Cash in the attic: Paperweights

Paperweights were developed in Italy in around 1843 but it was the French who were responsible for the paperweight ‘golden age’ in the mid-19th Century.

In and out of fashion

High-quality weights were produced by French factories Baccarat, Clichy and St Louis until the early 1850s when they fell out of fashion.

Soon afterwards many French paperweight artists moved to the The USA, which, along with Scotland became a new hub for paperweight making when they began to return to fashion from the mid-20th century onwards.

Notable makers

Names such as Charles Kaziun Jr, Emil Larson and Paul Stankard are important USA makers. Paul Ysart, William Manson and Peter Holmes are important Scottish makers at notable firms including Monart and Caithness. Collectable English paperweight makers include Wedgewood and Isle of Wight Studio Glass.

Collectable English paperweight makers include Wedgewood and Isle of Wight Studio Glass

More recently, artists such as Victor Trabucco have developed a style of weight based on tiny, three dimensional vignettes including this 1994 Rose Bouquet pictured, valued at £450-£550. Trabucco began working in glass in 1974 and today his work can be found in many collections including the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Other notable artists using this hyper-realistic work technic include Steven Lundberg and Rick Ayotte.

Complexity enhances value

Generally, the more complex a paperweight is, the more it will be worth. Well-structured patterns take skilled glass workers a long time to make and are highly valued. Limited editions, particularly those with cross-market interest, such as Whitefriars’ Royal Jubilee designs, are highly desirable.

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