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. 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. This stage has begins August 6th at 10am CST. A GUIDE listing the reserve price, lot number, and title for these BAR lots has been prepared at LIST.

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…


DANNY SALAZAR: “I Was Nobody’s Student”


No. 6 in the LHS Pop Mini-Bio Series 

Okay, how many of you were ready for THAT subtitle?  Press on, gentle reader…

We sat down with Danny Salazar at the recent PCA national convention, this year held in Dearborn, Michigan, and asked him to tell us his life story in the twelve minutes we had between lectures.  When he told us that he is the son of a Comanche-Apache-Italian-Spanish American father and a mother named Minnie who brought him to California from Texas in a shoebox, and that Tina Turner had once kissed him backstage, we realized the interview could take a full 20 minutes.  Nonetheless, we “set to task” (Old French) and began our relentless interrogation…  

Danny was conceived in California but born in 1956 in Del Rio, Texas, where the family had deep roots (“My mother had a thing about it…”). Soon his little stagecoach of the aforementioned shoebox shuffled him right back to actual family home in San Jose, California.  He was the fourth of six children. His father was a successful architect but in 1970, Mom moved part of the family back to Texas for Danny’s freshman year of high school. We asked if this were in response to the parents wanting their son to not be exposed to gangs and drugs, and it turns out the fear was of hippies and drugs!  So Danny completed his first three years of high school in Del Rio.  They needn’t have worried. We asked Danny about whether or not there had been a period of teenage rebellion we could discuss and the worst story he could come up with was almost being arrested once as a teenager for smoking a little joint at a carnival.  And remember this was the 1970s in California!

As it turns out, Danny’s roots really do run deep in Texas, pre-dating the state of Texas, in fact.  He was raised Methodist and his ancestors helped build the first Methodist church in the area in the 19th century.  With a tone of bemusement, the artist also shared that there was a family uncle who had been a Confederate soldier.  

In 1973 Danny returned to California to work with his brother David in a glass studio as a summer job.  That operation was just transitioning from the name Nouveau Glass to the Lundberg Studios.  Word on the street says Larry Selman had a hand in that.  It was he who convinced James and Steve Lundberg, Mark Cantor, and David Salazar to make paperweights.  Prior to that they had been primarily “surface decorators,” and often sold their works at renaissance fairs (or is that renaissance faires?).  

Anyway, in 1974 Danny began as a glass grinder.  We asked what glass the studio used and Danny said that Lundberg Studios has always made its own glass from scratch.  He was good-natured, quiet and conscientious. He laid out colors, set up the pipes, cleaned up the work areas and did whatever else that was asked of him.  By the next year he made pontil man. The studio liked him enough to want him to work full time. Danny stayed in California his senior year, living with his brother and trading sleep for school and work.  The first semester he attended classes from about 8am to noon, and then reported for his shift at Lundberg. The second semester he worked full time days and went to night classes to secure his high school diploma.  

So here’s Danny, a kid coming in raw to a studio full of older and experienced glass artists, some with college educations.  And it’s this kid, who is driven to experiment relentlessly on his own, to where he becomes the one who then elevates the quality of work produced by the studio by introducing the crew (1982-83) to truly expansive three- dimensional work!!  Impressive, and although he learned things from observing Chris Buzzini and the others, Danny modestly but firmly says, “I was nobody’s student!”

Our artist took his inspiration from nature, fused that with his knowledge of art and engineered the blend fueled by an incredible work ethic.  This all led to Daniel Salazar having his work included in the exhibitions and collections of every major museum and institution interested in contemporary glass—as well as in countless private holdings.  This productivity and inventiveness is also where Danny earned his nickname “The Golden Child,” from Jim Lundberg. Maybe that meant gold for the studio – Cha-Ching!

Danny, who has spent 34 years at Lundberg Studios, has been interested in the arts his whole life, with painting being his original first love. He seemed destined for a life in art and recalled always liking glass.  He told of being with friends and digging up bits of colored glass along the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad tracks – how he loved those cobalt blues…  From 1982-83, he studied at Cabrillo College taking classes in drawing and painting.  He loves watercolors and happily acknowledges the symbiotic bond his glass art shares with his other artistic passions.

Danny has a particular attraction to Japanese and Chinese art and has collected netsuke, woodblock prints, incense burners, and Peking glass among other artworks, antiques and furniture.  He has kept favorite examples of his own work and has collected other paperweight artists widely. He enjoys nature and is a gardener. When we asked if he were personally as sanguine as the lush, flowing and harmonious little worlds of glass he is famous for creating, he said quietly, “Yeah, pretty much.”  There you go – practically a Buddhist.

In this artistic environment Danny has made a life in Santa Cruz, with Steve Wilson, a retired parole officer and the artist’s partner of 37 years.  They share, along with so much else, a love of Hawaii and the South Sea Islands. Danny fondly remembers a trip in 1980 to Tahiti and New Caledonia. And he admits that his dream is to be able to split his year, wintering in Hawaii and summering in California. HEY! Get in line!

After more than three decades Lundberg Studios is no more. Early on, Danny’s brother David and Chris Buzzini were fired from the team.  Rumor has it that there were some strong egos bumping around in the shop! Both the Lundberg brothers have passed on.  At this point, the only room open is the sales room, where Rebecca Lundberg sells the last finished pieces. However, the Lundberg Studios has now passed into memory.  

Glass artist Chris Johnson leases the former studio space and Danny subleases space from him.  But much of Danny’s creative time these days is limited by his day job blowing scientific glass at Oxford Instruments in nearby Scotts Valley.  These days Danny also must be more careful physically, because the sumptuous weights for which he is known have exacted a toll on our artist. You guessed it – back problems!  The constant strain has made it difficult to now maneuver the heavy glass as he once did. When we asked what his daily career work regimen had been, he said “I liked to start early, about 4 am and work straight through the day, not taking breaks or eating lunch.”  (Wow, he’s lucky he can walk!) Nonetheless Danny’s still in there at bat, and we’re looking forward to masterful paperweights yet to come!

Danny smiles (we think; we were actually on the phone at this juncture) as he describes special highlights of his glass career.  Several involved his passion for music. He loves rhythm and blues, soul, reggae and more. “Because of my glass, I got to meet Tina Turner!  I met Ike Turner after first telling a guard at a concert that  ‘Yes, I know him!’ (BIG FIB!) Ike asked what I wanted and I said I had a gift for Tina, and he said, ‘Okay, follow me…’  I was actually ushered into Tina Turner’s dressing room where I spotted the dozen roses I had sent earlier. I said that I was glad they had arrived and she was totally surprised.  ‘You sent them?  THANK YOU!’ I gave her a paperweight as a gift and Tina Turner kissed me on the cheek!”

Danny also waylaid the singer James Brown with a gifted weight as he was exiting after a concert on his way to his tour bus and our artist received a surprised and gracious response.  You can tell, as Danny reminded us – this was almost 35 years ago; just try that today! Danny adores Billie Holiday and would like to have gifted her one of his gardenias, a flower she sometimes sported in her hair.  Good thing this hopeless romantic didn’t get to meet all his musical icons; he’d have given away the farm!

Other celebrities Danny has met through the miracle matchmaker of glass include Robin Leech who commissioned an aquatic scene from the artist for his mansion in the Caribbean and Andy Griffith who came into the studio and purchased several of Danny’s rose weights.  But Danny just couldn’t seem to get anywhere nearly as excited about them as when Tina planted one on him! And not being musicians, Robin and Andy had to pay for what they took home!

Despite all of these brushes with celebrities, Danny Salazar remains a genuinely modest artist.  When we mentioned recently that we had just spoken with a huge fan of his work, the artist’s reflexive reply was, “Are you sure they didn’t mean my brother?”

No, Danny, they didn’t.  

Charles Kaziun Jr., “With All Due Respect to the French…”

An American Original Shows Them What They Forgot

No. 5 in the LHS Pop Mini-Bio Series

OKAY, This one is Tough.  In our ‘Pop Mini-Bios’ thus far we were able to gain the trust of the artists who then shared inside information with us, which we of course immediately presented to you all.

Sure we were able to tease Gordon Smith in his Arizona studio about rattlesnakes and nightly coyote raids (which turned out to be true!) – and we exposed Damon MacNaught as wasting time baking bread for his family when he should have had glass in that kiln (almost true! – he does bake for them daily, but we realize now, in the kitchen).  We brought you a heart-pounding description of the destruction to Alison Ruzsa’s glass works which involved the huge metal protective building doors being flung like toys off their hinges in the episode called “Hurricane Sandy Makes a Studio Visit.” Sad and true. And recently we tugged at your heartstrings when we were the first to report about how Delmo and Debbie Tarsitano battled frostbite with bathroom hand dryers while selling paperweights at the outdoor winter fairs and flea markets.  Sensational information? Yes. Click Bait? Darn near!

But THE (pronounced thee) Charles Kaziun Jr. presents a real challenge! First of all, we never had the pleasure to meet him and he’s no longer with us.  Second of all, when it comes to this imposing icon, it’s all been said already—culminating with the Paperweight Press publication of Magic in the Glass: The Paperweight Artistry of Charles Kaziun, Jr. by Ben Drabeck, a delightful colleague and a true pillar of this community who will be seriously missed.  So think of this relatively as the TMZ treatment (ask your kids).

Charlie (he liked to be called that) was an extremely talented and determined individual. This is the kind of guy you want with you in a submarine that’s sitting wedged in the Pacific Mariana Trench with the forward torpedo room flooding.  When he saw a technical challenge he seemed to come alive with determination. Here was a rebel artist. Alone in his quest, functioning almost as the TV character MacGyver, with improvised instruments – a Chase & Sanborn coffee can as a shop burner – and flying blind as he strove to reopen the vault doors to the secrets of the ancients (okay, we’re only talking about a century and a half – just go with it).  But just try and tell him something couldn’t be done and watch the sparks fly as he proved you wrong.  Seriously, the young artist’s insatiable imagination and energy allowed him to first re-engineer the content and quality of classic era paperweights before creating his own indelible mixture of designs and executions that today stand out for their beauty and are immediately identifiable.  (Try leaving your name lying around engraved in gold and see if people don’t remember you!)

But the real reason Charlie Kaziun has retained his stature as an artist and pioneer is the quality and dedication that marked his career of almost six decades—beginning in 1934 when he was a freshman in high school.  Over his career in glass and especially early on, Charlie created vases, ashtrays, pitchers, buttons, salt dishes, pens, candelabra, and more, in addition to paperweights. It would take several more pages to describe how he bribed, cajoled and caressed the glass into the beautiful works he created so just look at the pictures this time around!

Charlie gained momentum when he began closely observing the public demonstrations by the renowned Howell family of glassblowers who decided it was easier to hire the kid than to have him arrested for stalking and industrial espionage.  Later Charlie studied at and worked (making glass instruments) for the University of Pennsylvania (1942-1967 off and on) and thrived under the mentorship of James Graham, whom Charlie called the “best scientific glassblower of his time.”  At times Charlie stayed at the University until 1 am, working on his own designs and would flat out run from his second floor workshop with his molten punty load to the annealing oven in the school’s basement before it cooled too much. Dedication.

By the late 1940s-early 1950s, a network of dealers had placed Kaziuns alongside their antique French and American pieces in their shops and galleries.  In 1945 on a summer (working) sojourn to Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory—and guys being guys—Charlie wound up annoying his future wife, Louise, before he even met her.  Actually her mom rented Charlie her daughter’s bedroom while she was at her summer job, and the eighteen year old came home to find herself demoted to the nursery! She was Fuming! (Remember – in life, you only have one chance to make a first impression!) They married a quick nine years later.

There’s no way to cover in this space all of Charlie’s achievements over the decades and besides, we’d be sued for copyright infringement by Ben Drabeck’s heirs (kidding) but suffice it to say that Charles Kaziun mastered every known technique of glass making there was and his tireless efforts were rewarded with sales and recognition long before there was much of an organized paperweight community. His was a lonely path in many respects.  Those sales and the recognition also helped him with his live-in mother, Nana, who softened her criticism of her son’s artistic efforts (she wanted him always making scientific glass) as she witnessed collector after collector coming to the house and buying everything right off the kitchen table.

One day Charlie received the biggest compliment a paperweight maker could ever wish for.  In the 1940s he had been pretty much alone in the paperweight field, but by 1952-53, Baccarat and Saint Louis had both resumed the production of paperweights.  Charlie had once said: “With all due respect to the French, I don’t think they have the patent on brains and if they had succeeded in reviving an art form of this sort over there, possibly it could be done over here.”  In 1953, Charlie and Louise attended an antique show in New York City where Paul Jokelson was displaying Kaziun weights next to mostly antiques. Representatives from both Baccarat and Saint Louis were present and after examining Charlie’s efforts, they begged him on the spot to fly home with them to show the French where they were making all their mistakes! (YES, we’re talking about being PAID to come to PARIS!)  But our hero declined their offers and continued full speed with his own work and that’s lucky for all our personal collections. In his later decades, after so many years filled with experimentation, hard work, exhibitions, success, and recognition— various health issues began to physically impair Charlie, and he really focused his future efforts on training his son Charles in the art of glass. It must have been a proud day when he told his son that the younger Kaziun’s miniature Christmas ornaments far surpassed any that he had ever made.  It was only after Charlie’s passing in 1992, however that his son Charles began making paperweights.

There’s no better way to take our leave of this woefully inadequate description of a truly talented and groundbreaking artist whose work is in every serious collection, than to quote a fragment from the writings of Louise, who, seems at some point to have forgiven Charlie for her unseemly eviction from her own bedroom…

“When I hold one of his pieces and study it, what’s inside seems to glow with life.  That’s what is so fascinating to me about paperweights. The forms and the flowers in the glass are the closest thing to eternal life we can know.”

-Louise Kaziun


Debbie Tarsitano: Glass as a Labor of Love


Sometimes in our freeform Pop Mini-Bio series, we just let go of the reins and stand aside.  Here, Debbie Tarsitano leapt into producing her narrative for us, maybe because she read our expose on Damon MacNaught and rightfully knows we can’t be trusted… okay, partially kidding.  Debbie lives with her husband Martin in Westford Massachusetts. Two grown sons and Kathryn, her 96-year old mother, round out the immediate family. And while compulsively experimenting with glass and its relationships with other art forms and materials for many years, Debbie says she wants to make one thing perfectly clear, “I’m a paperweight lover!”  This from an artist who also says, “I can’t find anything that’s as hard to make as a paperweight.”  We guess that’s why it’s called a “Labor of Love.”


In my life I would like to be known as honest, straightforward and sensible.  In my artwork I would like to be the wild child, having as the Tao says, “the beginner’s mind,” – inventive, unafraid and bold.  The world is my canvas and having artwork that is considered relevant to the time we live in is important. I love paperweights. I started making them in the 1970s, after years of being an accomplished painter.  

Born in 1955, I was about 13 when my dad and I bought a small group of American paperweights (with a few Muranos) at a country auction.  We were intrigued by what we had and my father particularly wanted to find out how these might have been made. He was technically adept and endlessly curious—fascination grew into experimentation and our Tarsitano Studio was born.  Dad and I shared interests in gardening, collecting and now making art. My mom Kathryn was our biggest fan and invaluable bookkeeper. We made quite a team.

I was about 19.  I would soon graduate early from Hofstra University with degrees in fine art and journalism.  (I told the dean I was already immersed in my business and had to finish quickly. For some reason he listened!)  During this time we had also become active dealers in paperweights with my father and I developing relationships with Paul Jokelson and Larry Selman.  My father bought from Larry and Larry sold our work. (I still have the Selman poster from the mid-80s of my paperweights on a background of drawings I did of inspirational flowers.)

I represented our business buying weights at Sotheby’s auctions by 1975. Friendships came quickly with members of the paperweight community in the mid-1970s. I remember being asked to donate a weight I had made to the 1976 PCA Boston Convention auction and it was bought by a very well known collector!  Paul Jokelson made me come up on stage and I was overwhelmed as he introduced me to the crowd of about 400 people. Dad and I had been selling at flea markets where the venues ranged from rural high school cafeterias to Madison Square Garden, but this was my first serious public sale and recognition! (Oh, how I recall some of those outdoor winter markets where we had to take turns warming up in the public bathrooms!)  I think that Boston was also where I met Max Erlacher, the gifted glass engraver with whom I would later collaborate.

I originally fell in love with antique paperweights, the mystery of them and the fascinating era they were created in.  In time I grew away from antique works and pursued an interest in contemporary art, studying the works of Picasso, Warhol and others.  Their bold initiatives inspired me to reach beyond the classic paperweight form. In their worlds, shape, form, design, color, imagination and the manipulation of material—all seem endless.  It was so natural for me to join in with that spirit. I was a fish in that stream, constantly developing new work. I never left paperweights—but I demanded progress; I was a protestor, hoping doors would open and create greater challenges and possibilities for the art of encasement.  Paperweights became canvases to me, inside and out, without limitations to shape or embellishment. Their interiors could tell stories and their exteriors could reinforce the ideas and concepts.

I have been an instructor at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass since 2005.  I have studied and worked there with many of the great glass innovators: Jiri Harcuba and Martin Rosol for engraving and glass-cutting; Kimiake and Shinichi Higuchi for pâte de verre; Cappy Thompson for painting on glass and Denise Stillwaggon Leone for photo transfer to glass.  I also worked with Dino Rosin of Venice making a large-scale paperweight and other sculptures. I painted the base of one collaboration, “Lens Fantasia,” with the narrative of my life’s work.

In perspective, the work I created with my Father was a perfect jumping point to new horizons.  That time had been spent learning techniques and building a foundation for the future. We were Father, Daughter, friends, and collaborators—we taught each other but we also stayed clear of each other’s ideas and set no limits upon the art.  How perfect can that be?  Work in continuous development over long periods of an artist’s life builds a major portfolio.  Sadly, Dad passed in 1991 just as he claimed the right to explore so many new areas of art. I went on to realize our dreams alone, pushing my work beyond its traditional limits and busting out towards a new future for the art of paperweight as sculpture.

For many years I routinely worked 7 days a week, with periods where I rarely enjoyed time outside other than to check on mom, who lives close by.  The moment my husband and two boys were off to school and work, I would throw myself into the studio. My sons are now grown and my husband and I share the two-car garage—my studio and his office.  Martin is a well known Management Consultant and author who also taught for a decade at the University of Pennsylvania. He just happens to be Paul Stankard’s brother. At least he knew what to expect when he met me!

I use glass from Bullseye and I still have some Schott as well.  Years ago, when there was a “lock” on the Schott glass formula most favored for making paperweights, we worked with a chemist at Schott to produce “S5” and later “S8” (with Chris Buzzini) which worked extremely well and which we did not patent.  It was available to all. I recently took the plunge and had a custom HUB Consolidated kiln built for my studio to handle larger works.

Experimentation is not fun; talented people suffer and it is lonely.  But it is a necessity in creating new and profound works of original art.  I can’t describe the thrill of dropping molten glass on the most delicate of flame works, opening the kiln, seeing the perfection and mystery of glass in its completion as a work of art. But I can share with you that the result brings something better to this world.

Collectors give the art works temporary homes.  They are custodians of the art, safeguarding treasure until the next generation is ready to discover it.  Ultimately collectors and historians will make of my work what they each see in it. (I do have concepts and stories about my work, but those are personal, written for myself.)  It is left to the viewers of my art to discover my intentions and decide for themselves what of them to make their own.  My own mission in life is to continue creating art with the greatest, most honest intention possible and to leave something behind that is good.

It has been quite a life of artistic creation (experiment, sacrifice and occasional triumph), collaboration, sales, and exhibitions—not to mention a full family life.  What? You’re asking me what I do on vacation, now that I take some time off occasionally?

I go beachcombing for sea glass.

Debbie Tarsitano

You must avail yourselves of the splendid interview that Ben Drabeck conducted with Debbie; read “Transitions: A Journey in Glass,” published in the Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. 2014.  It’s invaluable. We thank Ben for this insightful contribution (among so much else) to the glass community; he will be sorely missed.

D A R T H   G R A E B E R  :  E P I S O D E  V

D A R T H   G R A E B E R  :  E P I S O D E  V 

“C R E A T I N G   W O R L D S   I N   F L A M E!”

Dave Graeber arrived in Chicago this cool April weekend and claimed to us that he was here to oversee the installation of the first (5!) permanent flame work stations at the non-profit Project Fire Studio. He is also giving the first demonstrations utilizing the new units, and making certain that certain safety guidelines and protocols are understood and followed. (Apparently fire gets really hot.) The issuing of several sets of specific equipment, including special glasses will also reinforce the lessons of careful use and responsible stewardship upon individual trainees.

Dave is aided in his task by a donation made on behalf of the Glass Paperweight Foundation. The donation provided funds for the necessary torches, tanks, glass, equipment, wood for the benches, and the special “PF” monogrammed after dinner mints.

But the true motive for his visit began to unravel, as Dave broke down and began to tell the whole sordid story.  Yes, he (as we’re writing) is at the PF Studio teaching the art of glass and guiding young lives but that is not really why he’s here.

Dave Graeber came dressed as a full-blown Starship Stormtrooper.  At least that’s how he wanted to appear in our gallery before making headlines at the massive Star Wars 20th Annual Convention at our lakefront McCormick Center!

But tragically he proved too big for his son’s outfit and he was forced to come in his other disguise, that of an ordinary Earthling.  That hasn’t stopped him, however, from making some strange new friends from other planets (see picture). How Dave has managed to also find time to create some of his own little worlds in glass is beyond us.  Maybe a little help from a “Dark Father” and his abuse of The Force? Hey! Suddenly we can’t breathe…Sorry, Darth, we were just kidding!!!

We can’t wait to see how he shows up in Dearborn for the PCA Convention!

Upcoming Travel Dates, Spring 2019


And we are looking forward to seeing you all! We will be bringing the finest in glass paperweight artworks with us as we (carefully) journey all across the country in 2019. And if you are considering consigning or selling a collection, we are also available to make special stops en route to view and pick up your artworks or we may also arrange a separate visit to come your way. Just give us a call!

Delaware Valley PCA: April 13th, 2019

PCA Dearborn/Flint: May 15th-18th, 2019

Northern California PCA: September 21st, 2019

L.H. Selman’s 71st Paperweight Auction, Winter 2019



L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Winter 2019, 71st Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 336 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial Bidding commences Monday, February 25th at 9:00 am CST. Initial bidding ends on Monday, March 11th 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, March 12th.

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 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.



We’ve consulted the eminent Chicago law firm, Dewey, Cheatem & Howe (Get it?) and they’ve assured us that we’re not the responsible types. And while we’re discussing these critical issues we want to take this opportunity to crush a couple of nasty rumors that have been flooding the Internet:

No. 1 – We never park the paperweight-mobile in a lot so that we straddle the lines and take two spots.  Nope, that’s not us.

No. 2 – It is a bald-faced lie, that we ourselves secretly only collect Bakelite and bottle caps.  

Now that that’s done – On to the Hunt! Let’s start at the beginning, shall we…!

Gazing at the Sorcerer’s Dessert!

We just learned a new word last night just in time (on television no less) and it’s called for here. ‘Ensorcell’ is the word.  (Why it took so long to learn a word that came into being in the mid-16th century is embarrassing…)  But we are definitely ensorcelled, or enchanted by this work, filled with a magical cloud of tiny stars, whose shifting densities giving the appearance of quiet movement, gentle undulation.  The softly colored and exquisitely positioned trefoils resemble a line of delicate frosting on a cream topping off a decadent French dessert displayed on the Sun King’s table in Versailles. This work should be edible – it was certainly baked well enough!  Call for details of the recipe!

LOT 1. Extremely Rare Antique Baccarat Interlaced Millefiori Trefoil Garlands on Stardust Ground Paperweight

This Will Look Great Parked Next to Your Vintage Sports Car!

We move now from the quietest pastels to a riot of vibrant reddish orange canes absolutely carousing (there’s no other word for it!) around more than a dozen brightly attired and proudly posturing Gridel portraits.  There’s also a very interesting cane with an elegant white bird wearing the world’s tiniest shamrocks for footwear. No Blarney! Ask for a close-up! You may think you already have an antique Baccarat with Gridel silhouettes and a perfect red, white and blue “1848” in the waistband, but this weight could take pride of place in the category.  Even the canes below the sightline are perfectly poised with one another. This is an exciting weight. It’s a crime that the 19th century glass master didn’t get to sign this one!

LOT 2. Antique Baccarat 1848 Scattered Millefiori and Gridel Silhouettes
on Red Carpet Ground Paperweight.

Before the Palme d’Or at Cannes or the Souvenir Henri Desgrange at the Tour de France There Was …

… THE GOLD MEDAL at the Exposition Universelle, Paris!  That is what was awarded Pantin in 1878 for its magnificent glass on display. Glass creations such as this pink dahlia just may have had something to do with that.  Each petal of this gorgeous dahlia seems filled with a little breath of air and has an abundantly lifelike quality. The dark green stem and variegated leaves (and nascent bud) are also very natural in their hues. This also has an extra heavy lead crystal and a generous dome.  Don’t think you can wait for this impressive tour de force (French, get it?) to ever come around again.  Try for it in earnest now or be content with cutting out the picture you see here.

LOT 3. Extremely Rare Antique Pantin Pink Dahlia Paperweight.

A Cabbage for Car Buffs!

This very rare Baccarat is a compact classic.  Fully loaded with a gleaming finish and custom (star-cut) detailing.  No, not a ’57 Thunderbird…better- maybe a ’57 Baccarat.  Under 10% of antique Baccarat roses sport this kind of ruffle trim and red linen interior.  And this beauty has the original “4 on the floor” shift stem system with 4 vibrantly lush leaf groupings.  As the Beach Boys used to sing – you want the pink slip on this baby!  (Okay – that’s just the receipt of ownership).  One other thing – this has an incredible sunroof; serious light magnification.  Just get used to catching everyone’s eyes when you’re seen with this one! Cool sunglasses required.

LOT 4. Very Rare Antique Baccarat Cabbage Rose Paperweight.

♪♪…Nobody Does it Better…♫♫

Even the English, with their sometime incomprehensible reserve, would have to admit that this  “Is a bit of all right!”  Stateside we have to say that this is simply one of the most visually pleasing weights the glass masters at Baachus have ever produced.  Gentle as a fresh pillow, the weight contains a wonderful variety of canes both large and small that jostle comfortably in a pastel sea dotted with deeper color accents.  The interplay serves to both define a satisfying pattern as well as to create a dynamic visual, and all in a very subtle framework. The center complex cane, dominated by pinks is a gossamer wonder with its outer circle of canes partially translucent and looking as if they might just float away.  And a tip of the English hat to Her Majesty comes in the form of the allusive hollow oak leaves. Even James Bond, when confronted about a romance with a beautiful foreign spy, snapped back, “What I did, I did for Queen and Country!” Loyalty! Nobody does it like the English.

LOT 6. Very Rare Antique Baachus Close Packed Millefiori Paperweight.

Just Recovered From a Major Museum Robbery!

This large gem, fresh from a daring 1995 New Year’s heist at the New York Historical Society is here offered …Excuse me – what?  It was de-accessioned legally and sold at Sotheby’s that year?  Okay…well, at least that makes an interstate sale a bit easier for our bookkeeping.  So anyway, this beautifully disciplined concentric millefiori with a range of lively and sophisticated colors, and dominated by various lush shades of green is quite extraordinary.  The contrasts are a delight to eye. If you need a weight to go with your tux and top hat you might consider this on your favorite table at the Stork Club. And it has a white spaced stave basket below embracing transparent blue within as a finishing touch. The perfect table setting. 13 crisp Clichy roses at no extra charge!

LOT 12. Antique Clichy Concentric Millefiori in a Stave Basket Paperweight.

Sometimes, Beauty Really Is Everything!

We heard of a rumor going around that we’re pre-disposed to say nice things about paperweights.  Fact is, it’s easy to do when you’re staring at the quality and variety we’ve assembled for this time at bat!  Lot 14 is an exceptionally well thought-out work with the sizes of the canes increasing very, very gradually as they radiate from the center.  While technically a close pack, this comes close to also being a concentric in its formation. The careful suffusion of different reds, greens, blues and whites achieves a harmony, a balance that bespeaks very careful consideration taken in the aggregation of canes in the initial design.  (What, you didn’t think we could also talk seriously?!)  A stave basket of white and blue separated by thin soft dark spaces provides an almost contemporary flair to the finish.

LOT 14. Antique Clichy Close Packed Millefiori, Roses and Signature Cane Paperweight.

No Jokes for This One.

A classically well done antique with a rare assemblage of elements on a handsome blue jasper ground. Very heavy crystal.  (Did you see where it said “possibly unique,” below?) A commanding, almost noble artwork. A fine addition to your family coat of arms!

LOT 18. Extremely Rare, Possibly Unique, Antique Saint Louis Clematis Bouquet
on Jasper Ground Paperweight.

This Could Replace the MGM Studio Lion.

Honestly, (okay so we’re wildly exaggerating).  But remember the massive lion’s roaring cameo that began every MGM major motion picture?  That’s the initial impact this delicately detailed but very impactful and beautiful salmon-colored Baccarat pompon had on us due in large part to the incredible dramatic play of light provided by the generous, even sumptuous melon cut base. The deep and curved grooves in the crystal provide a remarkable contrast of light lines radiating outward from this classic motif. This could make a fine replacement – how do we know they took good care of the lion anyway, he never sounded too happy?  And while we’re on subject of nature what’s with the salmon; how did one fish inspire the color palettes of so many glass artists?

LOT 20. Antique Baccarat Pink Pompon and Millefiori Garland Faceted Paperweight.

If You Knew How Many Forest Floors We Hunted Through to Find This Magnificent Specimen!

For about the same price as a couple of Champignon (mushroom) appetizers (which you pay for after they’re already gone!) at Manhattan’s Per Se French Restaurant on Columbus Circle, you can instead have this magnificent specimen to enjoy.  And then enjoy it again tomorrow, and tomorrow! You get the pitch! This lot presents a brilliant example of the art form, an absolutely gorgeous and delicately hued mushroom heralded by a spirited pink torsade, host to a twisting white ribbon dancing through it, and a mercury ring (mercury not included) all showcasing the finest in French art du verre.  (Yeah, we’re using Google.) Elegantly signed by the chef on the stem of this champignon au naturel. There’s a lot more to say but we don’t know the language (and Penelope’s off in a meeting)… except “au revoir pour le moment!

LOT 22. Antique Saint Louis 1848 Close Concentric Millefiori Mushroom and Torsade Paperweight.

Seriously, Who Knew Early Americans Were This Happy?

This delicate effusion of happy and lush pastel canes stacked like a weightless dessert is an unusually joyous piece of American art glass.  The paperweight has a generous top facet and six egg-shaped, gently scalloped facets that sensually accentuate the height of the work and effectively magnify the delightful ruffled and lacy canes to where they expand upward to fill the space.  White and baby blue cog canes form a low stave basket and jettison from the center of the base in a wonderful design that looks like a dramatic explosion frozen.

LOT 66. Antique Gillinder Close Concentric Millefiori Faceted paperweight.

More Than Just Another Pretty Odd-Looking Face!

This is seriously depressing to write.  Really, this man accomplished more in his sleep than the rest of us here have while awake!  With a young adulthood that included being beaten regularly by his brother while assisting said brother with his printing press, then fleeing Boston penniless and later being cheated out of several months wages by the governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin of course then went on to help birth the country while discovering (in his spare time), electricity and also inventing the forerunners of half the things you use and depend on today.  That’s frankly (yes, intentional pun) too impressive to comprehend and likely the reason we don’t celebrate this genius the way we should. The comparison hurts too much. Obviously the man needs a Broadway Musical. But in the meantime you can redeem yourself by acquiring this very finely rendered likeness of the man whom many scholars think of as one of the two greatest Americans. (No, the other is not Tom Brady.) Yes, it was made in France but after all, we modeled our own revolution after theirs.  And not long after we won independence the French sold us the rest of our future country for a song. It’s just too bad they didn’t own it. And “odd looking” – well some sources claim that it was Ben’s first wife’s first reaction upon seeing him. Thankfully he wasn’t perfect. The weight is, though.

LOT 68. Antique French, Probably Clichy, Benjamin Franklin Sulphide Paperweight.

The Breath of Life Itself…Held Forever!

This looks natural and effortless, a look all artists aspire to accomplish. Feel the elements, flowing around in the glass almost casually – it breathes; nothing is forced or too stylized; we’re especially taken with the graceful line work on both the leaves and the blueberries.  The bee is stunning of course, and here also the single human figure (or spirit person if you meditate) integrated quietly and effectively.  Pleasing and harmonious colors.  The magnification in this dome is unusually strong and illusionistic. Playfully lyrical and perfectly executed.

LOT 79. Paul Stankard 2008 Cornflower Lilac and Blueberry Bouquet with Spirit Person and Honeybee Paperweight.

No Need for Panic!

Well, weren’t we pleased to discover that an Agoseris is such a strikingly beautiful multi-tiered flower, and not something dragging its armored tail around in Jurassic Park!  The nascent flower as well as the one in full bloom displays a gossamer delicacy that needs to be seen to be appreciated. With this graceful offering this artist proves again how less can be more.  In art works the spaces between are also part of a successful, intentional design, just as the spaces between the words you speak carry their own import. Positive needs Negative to be whole and Chris Buzzini imbues most of his fine work with this simple but profound message.

LOT 100. Chris Buzzini 1990 “Orange Agoseris” Paperweight

Okay, Forget Everything We Just Told You!

From the sublimely spare to the strikingly sumptuous; in just two lots!  Yes, there is also much to be said for the feeling that this carefully designed celebration (a tired word, we’ll only use it once) of a garden in renaissance brings to your sensibilities.  The sensuous curling and folds of the petals combined with a soft spring palette bespeak a limitless fecundity. The six green leaves hosting the design are so deeply rich in hue as to make one think they’ve been recently watered.  Here is your garden in a glass. “Enchantment” is a perfect name for this, since “ensorcelled” was claimed by lot 1. And there has been no more dedicated an artist that Rick Ayotte, who spent so much time studying nature firsthand, that the family filed a missing persons report each morning to get him home for supper.  

LOT 103. Rick Ayotte 2005 “Enchantment” Carnation and Lily Bouquet Paperweight

Think of It As a Visual Vitamin for the Soul.

Not only do good things come in small packages—some of the best things do also.  Such is the case at hand. This modest at a glance little offering, half-hidden in our display, nonetheless catches our eyes every time we walk past. A compact ode to life that punches above its weight, as they say.  Meticulous variegation in the lifelike leaves embracing incredibly subtle gradations on the berries. This is so well and lovingly done we should be allowed to sell each berry separately, but management says no, if you win the lot, you get the entire cluster!

LOT 119. Melissa Ayotte 2002 Red Berries and Flower Bouquet Miniature Paperweight

“Who can turn the world on with her smile…?”

10 points if you caught that.  That’s right. If you peer closely into this joyful tale of a young woman coming into her own as she’s coming into the big city, you can almost imagine the hint of a smile on her face while she strides triumphantly through her new home.  You can see the auction catalogue for an explanation of the biblical labor that brought this uplifting little biographical profile into being. We’ll say here though, that the trees in spring flush and the light-catching crystal ground rising to meet her all serve well to create a sense of fine storytelling supported additionally by the stylish painting of the happy-to-see-her city.  She’s got this hands down. After you scan left on the lot 120 to see the extra photos, feel free to ask for even more details; this work offers a multitude of different visuals. And with this work of glass art (7 layers) behind you, “You might just make it after all…!”

LOT 120. Alison Ruzsa 2001 “Big City Girl” Buildings and Trees Compound Sand-blasted Super Magnum Paperweight

Overwhelmed Yet By All This Happiness?

Clearly spring is coming.  This bulbous beauty is another weight that needs to be seen in order to be seen.  We mean the leaves on the pansies alone are worth the price of admission. And as nice as our catalogues can be, we can’t always control the look of the final printing. So if you fancy this, please check the online catalogue or call us for extra images that feature the almost iridescent velvet glow of the pansies.  Gorgeous. Here Bob has created a design that is stately in its balance and formalism but one that also delights with playful swirls encircling unopened buds and petals on other stems that look to be open almost in laughter! The clear strawberry cut ground brings a sense of movement to perfectly complement the arrangement. This is a mature and confident work.

LOT 133. Bob Banford Pansy and Pink Flower Bouquet Magnum Paperweight.

Too Amazingly Unusual Not to Mention!

Here is another design that begs for multiple images.  This twisting, turning, flowering, frightening, incantatory glass artwork that would be at home in the wizard’s chamber in Game of Thrones is somehow also playful.  In certain angles with its head bowed and its paws/talons perched like a puppy’s it looks to be waiting for you to throw the ball, or a skull? So there’s something for everyone here, created by a masterful hand. The balance, the harmony between the elements is perfect.  Where else will you ever find the most beautifully wrought bell Flowers flowing into the abdomen of a magnificent miniature dragon?

LOT 145. Jim D’Onofrio 1994 “Dragonroot” Purple Flower Paperweight

A Classy Piece by a Classic Artist

Ysart’s lively crown cushion also grabbed our attention with its airy flowing ease of motion and direction, as it features a lovely arrangement of delicate flowers with what looks like brushwork from a tiny oil painting palette. There is a lot of motion for the eye to follow, from brushy flowers and delineated stems into the radiating rivers of latticinio.  Hey, that’s why it caught our eye; we thought we saw it move!

LOT 175. Paul Ysart Pink Clematis in a Stave Basket Paperweight

“We’re Off to See The Wonderful Lizard of OZ!”

Okay, so Kansas isn’t in the UK!  This is still a splendid work by Scotland’s own Michael Hunter.  We won’t claim this as a piece for the men, but the subject matter, a lizard confidently sitting astride the world in his victorious grasp together with the semi precious silver and gold treasure (captured from the enemy?) enveloping a royal marine blue (or cobalt?) core safely in his clutches resembles more than a few graduation portraits we’ve seen from some of the military academies and business colleges!  A perfect graduation gift!

LOT 185. Twists Glass Studio 2010”Lizard” Blue Paperweight

Simply too Wonderful Not to Bring to Your Attention!

We happy to have 18 lovely contemporary Saint Louis weights this time around but since we can’t show them all, this stunning piece won the coin toss.  As beautiful as the discipline of mathematics itself, with the most reassuring blue that was ever to infuse a paperweight, this work, just sitting there is the very embodiment of contentment.  Let the oceans rise. Let Netflix fail. None of it matters if you have this paperweight at home.

LOT 213. Saint Louis 1981 “Tapis de Millefiori Bleus et Rouges” Close Concentric Millefiori Paperweight

WOW – We lost track of Your Time!!

Okay, you may go home now but we hope you’re excited about just a few of the highlights awaiting your investigation as Auction catalogue 71 begins to wing its way to you.  You can also view the auction on our LH Selman site.

As Johnny Carson used to say, “We’re sorry we ran long and couldn’t have Zambor the Magician on tonight, we’ll reschedule…”  In our case we’re sorry we didn’t get to pay homage to our Trabuccos, Tarsitanos, Kaziuns, Whitefriars, Lundbergs, Perthshires and a host of other talented performers starring in our upcoming extravaganza, L.H. Selman Auction #71!

Thank you, Goodbye for Now and Drive safely!   

Project FIRE Benefit Auction

Where to begin?  We are over the moon with the results of the Glass for Life / Project FIRE Auction, which finds the auctioned artworks en route to new homes as far flung as Japan and England.  Over $3700 was raised to support one of the most deserving causes we’ve come across, a cause that has allowed you to combine your love of glass art with a giving heart.  In addition to the auction itself, additional monies were sent in simply as checks made out to the effort.  We also thank the under-bidders in this auction as well those who purchased works directly from the young artists at the studio during our visit this past September’s “Celebrate the Paperweight!”

 Pearl Dick, the glass artist heading Project Fire wrote this in thanks to share with you, “There are no greater gifts you can give a young person who is overcoming adversity in his or her life than self-worth and opportunity.  Your generous support promotes healing through art and the possibility of a limitless future.  I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing and inspiring community.  Please come see us in action in our studio.”  

 And to cap things off (for now) there is also a sizable donation to Project Fire in the works by an anonymous donor on behalf of the Glass Paperweight Foundation to support a special project helmed by glass artist David Graeber. With this donation Dave will construct a much-needed, permanent flame-working station in their studio, and he will teach the first class using the new equipment this upcoming April!  Stay tuned for more details. And thank you again as you make art make a difference!

Lot 1: Damon MacNaught and Project Fire collaborative close concentric millefiori base with stave tazza. Signed/dated “Damon MacNaught 2018 Chicago”. Diameter 2 7/8", height 4 15/16". Donated by Damon MacNaught.

Lot 1: Damon MacNaught, Andrew Najarian and Project Fire collaborative close concentric millefiori base with stave tazza. Signed/dated “Damon MacNaught 2018 Chicago”. Diameter 2 7/8″, height 4 15/16″. Donated by Damon MacNaught and Andrew Najarian. Created at the Project FIRE Studio during Celebrate the Paperweight 2018.

Lot 2: Project Fire, red, black and white abstract paperweight, by Joseph Smith. Signature stamp.Diameter 3 1/4″. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 3: Andrew Byers 2001 braided bouquet with berries paperweight. Signed/dated. Diameter 3 1/4″. Donated by Gena Whitten.

Lot 4: Project Fire collaborative angel wings stamp on clear dome paperweight. Signature stamp. Diameter 4 1/2″. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 5: Project Fire dark purple swirl with air bubble paperweight, by Erick Bedolla. Signature stamp. Diameter 4”. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 6: Mayauel Ward and David Graeber collaborative hummingbird silhouette with poppies and blue sky vase. Height 10”. Donated by Mayauel Ward and David Graeber. Created at the Project FIRE Studio during Celebrate the Paperweight 2018.

Lot 7: Project Fire mottled red figurine with white hand over heart paperweight, by Deshon Hannah. Height 4”. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 8: Project Fire multi-colored mottled swirl paperweight, by Erick Bedolla. Signature stamp. Diameter 3 3/4″. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 9: Baccarat 1969 “Church Weight” zodiac millefiori paperweight. Acid-etched Baccarat insignia on the underside. Date cane. Extremely fine condition. Diameter 3 1/4″. Donated by L.H. Selman.

Lot 10: Project Fire pink and orange mottled rising layer with inner pink swirl paperweight, by Raymond Gordon. Signature stamp. Height 4 1/2″. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 11: Project Fire speckled and crackled white and gray surface design paperweight, by Latee Smith. Signature stamp. Height 3 1/4”. Donated by Project FIRE.

Lot 12: Lundberg Studios 1990 two water lilies compound paperweight, by Steven Lundberg. Signature/date cane. Signed/dated. Diameter 3 3/16″. Donated by L.H. Selman.

Sharing a few Eye-Catchers from Our 70th Outing

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!