LOT 1: Exceptional and very rare antique Clichy close packed millefiori and roses stave basket newel post.

Word on the street has it that this glass masterpiece once resided in the wizard Merlin’s study, and that Camelot only fell because he misplaced it one weekend.  After that disaster he affixed the orb to a solid royal brass base to curb what turned out to be the sphere’s nocturnal wanderings. (Merlin himself can still be seen wandering the neighborhoods around Halloween…) This Clichy treasure now comes with a Wizard and Pirate-Proof red velvet-lined wooden cabinet box complete with a brass handle, lock and key.  Yes, you could buy your way out of conscription in the King’s navy with this landmark. (You know they got half their sailors by kidnapping them!) This weight could be employed as the official Newell Post not just of Windsor Castle, but of the entire Crown.

Of course, that could lead to a war with the French who rightfully claim this Gallic masterpiece.  (Did you know that for 300 years, French was the official language of the Court of St. James?). But truth be told, this glorious crystal balloon would be worth an armed conflict.

Numbering at over 350 (feel free to fact-check and you’ll find 337…yeah, we know,) this kaleidoscope of exquisite millefiori won’t have to fight for your attention.  You’ll barely be able to look at anything else. The field includes a record number of varied rose canes (okay, 30) – and the only thing you’ll need for the perfect setting is a grand marble staircase–or even better, a nice dining room table.  And yet for all its imposing presence, it is also a graceful and streamlined 11th century, lighter-than-air balloon, barely tethered to the earth. Sorry, the helium is extra.



Lot 2:  Rare antique Clichy spaced concentric millefiori on moss ground paperweight.

This vibrant glass creation of beautifully rendered canes playing in a breathing carpet of living green, is such a sublime classic, the reference books fall all over themselves with attempts to convey how they can barely attempt to convey in words the extremely high quality on display here. One major volume likens these Clichy paperweights to the finest French tapestries (the moss carpet even shimmers from beneath). And another describes them as being the prized possessions of a few “advanced” collectors.  Well, well, well. We here think differently and we know you’re not going to take that implied slight lying down! You know who you are and so do we (thanks to modern technology). So, sit up and pour yourself a good bourbon, and get in the fight for this stunning standard-bearer of great French paperweights. 



Lot 3: Rare antique Bacchus close packed millefiori encased double overlay paperweight.

This amazingly compact Bacchus creation is unlike anything we’ve seen in a long, long time. 

A world within a world. A beautiful, small planet inside its own tiny solar system, wrapped by salmon-tinted solar winds swirling protectively.  Delicate red stars dance across the surface of this intriguing interior sphere, which is replete with canes of eye-catching complexity.

This enchanting and unusual objet d’ art would in fact have been right at home on Merlin’s shelf.  Thank goodness for the protective glass dome because this is one little planet that looks downright edible!



Lot 14: Rare antique Clichy pair of end-of day scrambled millefiori and roses door knobs.

Actually, it can be difficult to find anything at Home Depot, with one employee every four acres of floor space, but that’s another discussion.  Here we have the finishing touches for the interior door(s) leading into your inner sanctum, i.e., where you keep your many glass treasures. Think about it, just how often do you get to handle any given weight in your collection?  Well, satisfaction is close at hand (get it?) with these gorgeous roses and scrambled canes, welcoming your touch as often as you enter or leave your paperweight cave!



Lot 22: Unusual antique English large millefiori mushroom pedestal paperweight.

Some of us wanted to keep this attractive and extreme illustration of the stunning optical properties of glass, for the official Paperweight Foundation mini museum located here at the gallery.  But the consignor somehow sees things differently so it is up for sale! This “party of one” boasts a cobalt blue cross as the center of the cane, and from the top it top looks to be 3/8” in length in both directions whereas the almost microscopic dot it comes to at the base is totally unreadable as anything more than a faint period at the end of a sentence. Amazing visual! 



Lot 30: Antique Baccarat 1846 close packed millefiori paperweight.

Baudelaire, de Beauvoir, Baguettes, Bordeaux, Brie, Brigitte Bardot, Bouguereau, Berlioz, Biarritz, Bugatti and of course – Baccarat.  All Classics. And let’s face it, we’re all a little jealous, aren’t we? Well, you can fix that with this exemplar of the dated close pack millefiori resting on your night stand.  Remember, if we can’t all BE French, we can at least buy their stuff! 



Lot 57: Rare antique Saint Louis patterned millefiori and squares paperweight.

In a tip of the hat to naval flags and anticipating neoplasticism jewelry from the 1920s Dutch De Stijl movement, (look it up!)  this forward-looking homage to modernist design in art glass is really a little astonishing. A bold and intriguing geometry for an antique paperweight.  (But did you catch our misuse of the term homage to describe something yet to be created!)



Lot 73: Rare unidentified antique, possibly Clichy, “Bank Notes” sulphide paperweight.

The day is coming when you’ll pay for your groceries with the blink of your chip-embedded eye.  By then all paper and metal currencies will be found in museum print and collectible departments. Get ahead of the game with this Bank Note, safely ensconced in solid glass and start your own museum department today! (By the way, the letters are debossed with the most elegant and delicate blue/lavender ever seen).  Be careful not to jump the gun and encase or laminate too much of your savings – the gesture is not fully appreciated everywhere. As a matter of fact, one of our in-laws had a very early American dollar bill laminated as a way to preserve it and protect its value…but that’s another sad story…. 



Lot 93: David Graeber 2010 “Autumn in Chicago” fall chrysanthemums paperweight, from the Chicago series.

All of autumn’s quieter colors are so gently embedded and intertwined with the mums in this weight so as to evoke a sense of absolute comfort and well-being.  Think of the fireplace in your Frank Lloyd Wright designed home; the two of you snuggled in Pendleton blankets in front of the fire and watching the hound chew playfully on your old briar pipe with Thanksgiving looming.  That is but one of the scenes that will appear before you with this quiet masterwork in your hands. The only decision ahead of you is which supper club (“where everybody knows your name”) to make your way to for a candlelit meal, culminating with the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever had.  Yes, THAT is what you get holding this weight.

(Pipe, dog and dessert not included.)



Lot 333:  Perthshire Paperweights (1994) “Fruit” faceted paperweight.

Nothing really outlandish to say here (except that film director Quentin Tarantino hijacked the meme – take our word for it).  This “lemon yellow and orange-orange” weight is as delightful and cheerful as the old Saturday morning cartoons and their cereal commercials. This compact cornucopia bears fruit both serene and delicious, to combine two words that have never appeared in print together before describing the same thing…




(Sorry, we wrote that on a bet…)



L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Fall 2019, 73rd Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 360 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial bidding begins Monday, October 21st at 9am, with competitive bidding beginning on Tuesday, November 5th.

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.

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! 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.

This year, as we look back over the past fifty years of our life with fine glass paperweights, there is much to be grateful for. First, we are grateful for the glass artists, whose creative genius and honed technical skills have produced some of the finest work in glass ever seen. Secondly, we are grateful for the collectors—the appreciative audience who continue to treasure and build their fine collections. Thirdly, we are grateful for other paperweight dealers who over the years have challenged us to do our very best, and who worked together with us to educate the public and to promote the artists and their work. Together, these three groups have elevated the art form to the high standard it enjoys today. And finally, we are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work in an a rewarding environment, in a field we love.

As part of our celebration this year, we thought you might enjoy reading a little about the history of L. H. Selman, Ltd., founded in 1969 by Lawrence Selman. We have condensed what could be a large tome into what we hope will be an entertaining scrapbook of snapshots from the past.

For old-times, this will be a nostalgic walk down Memory Lane. For newer collectors, we hope you will pick up some new information for your ongoing journey into glass collecting. We are betting that everyone will learn something they didn’t know before!

Selman’s Introduction to Fine Glass Paperweights:

In the late1960s, when young Americans were tuning in to peace, love, and self-discovery, Lawrence Selman found himself at a personal crossroads. With a PhD in organic chemistry from Yale under his belt (thanks to the persistence of his dedicated mother), and a passion for playing early music on the viola da gamba, Selman needed to make a choice: Continue with an academic career? Or follow his passion for playing music?

Larry Selman playing a treble viola da gamba
















In the end, Selman chose a different path altogether. He chose the path of innovators from the Renaissance era whose music he had been smitten by. During the Renaissance, skills and talents from many fields of expertise were combined in a life of extraordinary creativity. In other words, why not do it all: Continue to be a scholar, play music, and…. sell glass paperweights!

Larry Selman was introduced to fine glass paperweights through a fellow musician Jack Curtis, who was a collector. Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Selman was teaching chemistry in San Diego at the time, and became a regular visitor to Curtis’s home in Temecula, California, where afternoons spent playing early music (Renaissance and Elizabethan) on various instruments often extended late into the night.

“A musician friend of mine lived in a remote and rustic setting,” he recalls. “Each time I visited, he showed me a different group of collectibles from his wide and varied interests. Once it was fine Japanese prints; another time he introduced me to the nuances of American folk art. One day he brought out his paperweight collection. For the first time, I saw the intricacies of the millefiori canes and the splendid colors captured in them. At once I imagined the pleasures of owning and collecting these small works of art.”

Larry Selman found himself fascinated with these diminutive objets d’art, so much so that he accompanied Curtis one afternoon to Knotts Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California. The glassblower Harold Hacker had set up a booth where he formed tiny animals and flowers of borosilicate glass, under a hot torch.  In addition to the animals, Hacker offered for sale some glass paperweights he had made from furnace glass in a separate studio. Selman bought a paperweight for himself, and Curtis, encouraged him to buy yet another. And thus a simple afternoon visit to an amusement park spawned a new paperweight collector, and a long career.

A Harold Hacker paperweight












On a visit to Cleveland to visit his mother, Selman found himself perusing a local newspaper which sported a “Paperweights Wanted” ad in the classified section. He happened to have with him the recently-acquired Harold Hacker paperweights, so he contacted the collector in Cleveland. “Oh my God! You have a Harold Hacker paperweight!” she exclaimed. When she offered to buy them he was flummoxed. He didn’t know what price to put on them, naively thinking that it wouldn’t be right to sell them for more than what he had paid for them. So he ended up trading his Harold Hacker weights for several popular commemorative sulphide weights from her collection.

Kitchen Table Mail-Order Business:

It wasn’t long before the small works of art became more than a passing fancy for Selman. When his teaching schedule allowed, he found himself traveling across the country to purchase and sell fine glass paperweights. Eventually, he found himself so enamored with playing early chamber music, that he decided to take time away from his job as a professor of chemistry in order to have time to play.

In an interview with Heather Knight, writer for the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000, Selman recalls: “My mother couldn’t believe it,” he said. She kept saying, ‘You went to graduate school in chemistry. What are you doing?’ ” But Selman believed that knowledge and skills acquired in one field are transferable to another, and he continued to follow his passion.

Needing some form of livelihood while he pursued his dream of playing music, Selman published his first Catalogue of Collector’s Paperweights, with photos in black and white, where he offered contemporary (Scottish and American) and antique paperweights (French, American, English, Sulphides) as well as books, and lucite stands.

The woodblock print of the Glassmaker’s Chair was taken from Apsley Pellatt’s book, Curiosities of Glass Making






















This would be the first of many regular catalogs published by the mail-order company. Selman loved to collect early prints of glass artists, and decided to put a classic image of a glass worker at his bench on the cover. That image later became—and remains—the company’s logo.

Also in 1970, Selman sent out his first regular (monthly) mailing to his growing list of collectors. While the catalog, published occasionally, was meant to offer a broad array of paperweights, both contemporary and antique, the monthly mailings would feature a particular artist or glass house, with regular special offerings.



















This first mailing was sent out in letter format, produced on a typewriter. Later, mailings would become more sophisticated, with professional printing and high-quality color photographs.

Future marketing efforts would eventually include major art and antique fairs, collector’s meetings, an internet web site, live telephone and online auctions, gallery events, museum events, paperweight festivals, and collectors’ weekends with artists.

Early in his paperweight career, Selman became acquainted with a London antique dealer, Alan Tilman, who in turn introduced him to Stuart Drysdale, founder of the newly-established Perthshire Paperweights in Crieff, Scotland. Stuart Drysdale and Selman began traveling around the UK and the United States, visiting both shops and collectors to introduce them to paperweights.

English antique dealer Alan Tilman (left) and Stuart Drysdale of Perthshire Paperweights.

Early on, Selman had also gotten to know Paul Jokelson, a French American who in the 1950s had persuaded the French factories of Saint Louis and Baccarat to reinvent the art form, whose secrets had been lost to glass workers since its demise in the1860s. Jokelson had been importing paperweights while living in New York. Both Drysdale and Jokelson were very influential in Selman’s development, and became life-long friends.

Paul Jokelson, founder of the Paperweight Collectors Association, who single-handedly persuaded the French glass house of Saint Louis to begin making paperweights in the 1950s.











Publishing Company—Paperweight Press:

Recognizing a void in information available to the paperweight-collecting community, Selman decided to create a publishing company—Paperweight Press—through which he could distribute his own growing knowledge of paperweights for the benefit of collectors, new and established. Even a small personal library can be an invaluable resource for collectors. This is still true, even in today’s online Google-based research world. Selman’s first effort was Paperweights for Collectors, which he co-authored with his first wife, Linda Pope. The book proved indispensable, and many other titles followed.

First paperweight book authored by Lawrence H. Selman and Linda Pope and published by Paperweight Press




















Lawrence Selman introduced a series of books titled The Art of the Paperweight, the first of which was a coffee-table edition, considered a must for collectors. This book is now available in digital form on our website. Other books in the series included The Art of the Paperweight, Saint Louis, by Gerard Ingold, which depicted modern paperweights made in the Saint Louis Factory in France from 1970 through 1981. This was followed by The Art of the Paperweight, Perthshire, which included photos and descriptions all paperweights made at the Perthshire factory through 1983.

The Art of the Paperweight series

The ever popular All about Paperweights, first published in 1992, was reprinted many times, with later editions including an updated price guide. Songs Without Words, The Art of the Paperweight, Rick Ayotte, was published in 1997, a comprehensive record of the artist’s work from 1978 through 1995.

In addition to the Art of the Paperweight series, Paperweight Press went on to publish many titles by various experts in the field.







Paul Hollister’s Paperweight “Bible”; the Mahoney / McClanahan documentation of Perthshire’s vast paperweight production

























Art Elder’s memoir of paperweight collecting; the Exhibit catalog of Texas PCA collectors, starring their amazing collections




























For a comprehensive list of books available from Paperweight Press, see our website: https://www.theglassgallery.com/publications

In 1975, Paperweight News was launched—a regular newsletter for collectors with information, announcements about upcoming events, paperweight terminology, glossaries, history, humor and trivia. Many articles were contributed by paperweight collectors.

First Issue of Paperweight News, January 1975



Last issue of Paperweight news, 1993

Selman continued to travel regularly to antique shows around the country, announcing upcoming trips via post cards mailed to collectors who lived in the area to be visited.

Newspaper clipping of Larry Selman at an antique fair.

Selman also traveled to artist fairs where he encouraged budding glass workers to try their hand at making paperweights; he was instrumental in helping establish Jim Lundberg and Mark Cantor and their studio in Davenport, California, which spawned a group of artists—some of whom are still active today.

Early in his paperweight career, Selman began attending meetings of the Paperweight Collectors Association (PCA), founded in 1953 by Paul Jokelson, with multiple regional chapters for collectors, dealers, and artists. Selman attended all of the biannual national meetings of the PCA until he sold the business in 2009, after which the new owners have continued to represent the company at PCA events.  Over the years, L. H. Selman Ltd. contributed many articles to the organization’s annual publication the PCA Bulletin.

Attendees at an early PCA meeting

Larry Selman and Paul Hollister identify rare weights at a PCA meeting

Early Paperweight Maker, Paul Ysart














Ray Banford and Larry Selman, 1979

Larry Selman and Paul Stankard,, 1984

Paperweight artists at a PCA event, 1987. See how many you can identify!














































In 1971, Selman moved to San Francisco, where catalogs two through five were published, the latter partially in color.

The 1973 closepack from Perthshire (left, bottom right) was offered for $130, James Lundberg paperweights were priced at $32; on a separate page, a Paul Standard floral weight could be had for $200.

L. H. Selman Ltd. Gallery in Santa Cruz:

Eventually the business was incorporated as L. H. Selman Ltd, in Santa Cruz, California, where Selman had moved in 1974 in order to keep playing early music with his friends. Employees were hired, and a modest brick and mortar gallery was established at 761 Chestnut Street, which became something of a mecca for paperweight enthusiasts worldwide. At this point, Selman was better known in New York or London than in Santa Cruz. “It’s hard for people to take me seriously,” he frequently recalled. “I say I’m a paperweight dealer and I get a look like, ‘Yeah, right! Tell me another story.’”

761 Chestnut Street, Santa Cruz, California




















In 1976 son Matthew was born, followed by son Noah in 1978. Larry continued playing early music in Santa Cruz with Bill Matthews, who he had met in San Diego, and a cadre of local early music aficionados. He played concerts with The Antiquariun Funks, The Byrd Consort, and The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival.

Newspaper announcement of concert to be played with Stephen Pollard and Mary Elliott, 1975

Early staff at L. H. Selman Ltd.
















While serving on the board of directors for the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, Selman met Marti Edwards, who shared his passion for early music. In 1989, Larry married Marti, who soon joined him in the business, where she worked as an active partner for the next twenty years. Marti Selman recalls, “Because we met so late in life, we decided to treasure each day together and savor our lives intensely, treating each year as though it were five. By this reckoning, we have now been married 150 years!”

The home base in Santa Cruz continued to grow. Support staff were added, including a computer programmer (Stephen), a writer (Ron), office staff (Stephanie, Carol and others), and sales staff (Suzanne and others)—the latter three staying with the company for multiple decades. Customer service was considered a top priority. From the beginning and throughout its history, L. H. Selman Ltd. has always maintained a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy. If a collector was not entirely pleased with a purchase, it could always be returned for a full refund.

Paperweight Auctions:

Selman found himself regularly traveling to the world’s most prestigious auction houses (Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London and Parke-Bernet in New York), where he would acquire weights for his stock or serve as an agent to collectors.

Larry previewing weights at an auction house




















One particular collector, Arthur Rubloff, a colossal real estate developer from Chicago, enlisted Selman to bid for him at auction—a relationship that lasted many years. When Rubloff bequeathed his famous paperweight collection to the Art Institute of Chicago, Selman appraised it for the museum. The paperweight collection at the Art Institute remains one of the museum’s most popular exhibits.

Arthur Rubloff and friend, PCA convention 1975


















In 1990, to celebrate Selman’s first 20 years in business, Paul Jokelson encouraged Selman to host a paperweight auction. Jokelson had decided to sell his most prized paperweight—the famous Bird in the Nest, which he had bought at an antique store in Paris in 1925, and which had first piqued his interest in paperweights. Over the years he had attempted to learn more information about the piece, but neither the dealer who sold it to him or anyone else had seen anything like it before or since. Jokelson offered the paperweight as the linch-pin for this new auction endeavor—the first of many to follow (seventy, to date). Selman auctions began as telephone sales and evolved into today’s online bidding model. The Bird in the Nest sold for $182,600 and held the world record for a time as the highest-priced paperweight ever sold at auction.

First auction catalog, featuring Paul Jokelson’s famous Bird in the Nest paperweight

Collector Jerry Gard previews paperweights at one our of early phone / mail auctions.

Paperweights on the Internet:

Selman had long been fascinated with the seeming magic of mail order. “Here I am in California, and I can do business with someone on the other side of the country—or the world. It seems like magic.” As part of his mail order business, he established the International Paperweight Society—a sort of loyalty club where members were eligible for special offers, including free shipping of paperweights purchased. Think Selman Prime. Other benefits included an annual paperweight calendar, and various goodies such as calipers for measuring paperweight dimensions, and a variety of desk accessories—always paperweight related.

The advent of the internet deepened Selman’s interest in communicating with people from far away. He had taken some early computer code-writing classes in the 1970s, which served him well when he decided to single-handedly set up a website for the Society, with a chat group for members and pages about individual paperweight artists. The Society grew in membership and became a cadre of serious paperweight collectors who would attend many events which L. H. Selman Ltd. would host.

Here are the opening paragraphs of a press release (complete with photo attached) announcing Selman’s new presence on the internet, 1995:






















As the paperweight auctions grew in popularity, the ease of bidding online brought about many changes to how these auctions were held. Selman eventually hired a professional programmer to write the computer code for the online auctions, and actually partnered with Amazon to hold one of the first live auctions ever to be held on the internet. From that point on, the auctions were held online rather than by telephone, with bids coming in from around the world on a 24-hour basis.

Paperweight Festivals:

In 1992, after recently hosting Bar Mitzvah parties for their two sons, the Selmans decided to use their newly-acquired party-planning skills to host a paperweight Festival for members of the International Paperweight Society. Marti had previously had experience in organizing conferences in her earlier career at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The Paperweight Festival would be a weekend event in Santa Cruz, incorporating learning about how paperweights are made, meeting with artists and collectors, and serious collecting—all in a fun party atmosphere.

The Paperweight Festivals were a huge hit with collectors from around the country and Europe, who enjoyed escaping to sunny California on the second weekend of November. The first festival assembled a surprising hundred people, and the Selmans continued hosting the event for five consecutive years.

Luckily, there are two paperweight makers in the Santa Cruz area, so the schedule for the weekend always included visits to these studios. They also included all kinds of artist demonstrations in lampworking and other facets of paperweight creation. There were lectures and talks by artists, games, puzzles, door prizes, and an auction. There was always special time reserved with an artist. Some weekends included wine tasting or a sunset sail on the Monterey Bay. Others included flower arranging with Debbie Tarsitano, a birding walk with Rick Ayotte, Scottish Reel dancing with Miriam Drysdale, and a “design your own paperweight,” session with the Drysdales, where guests arranged millefiori canes which were then shipped back to Scotland for encasement. All the contemporary paperweight artists and factories were invited and were asked to join L. H. Selman Ltd. in donating a weight which would be either given as a door prize for lucky attendees, or to be auctioned to raise money for the newly-formed IPS Foundation.

Banners flown at IPS Festivals

Schedule of Events, First International Paperweight Society Festival, 1992













Design your own paperweight with Neil and Miriam Drysdale, IPS Festival,1995

Mayuel Ward, demonstrating at IPS Festival,1995

Barry Sautner displaying his glass carving techniques, IPS Festival,1995

Randy Grubb, demonstrating at IPS Festival,1995

Chris Buzzini, demonstrating at IPS Festival,1995

Bob Banford demonstrating at IPS Festival, 1995

Rick and Clara Ayotte, IPS Festival, 1995

Wine tasting and hanging out with artists on the Chardonnay; Emcee Dan MacLeith, artists Randy Grubb, Bob Banford, Mayuel Ward, IPS Festival, 1995

Staff members Ron and Suzanne, also worked long hours and wore a lot of different hats during events

Staff members Carol, Stephanie and Candy worked long hours at the festivals, this one in 1994

Paperweight collector Daniel MacLeith (center) was the lively Emcee of the IPS Festivals

Flower arranging with Debbie Tarsitano, IPS Festival, 1994

Artist group shot, IPS Festival, 1994. Can you name them all?

Artist Group shot, IPS Festival, 1993:
L to R Mayuel Ward, Johnne Parsley, Randy Grubb, Ken Rosenfeld, Greg Held of Orient & Flume, Gordon Smith, Steve Lundberg, Mark Birchfield, Andrew Fote, Scott Beyers of Orient & Flume, William Birchfield, Chris Buzzini, Bob Banford, Daniel Salazar, Drew Ebelhare, David Salazar. Debbie Tarsitano missing from this photo but she was there (see photo below)

Gordon Smith, IPS Festival, 1993

Ken Rosenfeld, IPS Festival, 1993

Debbie Tarsitano, IPS Festival, 1993

















































































































































































































































Miriam Drysale teaches the art of dancing Scottish reels, IPS Festival,1995

Neil Drysdale, Margaret and Paul Jokelson, Miriam Drysdale relaxing at the IPS Festival, 1995































The fifth festival, held at the Pan Pacific Hotel in downtown San Francisco, drew over 300 attendees, and featured as special guest speaker, paperweight collector Robin Leach, host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. His repeated line at the final banquet which drew a lot of laughs, was “Suzanne has my credit card!”

Suzanne enticing Robin Leach with a potential addition to his collection, IPS Festival, 1996




Steve Lundberg demonstrating at the San Francisco State glass studio, IPS Festival, 1996

Colin Terris of Cathness Glass, IPS Festival, 1996

Robin Leach collected paperweights with fish themes. Here he is admiring one made by Daniel Salazar, IPS Festival, 1996













The festival also featured a special exhibit of artist Rick Ayotte’s work titled Songs Without Words: The Art of the Paperweight—Rick Ayotte. The exhibit, which was housed in a historic bank in downtown San Francisco, was open to the public for the purpose of educating people about the art form.

Viewing the Ayotte Exhibit, titled Songs Without Words, IPS Festival, 1996

Melissa, Rick and Clara Ayotte with Margaret and Paul Jokelson at the Ayotte Exhibit at Union Bank, San Francisco, IPS Festival, 1996

Exhibit catalogue for Ayotte exhibit during IPS Festival in San Francisco, 1996





















Every year at the IPS Festival, Paul Jokelson was crowned “King of Paperweights” in a ceremony at dinner on Saturday evening. “Her Royal Majesty” Margaret Jokelson also graced us with her presence. Every year, this crowning ceremony became more and more elaborate. The King reveled in all this attention, and jokingly offered his ring to be kissed.

Le Roi Des Presse-Papiers on his throne, First IPS Festival, 1992

The King of Paperweights being presented with a glass scepter by Steve Lundberg, who made the scepter, now kisses his ring in jest and admiration, as Emcee Daniel Macleith looks on, IPS Festival, 1995

Bob Banford crowns the King with a glass diadem he has made for Paul Jokelson, IPS Festival, 1996

































But enough fun and frivolity. The International Paperweight Society has been responsible for more than just festivals.

IPS Foundation:

In the early 1990s The International Paperweight Society Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization for the purpose of supporting the art form and educating the public.

One of the Foundation’s first endeavors was to set up a traveling exhibit of 57 classic antique and 51 contemporary paperweights which would travel internationally. The exhibit, titled Challenging Tradition, contained paperweights from L. H. Selman Ltd. and various private collections and from November, 1993 to January, 1995 traveled to six different locations around the US and Scotland, with a color catalog commemorating the exhibit.

Challenging Tradition was exhibited at the Art Museum of Santa Cruz, California; MSC Forsythe Center Galleries at Texas A & M University; the Muscatine Art Center, Muscatine, Iowa; Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland (accompanied by artist Randall Grub); the Jones Museum of Glass and Ceramics, Douglas Hill, Maine; and Villa Terrace Museum of the Decorative Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Larry Selman, Jeanette and Randy Grubb, Peter McDougall at Scone Palace, Challenging Tradition Exhibit, 1994










Over the years the IPS Foundation funded scholarships for new paperweight artists (The Jokelson Fund); raised funds via a special online auction for glass artist Steve Lundberg to purchase a van after he contracted ALS and could no longer drive; established a paperweight museum on the West Coast; and, through the work of the Clark family, donated funds to expand and refurbish the Arthur Rubloff paperweight exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Brochure soliciting donations for the Jokelson Fund

New Gallery in Santa Cruz:

By the late 1990s, L. H. Selman Ltd., was running out of room in its original location on Chestnut Street. With a showroom (Larry’s office), a packing / shipping and storage room, and 10 employees crowded in three small offices, the Selmans began looking around for a new location. In 1998 they found a two-story, 5,000 square foot office building just 3 blocks away on Locust Street, and hired paperweight collector and friend Daniel MacLeith to refurbish the space. The upper floor would offer spacious office and conference space while the bottom floor would become a beautiful gallery and museum space.

The new space—The Glass Gallery—was large enough to accommodate plenty of paperweights in its mahogany cabinets, as well as floor space to accommodate pedestals to display contemporary glass sculpture. When the business moved to Chicago in 2009, MacLeith’s mahogany cabinets moved to the new location on Michigan Avenue, appropriately across the street from Chicago’s Art Institute.

New gallery at 123 Locust Street











All of major paperweight glass houses were represented: Baccarat, St. Louis, Perthshire, Caithness, Orient and Flume; as well as all of the contemporary studio paperweight artists, including Rick Ayotte, Melissa Ayotte, Bob Banford, Ray Banford, Chris Buzzini, Andrew Byers, John Deacons, Jim Donofrio, Drew Ebelhare, Randall Grub, Michael Hunter, James Lundberg, Steve Lundberg, Perthshire Paperweights, Ken Rosenfeld, Colin and Kathy Richardson, Alison Ruzsa, David Salazar, Daniel Salazar, Barry Sautner, Gordon Smith, Paul Stankard, Debbie Tarsitano, Victor Trabucco, Mayauel Ward, and others.

Contemporary glass sculpture artists were also included, such as the work of Ed Kachurik, Michael Leeds, Jared deLong, Denali Crystal, Marsha Blaker and Paul Desomma, Duncan MacClellan, Richard Ritter, Davide Salvadore, Rick Satava, Barry Sautner, Jesse Taj, and others.

The new space offered more opportunity for gallery openings, auctions, and collectors’ meetings and museum exhibits. The museum was able to offer space for special exhibits, such as the works of a particular artist, or a sulphide collection. Larry Selman still has in his possession, a world-class collection of antique sulphide objects.

Interior of the IPS Paperweight Museum at 123 Locust Street

When a small shop space became available for rent just up the street, Selman opened a small satellite shop which was open to the public, rather than the by-appointment schedule of the large gallery. The small shop, The Glass Gallery II, offered more affordable paperweights, small sculptures and glass jewelry.

The Glass Gallery II at 103 Locust Street, Santa Cruz

Collector’s Weekends:

With the new gallery as a wonderful destination for paperweight collectors, we began hosting what we called Collectors Weekends, which offered a small number of collectors the opportunity to spend the weekend with a particular paperweight artist. A small group of collectors (usually around 10 or twelve couples) were ensconced with one of their favorite paperweight artists at the lovely Inn at Depot Hill. Activities included dining with the artist at some of the best restaurants in the area, including the historic and romantic Shadowbrook Restaurant, wine tasting at local wineries, and even trips to the local flea market—all in the company of the artist. Of course, there was always time for browsing the paperweights in the gallery.

At times, collectors and artists looked back with nostalgia at the five large festivals of former days and expressed a desire for another large event. But after five years of back-to-back festival planning, Marti was ready for a change. “I was exhausted,” she recalls. “It took a year to plan one of those weekends, and after five years, I really couldn’t do it again.” But in the end, the smaller gatherings became a favorite of collectors and artists, as well as the staff at L. H. Selman Ltd., where friendships deepened and lasting bonds were made in a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Carl Carter learning to handle the punty under direction of David Salazar, 2001

Randy Grubb displays his slumped glass sculpture, 2001

Events with Randy Grubb usually involved some classic cars, 2001

Randy Grubb “flaming” Emcee Dan MacLeith’s rental car, 2001

Alison Ruzsa (right) poses with Marti Selman, modeling glass jewelry at Glass Weekend, 2004. L. H. Selman Ltd. “discovered” Alison at SOFA Chicago.

Paul Jokelson hamming it up with Clara Ayotte. He has put on Rick Ayotte’s name tag, 2000

Late night dessert and port; Emcee Dan MacLeith models silk paperweight boxers by Nicole Miller, 2001

Collectors picked blueberries at the Selman farm in the Santa Cruz mountains during a weekend with the Ayottes, 2001

Jim D’Onofrio demonstrating at a Collectors’ Weekend, 2001

Rare and unusual paperweights from around the world:

By now, the online auctions at L. H. Selman Ltd. were so well established that Selman did not need to travel to London and New York auctions to acquire paperweights for his customers. As the presence of L. H. Selman Ltd. on the internet grew, offers to purchase rare pieces began to surface from hitherto-unknown collections in Eastern Europe. Once again, Selman found himself traveling to Europe to buy paperweights, but this time from individuals rather than at auction. Trips to Poland and Belgium yielded a rare Pantin Lizard magnum paperweight, as well as a one-of-a-kind glass ring, possibly from Russia, both of which sold at record prices.

Rare Pantin magnum lizard paperweight

Unique “Russian Ring”



























One of the most fascinating facets of buying and selling paperweights over the years has been learning about the stories each piece has to tell. Provenance is important in all fields of collecting, of course, and each paperweight has its own history—whether we know the details or not. In a case like the rare Russian Ring, and Jokelson’s Bird in the Nest, the unique story is lost to history. But when someone is able to unearth the history of a particular paperweight, it is an exciting and satisfying find.

Paul Jokelson’s famous “Bird in the Nest” paperweight which he found in Paris

The stunning Baccarat Quadrille from the Gaylord Collection.


































Selman recalls, “Over the years, we have watched particular pieces change hands numerous times. In some cases, we helped parents build a fine collection; and then when it was time to pass it on and their children were not interested, we had the pleasure of selling the collection again in one of our auctions. Of course, one of the most gratifying aspects of our career in glass paperweights has been getting to know such wonderful people. Our clients were consistently delighted with their acquisitions, and rarely did we ever encounter a collector who was dissatisfied. Life really doesn’t get any better than this!”

Marti Selman takes notes for an appraisal for a collection coming up for auction.

Passing the Torch:

With the business established for forty years, and the thought of retirement lurking in the back of his mind, Selman consulted with numerous professionals about how he might retire. But his business model didn’t fit the mold of the people who help to sell businesses. “My accountant told me to just reduce the prices and have a huge sale,” recalls Selman. “Of course, I wasn’t about to do that.”

Eventually Selman reached out to his collectors in an email, asking if anyone knew of someone who might be interested in acquiring the business. Out of several responders, the family of Wes Clark (who had been avid collectors for many years), kept surfacing as the best successor to carry on the legacy of L. H. Selman Ltd. / The Glass Gallery. On July 15, 2009, the sale documents were signed and plans were made to move the business to Chicago, where Mitch and Ben Clark would operate out of the Fine Arts Building, appropriately just down the street from the Art Institute and Arthur Rubloff’s world-class paperweight collection.

The Clarks kept the L. H. Selman Ltd. name, and continue to offer online auctions, gallery events and collector’s weekends, while promoting the new work of paperweight artists as well as educating the public about the art form.

Larry and Marti Selman (right) “passing the torch” to Ben and Mitch Clark

Post Script:

Since selling the business to the Clark family in 2009, Selman has returned to his early passions of photography and playing early music on the viola da gamba. Larry and Marti have traveled extensively for bird and street photography.

Selman’s ongoing passion for photography can be seen at the following websites:

For birds:  http://www.MostlyBirds.com

For black and white street photography:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/lselman/

Most recently, Larry has gone back to his early passion of playing the viola da gamba with other lovers of early music.

(At left) Larry Selman playing viola da gamba at the home of Michael Foote, Tucson, AZ

Photos courtesy of L. H. Selman Ltd. archives and photo collection of Larry and Marti Selman