absolutely ask for extra pictures.

From Queens to Goddesses

LOT 4. Extremely rare baccarat Type I white bellflower paperweight. Est. $7,000—10,000

Hard to imagine anyone stealing from a goddess but there you have it. The goddess Venus had a mirror. A conniving thief stole it and it wound up shattering on the ground. The shards became bellflowers, which is why this plant is called “Venus’ Looking Glass Flower.” And we swear to goddess this is all true. And here you have a rare and beautifully shaped shard with no sharp edges. It does boast a beautifully balanced design and execution. The star-cut ground does hint nicely at the myth’s origins.

Okay, One More Reference to the Heavens!

LOT 6. Rare and excellent antique Bacchus concentric millefiori paperweight. Est. $10,000—15,000

Call us sensualists but this sumptuous, softly glowing beauty reminds us of a (very hard) pastel pillow or cushion – restful to the eye, and calling you perchance to dream, not unbefitting the theme of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. It would look right at home in Caravaggio’s masterful portrait of him. With beautifully designed fluffy ruffles and a serene palette of blues, pinks and whites, we dare you not to feel yourself relax—making this weight a veritable bargain compared to all that blood pressure medicine you will otherwise have to shell out for someday.

And, Back to Royalty!

LOT 10. Rare and excellent antique Baccarat engraved branches and millefiori marquetry bronze goblet. $3,000-4,000

We’re telling you right now that if you have any pretensions to the throne, you better have one of these in your hand! It’s unusual to feel like bowing and curtseying to a drinking vessel, but this amazing goblet is awe-inspiring. The sensually curved glass settles perfectly into the ornate, finely detailed bronze support and base. You won’t believe the delineation on the glass leaves. Sorry, we only have this single goblet one to offer, but with such an engraved, millefiori-studded and gilded glass treasure filled with fine wine in your hand – who needs friends and guests? Let them eat cake. Please ask for close-ups.

This Has a Provenance that Can Only be Called Royal!

LOT 12. Very rare antique Saint Louis upright bouquet and amber torsade paperweight. Est. $6,000-8,000

Exceptionally heavy, this stout fellow sports a generous dome, within which is a lushly constructed bouquet protected by a strikingly designed white and amber interlaced torsade. The weight is stunning, with a small, perfect star-cutting to the base. And the unseen detail of this rarity lies in its history—its labels! The labels on the base chronicle its sales history from the historic Maurice Lindon 1957 Sotheby’s auction on through Spink & Son and the Cambridge Paperweight Circle. Ask for a picture of the base. Worth the price for the elegant torsade alone. No, the torsade doesn’t come separately…

Just a brief note to you, gentle reader; the most painful part of this overview is the difficulty in deciding on the relatively few weights we can cover, versus the embarrassment of riches here on the shelves which all deserve! But that’s Life!

When Glass Takes Vitamins

LOT 15. Rare antique 1848 spaced concentric millefiori and Gridel silhouette magnum paperweight. Est. $7,000-10,000

Honestly, this weight just looks sumptuous and healthy. With its red, white and blue signature date cane resting on a lush field of upset muslin amidst a generously spaced array of silhouettes and other designs casually filling an impressive magnum of glass, it can barely be contained in one hand. An exuberant example of a classic.

How Did Queen Cleopatra Die?

LOT18. Rare antique Baccarat green snake paperweight. Est. $4,000-5,000

Originally we thought it might have been by the poisonous bite of this asp. But then we looked closer and saw that it is not an asp. Neither is it poisonous. As a matter of fact it looks pretty darn friendly. Nice eyes. Playful and well-proportioned body in cheerful, mottled shades of green. This little guy actually has the spirit of a puppy that wants you to throw the ball! And like so many puppies, it needs a home! (Bet you didn’t see that coming.) And unlike a puppy, it will never bite you. Comes with a rocky ground at no extra charge.

My Kingdom for a Rose!

LOT 22. Antique Clichy close concentric millefiori and rose mushroom faceted paperweight. $3,000-5,000

A pentagram has long held mystical notation. The uppermost point is the spirit; the others represent earth, air, fire and water. It’s symbolic, a fitting holistic setting for a perfect rose in a small circular garden, a fine Clichy diamond set in a field of tiny precious stones. The gracefully concave facets invite the hand. Come to think of it, aren’t mushrooms also said to have mystical properties? Rest assured this mushroom will never get you in trouble…

Were YOU Ever a Wallflower? Oh, Get in Line!

LOT 38. Very rare antique Baccarat yellow and purple wallflower paperweight. $2,000-3,000

Maturity, beauty and rarity – what more could you want? This unusual wallflower with its subtly beautiful petals does indeed need a little room on your table or shelf; do not attempt to affix to a wall as the name implies. With its very well shaped and satisfying design (not to mention the delicate aventurine gloss on the leaves) several of you will likely be asking this glass to the dance…

Crazy & Calm!

LOT 42. Antique Clichy end-of-day scrambled millefiori and signature cane paperweight. Est. $1,200-1,600

This scramble, with all its bright little fireworks and pieces of everything but the Clichy kitchen sink that you’ve come to know and enjoy in these works is special in its internal harmony. The over all effect of this weight is one of balance and order, belying the fact that within is a wild playground for your eyes.  There’s a reason the word “paradox” exists…this is one such.

Operate Only From a Sitting Position

LOT 54. Antique Saint Louis upright bouquet and torsade paperweight. Est. $1,000-1,400

We’re only slightly exaggerating! Seriously, this Saint Louis has a wonderfully magnetic pull on the eye. Between the base of the bouquet and the flaring moat of a handsome blue and white torsade is an inviting drop down into Wonderland with Alice. With colorful flowers and millefiori buds, the bouquet lures you over and into a stronger than usual optical joyride that pulls you down the stem and fans out onto a small perfectly proportioned star-cut ground.

And Now on to Some Artists You May Actually have Spoken With!

LOT 78. Paul Stankard 2003 daisies and blueberries bouquet with honeybees and mask paperweight. Est. $2,500-3,500

All the deliciousness of life—supremely crafted, and presented as a lavish handful of nature at full throttle, and completed by a lovingly sculpted, very appealing human face breathing her/him self into existence, while encircled by a wreath of rich green moss. This glasswork is a paean to existence.

Watch Where You Step!

LOT 93. James Kontes Snake & Salamander faceted paperweight. Est. $3,500-4,000

Paperweights possess many qualities; however dramatic tension is not generally one of them. But here, in this offering from James Kontes we have what appears to be an evenly matched rivalry between a salamander and a snake. As they eyeball each other with heads in close proximity there is an air of possible conflict. The match is made more dramatic by the faceting which enhances and multiples their engagement. Or are they two pals who just stopped wrestling because mom called them to dinner? A delightfully designed pair.

Yes, We Know It Won’t Fit on Your Shelf!

LOT 120. Ken Rosenfeld’s “Spring’s Promise” flower bouquet cast glass sculpture. Est. $2,500-3,500

This cool, stately bouquet, forever fresh frozen—is quite the elegant addition to your collection. A crossover work, it is also a conversation starter. Elegantly slender with a quietly commanding presence. Ask for more photos. And position this on your table during the hot summer to get psychic relief…

Some People Think Art Should Challenge You; This is for Them!

LOT 121. Victor Trabucco 2000 “Salamander” magnum paperweight. Est. $2,500-3,000

Our mail carrier thought we were pulling his leg to say that this imposing creature was never alive. We also love excuses to trot out big words such as “Verisimilitude” which is so true of Victor’s work here that it could have been the title of this bad boy. You could put Lot 1 next to this and that would be all the security system you’d need. Be careful, this paperweight eats other weights for breakfast. Seriously, this is a stunning artwork.

A Playground for the Mind on a Summer’s Day!

LOT 128. Debbie Tarsitano snakes and dragonfly collage magnum paperweight. Est. $2,500-3,000

This is a joyous assemblage of lovely shapes and delightful creatures.Pastel colors find a happy rhythm with the more primary palette that strikes stronger notes here and there. Pure joy, delightfully conceived and executed.

Not Everyone is Waiting for the Holidays!

LOT 156. Jim D’Onofrio 2005 “The Night They Found Santa” paperweight. Est. $700-1,000

Growing up is hard, isn’t it? One idol after another falls by the wayside…or slides off the roof! We hear Santa doesn’t drink any more. Problem is – He Doesn’t Drink Any Less, Either! (Thank you, thank you, – we’ll be here five nights – try the pickled herring!)

Where You Get the Staircase is Your Problem!!

LOT 205. Saint Louis 1984 Boule de rampe avec monture” millefiori chequer footed newel post. Est. $2,000-2,500

We wish you could all really see this one in person. Beautiful and stately, this bright, almost beaming work would anchor any table setting and enhance any collection. The combination of the sparkling orb, perfectly punctuated by beautiful millefiori, gives the sense of an early French Hot Air Balloon, bound to the earth only by the supporting brass basket. The clear glass pedestal joining them gives a hint of lift off.

For Long-Lasting Love!

LOT 216. Saint Louis “Botticelli” engraved crystal with millefiori paperweight. Est. $500-600

A graceful, airy and delicate anniversary creation from Saint Louis, created to celebrate their 225th year… Fit right now though, for any occasion, please don’t think you have to wait that long to delight someone with this crystal gem.

How Many Weights Were in That Church, Anyway?

LOT 235. Baccarat 1978 “Church Weight” zodiac close packed millefiori paperweight. Est. $1,200-1,600

Not that we’re not thrilled with all of them, believe us! They remain among the more sought-after examples of the art form. Counter-intuitively to where the original church weight was discovered however, everyone’s horoscope is now included at no extra charge in the more contemporary iterations offered by Baccarat!

Okay, One More Attempt at Christmas Cheer!

LOT 301. William Manson figgy pudding upright faceted paperweight. Est. $150-250

This modest and tasty little concoction says it all…thank you, William.

And thank you for your time, perusing these musings on the final auction before we celebrate our Golden Anniversary! Good Luck to you all and call with any questions or to request extra images of those weights that catch your fancy!





L.H. Selman, Ltd. is very pleased to announce our Fall 2018, Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 360 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects.

Initial Bidding commences Monday, October 15th at 9:00 am CST. Initial bidding ends on Monday, October 29th at 5pm CST by phone, and at 11:59pm CST by Internet. 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. For highlights on some of the stunning antique and modern lots featured in this auction, click on AUCTION BLOG

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 begins on Tuesday, October 30th.

We recommend that you give the catalog’s Conditions of Sale a careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols, and please note that we have adjusted the language on our condition statements. A key can be found in the Conditions of Sale on page 66 of 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.

You can also make an appointment to see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., suite 207.  We would love to see you all in person. (Try to spread it over a couple of days, though!)  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.


Without Putting Too Fine a Point On It…
WOW, Really? Why, Thank you,
Yes, It Was, Wasn’t it?
…and It Was All Because of You !
But Wait… There’s More –

That’s all by way of saying we have been delightfully pleased and taken aback by your responses to Celebrate the Paperweight 2018, both during and after the event.

To begin with, you took our suggestions and many of you made a full vacation week of it, from several glass lovers attending the Chicago Symphony on Thursday evening to Peter and Cheryl Swiadon dashing up to the newly opened Halim Museum of Time and Glass in Evanston.  Joan Parsley, Carl Carter and many others attended the “Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age” exhibition as our guests. If memory serves, Mike and Terri Taylor and another couple enjoyed “Hamilton” and many of you sought out the nearby Pritzker Museum. At least two of you planned to go see the newly installed titanosaur at the Field Museum.

But much of what made the week special was simply you all being together.  Gulsari Byrkit, for one, was so very happy to put faces to names and voices she’s otherwise come to know well.  Many of you stopped by Thursday night to hang out with us, have a bite and some champagne, and also to examine the entire offering for the upcoming Auction 70 in person (initial bidding begins October 15th).  Others immediately took advantage of the 15% discount coupon for attendees, good for existing gallery–owned holdings. The coupons were part of our gift bags for collectors, although the most excitement was for the paperweight umbrellas, and also the mystery sulphides (believe it!).  We also received compliments for the warm feel of the gallery, and thank you for that.

Damon MacNaught & Andrew Najarian (Photo courtesy of ArtReach Chicago)

Mayauel Ward (Photo courtesy of ArtReach Chicago)

Friday morning was not only the real beginning of our little festival, it set the tone for the rest of the weekend.  The demonstration we arranged was received enthusiastically and thoughtfully by all the attendees. Over forty of you watched David Graeber, Gordon Smith, Mayauel Ward, Damon MacNaught and Andy Najarian as they all engaged with the artist/activist Pearl Dick and her team Project Fire.  The aspirational young glassmakers from troubled areas in Chicago were enthused to learn from our artists and also show them a little something of what they could do. Boundaries were crossed, assumptions dropped and connections were made. There was even an impromptu concert by Dantrell, one of the trainees playing to the packed house, that competed with the passing elevated trains and the sounds of the glasswork and the street outside.  An immersive experience indeed. In the rear of the huge studio, Dave and Gordon had a highly focused audience as they flame-worked with finely detailed glass insects. Up front Damon and Andy amazed us all by the speed and ease with which they were able to stretch a beautiful length of blue and white glass and nimbly position it on small cross supports. It seemed that almost immediately they were able to handle the strand, cutting it and handing out samples.

Bee, by Dave Graeber

Mayauel, meanwhile was wrestling with a gorgeously glowing gather of glass / vase-to-be, with a brand new Graeber hummingbird encased within. We will be launching an auction modeled after the Hurricane Harvey auction (i.e. on Facebook for logistical reasons) to sell that as well as another lovely vase that Damon and Andy created. Gordon made a splendid little dragonfly that raised $250 in silent auction (thank you Terri) and Dave also made a special bee that he gifted to Project Fire.  Pearl’s team went to work after our boys were through and wound up creating a sublime piece – a woman’s head of clear glass festooned with perfectly spaced roses for her hair. Yes, you guessed it – Rosann Milius took ownership of that work before it left the pontil…never get between Rosann and a beautiful glass rose.

Project Fire Team (Photo courtesy of ArtReach Chicago)

Pearl Dick & Project Fire Team (Photo courtesy of ArtReach Chicago)

But the real accomplishment here was the feeling you all reported.  We’ve heard from so many of you that it was the spirits and attitudes of these young men (young ladies are coming into the program as well) that left you feeling and knowing that we had all been part of something meaningful – something out of the ordinary.  Art elevated and given even more meaning and purpose. Many of you had rewarding conversations with the students and even supported the cause by purchasing art works, both on Friday and also the next morning at the Artists’ Fair, where the Project Fire had its own table, manned by Pearl, Divontae and Dantrell.  

Members of Project Fire

Friday evening we had dinner at the Columbia Yacht Club, and we had two speakers.  Kathryn Sharbaugh of the Flint Museum spoke to the upcoming PCA convention in Dearborn (with a day trip to Flint) and enticed the attendees with descriptions of not only the two concurrent paperweight exhibitions that will be on display—but also of the newly unveiled “Glass Glass” collection.  She also spoke briefly to the larger mission occupying the museum and its personnel under the leadership of John Henry – that of taking what the art the museum has and presenting it in ways that address the specific needs of the community that has been so challenged by the water crisis. She has been helping design programs and other forms of outreach designed to connect with brains specifically damaged by lead.  (Ask her about Dolly Parton’s book program.)

Kathryn Sharbaugh of the Flint, collector Peter Swiadon, and Brad Stolbach of the University of Chicago

Lead of a different kind as in the form of a bullet, has been a present danger (along with lives filled with incredible challenges) for many of the young people of Project Fire.  Pearl along with her mentor, Brad Stolbach of the University of Chicago and Director of “Healing Hurt People-Chicago” spoke movingly of the efforts involved and the progress being made by ArtReach Chicago/Project Fire.  (A big thank you goes to Art Reach Director of Development Marine Tempels.)

We know this is running long but there was so much in such a short time in terms of meaningful experiences.  Not to leave the artists out— They outdid themselves with the beauty of the designs they brought for the Saturday morning Artists’ Fair.  The dance hall space was perfect for the occasion (thank you to the Johne Parsley legacy project for the sumptuous bouquet that anchored the center of the room) and seemed to meet everyone’s needs.  Ken Rosenfeld, Cathy Richardson and Melissa Ayotte all arrived after the demonstration but we were happy to have them for the Fair. Mike Hunter and Clinton Smith had new designs shown in absentia. (Thank you Nancy Alfano and Joan Parsley.)  And wow, this time around we received endless compliments on how good the midday sandwiches were – thank you Debbie Clark!

The Artists’ Fair

Ken Rosenfeld at the Artists’ Fair

Damon & Andrew at the Artists’ Fair

That evening we all convened at the historic Walnut Room in the Macy’s building for a closing dinner.  Everyone enjoyed having their choice of several different entrees, but all seemed to delight in the trademark Frango Mint ice cream pie dessert.  We could go on and on here, but you do have lives to get back to…

A special thank you to Larry and Marti Selman who joined us (on the eve of our golden anniversary) for the weekend and were even seen dipping an antique Clichy into water in the gallery to explain the refractive properties of glass.  Like we said, an immersive experience!

Ben Clark with Marti & Larry Selman

In closing we were going to thank you all, but you thanked us first.  Humbling. All we did was connect. So, you’re welcome and thank you back!  The Selman Gallery is looking forward to continuing a relationship with Pearl Dick and Project Fire, as well as with Kathryn Sharbaugh and John Henry at the Flint Institute of Arts.  We hope you made some new friends – we know you loved seeing old ones!

The Selman Team
Ben, Penelope, Marty, Paul and Molly…and DJ.