L.H. Selman’s 72nd Paperweight Auction, Summer 2019



L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Summer 2019, 72nd Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 336 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial Bidding commences Monday, July 8th at 9:00 am CST. Initial bidding ends on Monday, July 22nd 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. 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, July 23rd.I

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, and please note that we adjusted the language on our condition statements last auction. A key can be found in the Conditions of Sale on page 62 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! 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.


Okay folks; if you go to the almighty Internet and ask what is special about the number 72, it will give you the same old answers we all learned in third grade…  Namely:

72 is the maximum number of spheres that can touch another sphere in a lattice packing in 6 dimensions.”

And also this from the Bible: “In the vision of Jacob’s Ladder in the Old Testament of the Bible (Genesis 28, 11-19) and the Zohar, Jacob was shown that there were 72 steps to the Earth and Heaven with angels traveling up and down the steps.”

Fine, Fine. BUT “72” now has a NEW, even more meaningful definition –

It is the number of the upcoming L.H. SELMAN LTD’S 72nd PAPERWEIGHT AUCTION

Yes, it had to happen, and not just because our last catalog was #71, but because you deserve it!  (Can you tell that our writing department has studied all written documents from sacred scripture to the questionable broadsides and flyers that advertised circuses and traveling medicine shows?)

Better than any book by Dan Brown on some far-fetched Da Vinci code or some such, our 72nd Catalog actually does hold the secrets of and clues to eternal happiness. Unfortunately the F.D.A. has recently said we could no longer claim specific improvements in your medical conditions but we can say that what we offer will definitely cure you if your ailments are caused by a dearth of glistening beauty in your household!    

So Step Right Up!

Locked deep within this sacred text, published long centuries weeks ago, are the clues necessary to pinpoint the exact combination of attributes you so dearly need—good sirs and madams—and that you will find awaiting to restore good health to each and every one of your artistic innards, and remind you that inside every real HEART, you’ll find “ART” inside!  (Too obvious?)

So, let us to the thrill of the chase, and may the best man WIN be a real gentleman and LET THE SECOND BEST MAN WIN FOR A CHANGE! Just kiddin’…



Lot 1. Rare antique Clichy rose, pansy and thistle bouquet paperweight.

(Okay, so it’s made of glass.)  Someone pulled out all the stops here, not a bad thing when you’re at war.  Word on the street has it that the weight’s main elements represent the mystical (or was it temporal) bond between the great countries of France, England and Scotland during the Crimean War. It’s been rumored some of these weights were actually used in battle (cringe!) which would explain the rarity of this one, which is in Fine Condition. Anyway, the amazingly successful and elegantly complex design is expertly centered and the glasswork is so fine that the assemblage resembles a three-dimensional etching with exquisite hand tinting. This represents an aesthetic and political triumph that will stand the test of time – an early attempt at a European Union!  Such history and worth the price just for the work on the thistles alone! This little masterpiece is also the heaviest crystal for its size that we can remember. Why can’t international politics always be this beautiful?

P.S.  This is the EXACT SAME WEIGHT that rocked “Antiques Roadshow” – (Google £22,000 Paperweight and watch…)  Now you can do more than witness history – you can buy it!  (Sorry – monarchs held for ransom cannot be applied as payment for this limited one-time offer!)


Lot 3. Rare and exceptional antique Bacchus close concentric millefiori paperweight.

A beautiful example of the basic color prism laid out in classical concentric rings.  Striking reds and happy yellows protected by a ring of royal blues and luscious aqua-greens, with breathing room provided by comforting sheets of white, wrapping and nestling each color against the chilblains, a common ailment in Victorian England and beyond. (You youngsters can look that up and be grateful for central heating!)  This might have belonged to Charles Dickens – or probably not! However, history teases us again in this artwork, as 3 (a mystical number itself!) Heraldic Canes nervously provoke the imagination with their arcane, unknown references. Don’t be surprised if the Crown calls upon you one day to return this to Windsor Castle!


Lot 6. Rare antique Baccarat “thousand petal” red rose paperweight.

“Step Right Up and Make a Fortune, Gentlemen!!”  Okay, actually we mean save a fortune.  Why? Because for a small investment you can save yourself from ever again having to buy flowers!!  That’s right, take advantage of this limited offer and your duly intended will be so taken with the eternal beauty of this perfect rose, that all you’ll need to do for the next several decades is remember to pick up a card at the pharmacy.  Seriously, though – this rose is captivating with seriously sensual tones that bespeak a living presence, such is the effect of the incredible craftsmanship here. And all is given an electric burst of energy by a perfectly engineered starburst cut base.  


Lot 7. Rare antique Baccarat spaced concentric millefiori and Gridel silhouettes carpet ground paperweight.

We just received this high-end carpet and someone left the French doors open again.  Which is appropriate for a French paperweight we guess, but who has time to keep an eye on all the animals in the living room?  At least they seem to be clean, well-behaved and beautifully detailed. And they respect each other’s spaces, while sharing a soft and inviting stardust carpet with joyful red dots.  An elegant example of beauty and behavior—a well-groomed weight of classical lineage. Dry Clean Only.


Lot 9. Extremely rare and very fine antique Clichy scrambled millefiori and signature cane paperweight.

By which of course, we mean A COMPLETE CLICHY SIGNATURE! The studio was rightfully being loud and proud about this riotous circus of shameless colors and barely controlled chaos that is a party of one anywhere! Full signatures are rarer than steak tartare.  Seriously if your friends don’t ask for a cocktail or begin to dance against their will upon encountering this living, breathing artwork, feel free to banish them to the colonies. You actually won’t even need friends if you have this. Someone get this paperweight a microphone, because it has a message for all of us, and that is to “Live Life to the Hilt!”

Lot 9 signature detail.


Lot 12. Very rare antique Saint Louis six-paneled close packed millefiori and twists paperweight.

That’s right, boys and girls!  Given that the fledgling United States bought stolen property from Napoleon in 1803 to the tune of 15 million dollars for over 800,000 square miles, we reckon that the land that Saint Louis, Missouri occupies cost less than your average antique French paperweight of this caliber. (That same land is valued at 1.2 trillion dollars these days). So you appear to have missed the boat on snapping up a deal in St. Louis and it’s time to satisfy yourself with its namesake at an affordable price.

That is to say you should consider this glorious Saint Louis six-panel paperweight, sporting a spectacular and unusual array of complex canes (call for close-ups) all coming together at the apex—a porcelain-looking blue and white complex floret cane.  Its 28-point cog has some symbolism of its own, as you know 28 heartbeats are necessary for a drop of blood to traverse our body’s circuit. Don’t call the F.D.A., that’s not technically a medical claim! All lightness aside, this is a masterwork. Take a good look.


Lot 15. Antique Saint Louis close concentric millefiori and silhouettes paperweight.

There is a mystery to this beautiful paperweight that we think we have found clues to.  First, though, we are legally bound to point out the very unusual, sophisticated and delightful chromatic balance between the handsome circles of complex canes.  The balance achieved here is quite pleasing to our eyes and represents an unusual arrangement. The blues and greens on the perimeter with the delicate reds at the edges stand nicely apart from, but still relate to the top center elements with echoes of colors.  And a nice depth of field is created by the unusual spacing, which allows the colors to draw your eyes down the stems, giving an enhanced dimensionality to this wonderful piece.

Okay you say, but what else?  Well, we think we know why the 9 dogs (oh boy does “9” carry lots of symbolism) are interested in this classic clown.  Research shows that the mid-17th century origin of Punchinello likely came from Polecenella, which may have been a diminutive of pollecena, a young turkey cock with a hooked beak, which Punchinello’s profile clearly brings to mind!  So there – the dogs are chasing dinner for the master! And that explains the arrowhead canes (First Nation knows a turkey when it sees one) surrounding the head.  And who knew that European hounds from over two hundred years ago were up on their etymologies!!! (Too much of a stretch? YOU try writing like this sometime!)


Lot 19. Antique Baccarat close packed millefiori and Gridel silhouettes paperweight necklace and gold chain. (OPTIONAL BACK BRACE AVAILABLE IN 3 SIZES.)

You could walk into the Governor’s Ball a week late, and if you’re brandishing this lustrous statement of barely contained opulence, the attendees will start returning from home just to say they saw you and your millefiori necklace there, and the press will have to rewrite the gossip columns.  When they send the reporters and photographers over to interview your jewel-like wonder, don’t be afraid to speak up and say, “HEY, My Eyes Are Up Here!


Lot 24. Very rare New England Glass Company parrot on a branch paperweight.

Before we had Siri and Echo, People and some pirates from Central Casting owned Parrots for company!  Since this rather dignified antique avian glass delight will neither spill your secrets nor ever soil its lovely cage, it offers perfect company.  And while Siri can’t wait to share your vocal musings, this confident and handsome parrot with a wonderfully alert expression will listen to you attentively and guard your confidences forever.  See, you can buy loyalty!


Lot 33. Antique Baccarat 1848 spaced concentric millefiori and Gridel silhouettes paperweight.

You see before you an example of French classic beauty, kind of like Catherine Deneuve, but a little younger.  (Put the Phone Down – We’re Joking!!) Catherine, a truly timeless beauty, is about 76 years young and this Baccarat just turned 171, with a very minor facelift (polishing) that left tons of glass to reflect light and dazzle you, its rightful next owner.  (Yes, you know who you are!)  This classic weight wears its age proudly in bright if tiny colors on its waistband! The only thing better would be Catherine’s mellifluous tones describing it to you.  We’re still waiting to hear back on that.


Lot 51. Antique Clichy Napoleon III sulphide pedestal paperweight.

That’s right, history buffs, this Napoleon came to power after the 1848 Revolution as president of the Second Republic and “left office” when he was captured during the Franco Prussian War in 1870.  But don’t let that disappointing personal batting average keep you from enjoying this particularly interesting paperweight. Nice of him to find time to pose for this artwork between conflicts. A brightly hued green glass base provides the perfect background for this almost iridescent sulphide portrait resting in a clear, low dome.  To look at his severe but serene expression, you’d think he was still in power!

And with tearful apologies to the 66 remaining antique lots we move on to more recent centuries…


Lot 81. Paul Stankard 2002 “Morning Glory with Damselfly and Ant” paperweight, from the Walt Whitman series.

That’s Right! Word on the street says Czech artists Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolph did a pretty good job hammering together their over 4000 glass models of plants representing more than 830 plant species; apparently this is a big deal at Harvard where the models reside. But WE have Jersey and that means Paul Stankard and his output of phenomenally exquisite and faithful glass interpretations of nature.  And, the best part is that you can acquire a Stankard of your very own. (Actually when we called Harvard to see if they would consign any of the works in the Blaschka collection, they just kept laughing and hanging UP!) So anyway we believe Paul’s work ranks above the Blaschka team, especially if you put his orbs on the top shelf. And on top of that, Paul creates outstanding insects and human figures – a challenge that has gone unanswered.  

So Hands Down, South Jersey beats Harvard!

SO TAKE THAT, Mark Zuckerberg, Helen Keller, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Conan O’Brien, Henry David Thoreau, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Leonard Bernstein, and F.D.R….  Jersey Rules!   


Lot 94. Mantua Glass Studio 2002 salamander paperweight, by David Graeber.

Okay, originally this was going to be about how birds can’t catch a break!  If they’re not being sucked into plane engines, they’re having to wear discarded napkins to avoid breathing Roundup insecticide and trying to figure out just what happened to the proper change of seasons!  Why the only safe place for them is in a glass studio!! BUT, it turns out this little fella hasn’t broken into a poor mother bird’s egg – he himself had just plopped out of it! At least that was his story when we asked him.  Alive for 5 minutes and he’s been profiled!  Not good. But he’s (if it’s a he) so beautifully constructed with handsome coloring subtly mottled, statistics say he’ll have a charmed life, and we bet he will be dutifully buying his organic eggs like the rest of us.  A wonderful piece by Dave for Mantua, but we’re not surprised!


Lot 96. Andrew Byers 2007 New Zealand marigolds and crocus double bouquet paperweight.

Okay, folks.  Last time around there was a bit of flurry and some elbowing in line at the door of Andrew’s lot before it opened.  PLEASE BEHAVE! You’d think these were unusual or something. Although…this joyful arrangement is rather breathtaking…!


Lot 103. Rick Ayotte 2000 “Wetland Wonders” heron, turtle and purple iris rectangular paperweight.

Okay we made up the award.  But honestly, if Audubon DID give awards for beautiful verisimilitude of nature in the wild, this could win First Place twice in the same year!  So striking in color and design. And we dearly love the fact that the frog, heron and turtle seem as close as Winnie, Tigger and Eeyore. The Pooh cast members were also friends off-camera, right?  


Lot 119. Rick Ayotte 1987 “Grassland Yellow Finch with Wild Barberry Flowers” miniature paperweight.






Lot 120. Barry Sautner (2008) “Striving Nirvana” men and angel carved sculpture.

Seriously this is a museum quality objet d’art, with a master’s hand behind a carved glass human tower of supplicants reaching for the divine.  The complexly carved angel’s wings that can adorn the back of the man closest to the heavens are removable and offer pause for reflection on the nature of fate and salvation.  We beseech you to ask for detailed images.


Lot 127. Debbie Tarsitano, Delmo Tarsitano and Max Erlacher 1984 collaborative lampwork flowers, spider and etched web compound paperweight.

It’s been too long since we actually read that book but since we just mentioned the Winnie the Pooh gang…  Anyway if you saw this imposingly striking spider, you know what we mean. Think of the E.B. White classic being newly illustrated by say, Quentin Tarantino – we mean this is one gorgeously adult spider.  And this in the midst of such lovely florals. Debbie and her father Delmo have teamed up with the great Austrian glass engraver Max Erlacher to complete the narrative. Complete with a dragonfly trapped in a silky, etched web–not for the faint of heart.  A masterful work!


Lot 133. Chris Buzzini 1992 red roses fancy-cut faceted paperweight.

That elegant phrase came dancing back into our minds as we (carefully) twirled this large jewel in our hands and the light literally danced up and down and around it in joyful curves. The cut glass alone is so exquisite, that you would be grateful to own this if it encased nothing more than an old wisdom tooth. But at no extra charge you instead receive a pair of absolutely and we mean totally flawless, red roses!  Stop the cameras right there! It can’t get better than that! True Love not included, but you won’t care!


Lot 157. Jim D’Onofrio 1997 pair of yellow and black frogs paperweight.

These wonderfully imagined frogs are thought to favor flies but here they seemed poised for an eating contest. But the plants in question are simply too beautiful to desecrate by ingestion, so they will just dare one another to start something for eternity, or at least until winter comes…


Lot 170. Parabelle Glass 1995 close concentric shamrock millefiori paperweight.

That’s right kids!  We can go back to skating and bicycling without helmets.  Seatbelts are for others – others who don’t have the ultimate lucky talisman, namely this all-out, no-holds-barred Parabelle Official Shamrock Shield.  Never fear illness or adversity again. Why now, you can even go confidently to fine restaurants on the weekend without a reservation. The Shamrock Shield has you covered!  Health and good fortune are yours forever. Each magical paperweight comes equipped with one sack of potatoes and a handbook of ripostes by Oscar Wilde!


Lot 206. Saint Louis 1997 “Ruche bleu” honeycomb paperweight.

Let’s hope not.  The world is strange enough with artificial intelligence writing its own code and hesitating to obey, while waiting for the Singularity (you don’t want to know.)  We can’t also have colors that are awake and aware. But this honeycomb comes close. Maybe this weight is the original reason we first heard the expression “IN LIVING COLOR” on our old Zeniths and Motorola televisions!  Truly drop dead gorgeous and luscious!

Honey and bees extra.

All right, we see you looking at your watches so we’ll wrap this up in just a few… but it’s a real agony deciding which works get special attention when so many deserve it!


Lot 222. Baccarat 1968 aqua and coral close packed concentric millefiori paperweight.

Possibly the most charming and unusual color combinations in the auction.  Enchanting shades of blue working perfectly together to soothe the eye while teasing it a little at the same time.


Lot 312. Perthshire Paperweights 1986 close packed millefiori paperweight.

We leave you with sadness but the pets at home are waiting and many of you know what that means, so our last thoughts today are about the comforting beauty of this timeless classic design and pointillist beauty, that is the close packed millefiori.

Until next time kids, and remember if your dogs, cats and turtles have trashed the house because you stayed late at work to share beauty and wisdom with your friends and colleagues, their sacrifice and your décor were worth it to get the word out…


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