Alschuler Antique Paperweight Collection Expected to Set Records

. October 3, 2008

L. H. Selman Ltd., premier antique paperweight dealer, is gearing up for its forty-second semi-annual paperweight auction. “Due to the overwhelming response to the Alschuler Auction Part I, we anticipate another exceptional sale this fall,” says Larry Selman. The second half of the Sam and Winifred Alschuler collection includes many of the most important paperweights to appear at auction, with individual lots valued up to $30,000.

• L. H. Selman Ltd. Fall 2008 Paperweight Auction
• Rare and important antique and contemporary paperweights and related objects
• Bids taken over the internet, email, fax, and telephone
• Last day to place initial bids: October 24, 2008
• Information at www.pwAuction.com or 1.800.538.0766 or 831.427.1177
• Full-color catalogue available
• Full-color photos available

Comments on important pieces:

The sale includes an extremely rare and important pair of nineteenth-century Clichy vases, representing the only examples of a pair known to be in a private collection. One vase is identified with a pink, white and purple “C” signature cane, while its companion bears a dark purple and white “C” signature cane, as well as a rarely seen turquoise, white, pink and blue “CLICHY” cane. According to noted paperweight authority George Kulles, these vases were among the Alschuler’s favorite objects and were prominently displayed in their sitting room. (Two other similar examples are part of the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY and the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, WI.) Estimated at $22,000 to $30,000.

One of the highlights of the auction will be an extremely rare antique Saint Louis magnum faceted upright bouquet paperweight. This unusually large, expertly crafted weight is one of the few magnums produced by the Saint Louis factory in the mid-nineteenth century. This weight was exhibited at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Rare Paperweights from a Private Collection, in 1982. Diameter 4 1/4″. Estimated at $15,000 to $25,000.

Also included in the sale is a rare antique Clichy three-flower bouquet paperweight. Clichy was renowned for its inventive flower portrayals, no two of which are exactly alike. A fantasy flower crowns the arrangement, with petals created from flattened complex canes–a rare and beautiful addition to this design. The bouquet’s green stems are tied with a rarely seen white ribbon. Exhibited: Neenah, Wisconsin, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Rare Paperweights from a Private Collection, 1982. Diameter 2 15/16″. Estimated at $13,000 to $17,000.

In addition, the auction will feature a rarely seen antique Saint Louis paneled close packed millefiori paperweight. In quality, color and design, this weight exemplifies the mastery of glass making for which the Saint Louis factory was renowned. The design of this weight is reminiscent of the formal gardens surrounding the grand French châteaux. Exhibited: Neenah, Wisconsin, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Rare Paperweights from a Private Collection, 1982. Diameter 3″. Estimated at $20,000 to $26,000.

The Collectors
What began with the chance purchase of a paperweight (a portrait of Thomas Jefferson), led to one of the most important paperweight collections of the twentieth century—the collection of Sam and Winifred Alschuler. Sam and Winifred began collecting in the early 1960s, with particular interest in French antique paperweights. They were discriminating collectors, buying from the four most prominent dealers: L. H. Selman Ltd., Leo Kaplan Ltd., Pat McCauley and Alan Tillman, as well as from Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses.

The Alschulers enjoyed sharing their collection. They kept their most precious antiques (their “beauties”) in a large black and gold cabinet, which they graciously opened for the many organizations, collectors, and visitors who came from around the world to see them. In their forty years of collecting they amassed one of the finest antique paperweight collections in the Midwest that remained in private hands.

“I have known the Alschulers since the 1970s, and attended many of the auctions where their paperweights were bought. I am thrilled that the family has chosen L. H. Selman Ltd. to find new homes for the paperweights in this prestigious collection.”—Lawrence Selman

Featured Artists
The auction will also highlight the work of a number of modern paperweight makers, including Chris Buzzini, Victor Trabucco, Randall Grubb, Perthshire Paperweights, Paul Stankard, Rick Ayotte, Delmo Tarsitano, Debbie Tarsitano, Gordon Smith, Paul Ysart, Parabelle Glass, Charles Kaziun, Jim Donofrio, Ken Rosenfeld, Melissa Ayotte, Steven Lundberg, Lundberg Studios, Whitefriars, and Orient & Flume.

About L. H. Selman Ltd.
L. H. Selman Ltd., The Glass Gallery, based in Santa Cruz, California, offers the most extensive stock of antique and contemporary paperweights in the world, as well as representing new and established glass artists who are working in other contemporary glass art formats. The founder and owner, Lawrence Selman, with over thirty-five years experience, is considered a leading expert in the field of fine glass paperweights. The company holds two major paperweight auctions yearly, which have consistently drawn bidders from all over the world.

Selman says, “Our goal is to promote the most challenging of all glass art forms, by exhibiting the finest examples made in centuries past, and by nurturing new talent emerging from contemporary independent studios.

Our sterling reputation has been forged from years of long-term associations with customers who have built discriminating and sophisticated collections. But we also pride ourselves in assisting new or casual collectors, at any level of knowledge or interest.”

L. H. Selman Ltd. maintains an expansive gallery in Santa Cruz, California, with the largest inventory of antique and contemporary paperweights anywhere. At their online gallery at http://www.TheGlassGallery.com collectors may browse their inventory, read glass artists’ profiles, order works of art, or bid on fine art glass through their online auctions.

Bi-annual traditional auctions, with full-color printed catalogues as well as on-line bidding opportunity, offer collectors the chance to acquire some of the very best in antique, contemporary, and secondary-market pieces.

Color brochures present the new work of accomplished masters as well as emerging artists. Their publishing company, Paperweight Press, offers a full spectrum of literature for the new or seasoned collector.

“Our professional staff has spent years acquiring expertise in the art form,” says Selman. “They are dedicated to a level of quality service and attention to detail that is rarely experienced these days. Our motto is only the best from L. H. Selman Ltd.”

“Since that humble beginning with a kitchen table operation, Selman has expanded considerably and now maintains a Santa Cruz gallery while continuing a sizeable mail order business. Selman also conducts on-line auctions and biannual traditional “off-line” auctions, advises museums and individuals on their collections, travels extensively to collect both antique and contemporary paperweights, promotes paperweight artists, encourages and helps new artists get started, and assembles traveling paperweight exhibits.” —Kathy Moyer from Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. 2001 Millennium Edition

A Brief History of the Paperweight
What some consider to be a simple desk accessory has been locked in royal treasure vaults and collected by some of the world’s most famous personalities. Glass paperweights have been valued and collected since they were first created in the 1840s. From 1845 to 1860 the great glasshouses of France—Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint Louis—created exquisite pieces containing glass flowers, birds, salamanders, butterflies, and geometric designs comprised of millefiori canes. The term millefiori, which means “a thousand flowers” in Italian, refers to cross-sectional slices of a glass rod which has been formed in a mold, much like the making of hard candy. The French factories established a tradition of excellence, and today the most advanced glass masters display their complex work in the form of paperweights.

Glass paperweights can be found in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Art Institute of Chicago. These pieces of complex glass have sold for as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. Always a luxury item, and never really intended to hold down paper, glass paperweights have been collected since Victorian times, when they enjoyed a wide popularity by the aristocracy in Europe. However, in time, they fell out of vogue, and by the 1950s, paperweight production had declined until it was virtually nonexistent. The advanced skills used to make the pieces had been forgotten, rendering the paperweight, literally, a “lost art.” At the prodding of Paul Jokelson, a French collector and art dealer, the French factories of Baccarat and Saint Louis attempted to rediscover the old weight-making skills, lost for almost a hundred years.

Though glass workers are still unable to create some of the illusions found in antique paperweights, their experimentation sparked a modern renaissance in glass art. Today, a new generation of artists continues to carry on the classic tradition while utilizing modern technology to give their work a contemporary vitality. In many areas, these new artists have surpassed their forbears. Paperweights have appreciated in value exponentially over the past fifty years, and they continue to rise in value. Paul Jokelson’s Bird in the Nest, a paperweight he bought for $12 in 1925, sold for a world-record price of $182,600 at an L. H. Selman Ltd. auction in 1990. The Silkworms, another of Jokelson’s antique paperweights from the French Pantin factory, had sold for $143,000 a few years earlier.

Category: Antiques News

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