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Larry Selman

December 11, 1938 – September 20, 2021  

“Make Every Day Count”


Our​​ beloved husband, father, brother, colleague, and best friend, slipped away peacefully at his home in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by his family. For many months, Larry​​ held​​ insatiably​​ to life, because he​​ simply loved​​ living—on every level.​​ Recently he​​ was busy with many projects—adding more solar power​​ to​​ the house, taking​​ magnificent​​ photographs, practicing the viola da gamba,​​ studying music theory,​​ redesigning our front yard with beautiful succulent plants, and playing Pokémon with the grandkids and other aficionados of the game. Honestly, we all thought we would have more time together.


The last few months, this has been his daily mantra: “Make every day count.” And we did. His three-year journey with pancreatic cancer changed everything. We made every moment count.​​ During​​ his​​ last few days, he was telling​​ everyone, “There are only two things that matter: Having work that you love, and finding the right partner.” He said how lucky he was to have​​ found​​ both.​​ 


Larry is survived by Marti Selman, his devoted wife of 32 years;​​ son Matthew David (Matisse) Selman, daughter-in-law Daniela Selman, grandsons Mason Lawrence Selman and Dashiell Jean Selman; son Noah Jordan Selman, daughter-in-law Sarah Selman, grandchildren Isaiah Clive Overson, Jacqueline Ruby Overson, and Khiaan J. Selman; sister Kay Ellen (Kelly) Selman, brother-in-law Robin Wallace, of Gainesville, Florida; first wife Linda Pope of Aptos; and a host of extended family and friends who will carry him in their hearts forever.​​ 


Born in Cleveland, Ohio to Evelyn and Morton Selman, Larry attended public schools​​ in Cleveland Heights​​ and​​ earned a Bachelor’s degree at Kenyon College,​​ after which he spent a year​​ abroad​​ studying chemistry​​ at University College, London. He​​ then went on to earn a Master’s degree and PhD in organic chemistry at Yale University.​​ After a brief career in teaching, Larry​​ discovered​​ by chance​​ what would become his career for the next​​ four decades.​​ 



In the late​​ 1960s,​​ Larry​​ found himself at a personal crossroads. With​​ his​​ PhD in organic chemistry (thanks to the persistence of his dedicated mother, Evy),​​ he was torn between the prospect of an academic career,​​ and​​ his​​ true​​ passion—playing​​ Renaissance and Baroque​​ music.​​ Larry​​ felt he​​ needed to make a choice. ​​​​ One day,​​ a​​ friend in the early music world​​ introduced​​ him​​ to one of his collections: glass paperweights. Larry was immediately​​ enthralled​​ by these small​​ objets d’art​​ and began buying and selling them​​ as a hobby,​​ which​​ in time​​ evolved into a​​ career.​​ 


During the Renaissance, skills and talents from many fields of expertise were combined into lives of extraordinary creativity.​​ Eventually, Larry​​ solved​​ his career​​ dilemma​​ by​​ choosing​​ “all of the above,​​ following the​​ path of innovators from the Renaissance era,​​ whose​​ hauntingly beautiful,​​ complex​​ music​​ had smitten him. In other words, why not​​ continue​​ to be a scholar​​ of many things, play​​ early​​ music, and….​​ deal in​​ collectible​​ glass paperweights!


 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ A picture containing person, indoor

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Larry​​ will be remembered by​​ collectors​​ around the world​​ for his work​​ in the field of​​ fine​​ glass paperweights, where he devoted​​ himself​​ to​​ education about​​ the art form​​ and​​ to​​ fostering​​ emerging​​ artists who created​​ these small treasures.​​ In 1969,​​ he founded L. H. Selman, Ltd. which began as a kitchen-table mail-order business with his first wife, Linda Pope, who co-authored his first book,​​ Paperweights for Collectors.​​ Through​​ the publication of high-quality brochures,​​ special​​ photographic techniques​​ and​​ advertising,​​ participation​​ in​​ antique shows,​​ and collectors’ meetings​​ and festivals,​​ L. H. Selman, Ltd. became the world’s​​ premier purveyor of both antique and contemporary glass paperweights.​​ For years, Larry​​ regularly traveled to London auctions to​​ bid for clients​​ or​​ to purchase​​ rarities​​ for​​ his collectors.​​ He wrote​​ numerous​​ definitive​​ books​​ about​​ the art form, and published​​ many other​​ titles​​ under his publishing house,​​ Paperweight Press.​​ 


Throughout his career as an art dealer, Larry drew on his lifelong skills as a photographer, figuring out the best ways to photograph glass. (He had​​ created​​ a dark room in his childhood home in Cleveland when he was fifteen). The exceptional quality of his photos set the standard among the paperweight world.​​ Always the innovator,​​ Larry was the first paperweight dealer to have a website.​​ This was in the early days of the internet, when building a website required months of laborious and unforgiving attention to detail. Larry​​ actually wrote the computer code himself, in the late hours on his home computer. He was the first paperweight dealer to establish an online auction. On two occasions, these auctions held the world record for the highest price realized for a rare antique glass paperweight.​​ 


Eventually the mail order / auction business evolved into a beautiful glass gallery in downtown Santa Cruz. The shop became a mecca for paperweight collectors from around the world who came to attend many festivals and other paperweight-related events which were​​ hosted​​ here.​​ He fostered a collaborative work environment where his small staff could​​ actively participate, and enjoy their work as much as he did.


In 2009, Larry decided​​ that after 40 years​​ it was time to “pass the torch” of the business to someone else.​​ 

L. H. Selman, Ltd. was purchased by the family of Wes Clark, a long-time collector, who moved the business to the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, where it resides and continues to thrive.​​ 

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Larry was a devoted father who adored his family.​​ In 1976, son Matthew (Matisse) was born, followed by son Noah in 1978. Throughout his career as a businessman,​​ he​​ always found time to be​​ 100%​​ present​​ for​​ his children,​​ constructing electronic projects at the dining room table, selling​​ (hmm.. mostly buying)​​ at the local flea market,​​ having sushi-making dinners at home​​ and​​ lifelong​​ daily conversations about their many​​ diverse​​ interests and activities.


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