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It is very hard to decide just where to start with my paperweight collection.  From my last post you can see that there is a plethora of subject matter about collecting paperweights. There are as many paperweight makers as there are paperweights it seems but not all maker’s are created equal.  One of my personal favorites is William Manson Sr.

William Manson’s career in glass began in 1966 when he joined the Caithness Glass Co. in England, as an apprentice glass blower.  He trained under the watchful eye of a master glass blower, Paul Ysart.  William was introduced to the art of making glass paperweights. He left the company in 1970 with Ysart and began a journey of intensive training from Ysart for four more years before returning to Caithness in 1974 as the director of their Limited Editions department using many of his own designs and expertise. 

William has a unique style all his own. His pieces include lampwork flowers surrounded by garlands of millefiori canes as well as nature weights such as salamanders, fish and swans. 

Usually made in Limited Edition sizes of 150 his weights are signed with a WM cane and sometimes dated.  Occasionally you can find pieces personally signed by William.  The number of the weight in the LE is usually written on the bottom of the weight.  What I like most about his PWs is the glass encasement.  The glass is heavy and very clear.  Always well polished and faceted.

My first William Manson Sr. Paperweight:

    

“Pansy Paperweight” made in 2000 and hand signed by William Manson Sr.

Often paperweights have a story behind them and this next weight has a nice story. An excerpt from the dealer I purchased it from:

Willliam Manson, Sr. Limited Edition of 20, Museum piece. Silkworms on Mulberry leaves. A tribute to the silkworm weight made in the Pantin factory in France in the late 1800s. It is one of the most interesting and historically significant paperweights in the world, and there is only one. It sold at auction in 1953 to King Farouk of Egypt, but because he was forced to abdicate his throne that very day, he was unable to pay the dealer. It subsequently sold to Paul Jokelson, and later at auction in 1983 it sold for $143,000. The muslin ground evokes images of fine silk. Since I knew I would not be able to afford the original, I asked Willie Manson to make for me an exclusive limited edition of Silkworms eating Mulberry Leaves as a tribute to this great paperweight. I think Willie did a great job – of course, he did – he is a true master. 2 ¾ inch diameter; 1 7/8 inches tall; 13 ounces. Condition: Pristine/New/Perfect. “WM” cane. “William Manson Snr 2009 4/20” 

 

         

A beautiful Manson Sr. weight “Silk Worms” 2009, Limited Edition, 4 of 20.

 

This next PW is an older edition and has excellent color combination.  Another plus of Manson weights is his use of color.

         

Manson Sr.  “Clematis” PW.   WM  and date cane “1980”.  Limited edition of 150. This one is #34.

 

I consider this next weight to be a very special Manson paperweight, made in 2010 it is an edition of 1.  Meaning it is the only one made. There are no others like this one.

         

“Three Roses with buds and Blue Dragonfly” an exceptional PW by William, signed on base, edition 1/1 as well as the WM signature cane.  You can expect to pay in the four digits for a one of a kind Manson Sr. weight such as this one. If you inspect the wings of the dragonfly closely you will see they are lattacino.

 

I will continue to purchase William Manson Sr. paperweights to add to my collection.  His work reminds me of the old French lampwork weights that sell for 1000’s of dollars a piece.  You would be hard pressed to find another English Master glassmaker who’s work is as well done.

                   

    

Some recent additions to my William Manson Sr. paperweight collection.  All are hand signed and marked with the WM signature cain. You can see more of my collection at my eBay store “Kelekchens”

Check out all of my paperweights that I now have for sale at my eBay store “Kelekchens”.  Place your cursor on my assistant “the duck” and enter.  Go to Paperweight Kelekchen or you can contact me through this blog under comments.  Thanks for reading my blog.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”

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 Why do people Collect?

 You may as well ask why do people fall in love?  The reasons are irrational, the motives are mixed and the original impulse is often discolored or betrayed.  I started collecting paperweights when I was in my 20s.  But like most of my collectibles I didn’t really focus on building a collection….it just happened.  When asked, as we often are, what do you want for your birthday, Christmas etc. I would tell friends and family, well I do collect paperweights.  I suppose that is why I have such an eclectic mix of glass paperweights.

Over the last five months I have covered a fairly large range of subjects about collecting, collectors and the many collectibles that I have, in this blog.  How to research collectibles and the joy of discovering the story behind your collectible.  The stories about the makers and collectors of paperweights are rich and sometimes mysterious.  That makes for an interesting and exciting hobby to collect these art objects.

Over the next few weeks or months, (however long it takes me) I will try to tell you about paperweights, who makes them, who collects them and why.  It should be fun so follow along and check back often as I buy, sell, trade and build my collection.

Essence of paperweights

Decorative glass paperweights fit easily into the hand and are actually meant to be handled and viewed from various directions through the dome, which acts like a lens to make the design change in its appearance with its movements in an attractive way. A magnifying glass is often used to gain appreciation of the fine detail of the work within.

They have a flat or slightly concave base on which they stably rest, and a domed top, which may be faceted or cut. The glass is usually lead glass. The dome may be coated with one or more thin layers of colored glass, and have windows cut through it to reveal the interior motif. The exact shape or profile of the dome varies somewhat from one artist or factory to another, but in fine examples will be tuned to the subject within to show it off to best advantage. The base may be frosted, but is more often polished. They may also be cut in one of several variations. Star-cut bases have a multi-pointed star, while a diamond cut base has grooves cut in a criss-cross pattern. A footed weight has a flange in the base.

The ground on which the inner parts rest may be clear or colored, made of unfused sand, or resemble lace (latticinio).

Paperweights are made by sole artisans, and in factories where many artists and technicians collaborate. Both may produce inexpensive as well as “collector” weights. Workmanship, design, rarity, and condition determine the value of a paperweight. They range in price from a few dollars, to a record $258,500 once paid for an antique French weight. Antique weights, of which perhaps 10,000 or so survive (mostly in museums), generally appreciate steadily in value.

Visible flaws, such as bubbles, striations and scratches affect the value. Glass should not have a yellow or greenish cast, and there should be no unintentional asymmetries, or unevenly spaced or broken elements. Generally, larger weights are more costly and desirable. In a modern piece, an identifying mark and date are imperative.

History of the paperweight

Antique paperweights were made in the “classic” years between 1845 and 1860 primarily in three French factories named Baccarat, St. Louis, and Clichy. They made between fifteen and twenty five thousand weights in the classic period. Pantin, also a French glass company is known to a lessor degree but should be added as a great paperweight company of the period.  Weights (mainly of lesser quality) were also made in the United States, Great Britain, and elsewhere, though Bacchus (UK) and New England Glass Company (USA) produced some that equaled the best of the French. Modern weights have been made from about 1950 to the present.

In the U.S., Charles Kaziun started in 1940 to produce buttons, paperweights, inkwells and other bottles, using lamp-work of elegant simplicity. In Scotland, the pioneering work of Paul Ysart from the 1930s onward preceded a new generation of artists such as William Manson, Peter McDougall, Peter Holmes and John Deacons. A further impetus to reviving interest in paperweights was the publication of Evangiline Bergstrom’s book, Old Glass Paperweights, the first of a new genre. NOTE:  I only put photos of items I own or have owned in my blog, so anytime you see a photo you know it is part of my collection.  I don’t use anyone’s photos but my own.

    

Charles Kaziun Jr.,  “Crimped Rose” Perfume Bottle.  An older piece marked with blue “K” in a white cane with a blue border and then a yellow flowered border.  The mark is under the flower. (Recently sold to a collector in Dallas, TX.)

    

Charles Kaziun Jr. Miniature Pedestal paperweight, Spider Lily on Gold flecked background (one of his most popular peices) marked with his characteristic 14 karat gold “K” signature on the bottom side of the ball of the weight.  Currently being sold on eBay for $435.00.  Actual retail value listed in price guide is $1400.00.

A number of small studios appeared in the middle 20th century, particularly in the US. These may have several to some dozens of workers with various levels of skill cooperating to produce their own distinctive “line”. Notable examples are Lundberg Studios, Orient and Flume, Correia Art Glass, Lotton, and Parabelle Glass. In later blogs I will talk about and show photos of my collection of all of these studios.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, artists such as Paul Stankard, his former assistant, Jim D’Onofrio, Chris Buzzini, Delmo and daughter Debbie Tarsitano, Victor Trabucco and sons, Gordon Smith, Rick Ayotte and his daughter Melissa, and the father and son team of Bob and Ray Banford, began breaking new ground and were able to produce fine paperweights rivaling anything produced in the classic period.

Types of glass paperweights

Collectors may specialize in one of several types of paperweights, but more often they wind up with an eclectic mix.

Millefiori paperweights contain thin cross-sections of cylindrical composite canes made from colored rods and usually resemble little flowers, although they can be designed after anything, even letters and dates. These are usually made in a factory setting. The exist in many variations such as scattered, patterned, close concentric or carpet ground. Sometimes the canes are formed into a sort of upright tuft shaped like a mushroom that is incased in the dome.

Lampwork paperweights have objects such as flowers, fruit, butterflies or animals constructed by shaping and working bits of colored glass with a gas burner or torch and assembling them into attractive compositions, which are then incorporated into the dome. This is a form particularly favored by studio artists. The objects are often stylized, but may be highly realistic.

Sulfide paperweights have an encased cameo-like medallion or portrait plaque made from a special ceramic that is able to reproduce very fine detail. They often are produced to commemorate some person or event. Although still produced today their heyday was before the classic period.

Swirl paperweights have opaque rods of two or three colors radiating like a pinwheel from a central millefiori floret. A similar style, the marbrie, is a millefiori containing weight that has several bands of color close to the surface that descend from the apex in a looping pattern to the bottom of the weight.

Another variation is the Crown weight. It has twisted ribbons, alternately colored and lacy white, which radiate from the crown from a central millefiori floret down to converge again at the base. This was first devised in the Saint Louis factory and remains popular today.

Miniature weights have a diameter of less than two inches or so, and magnums have a diameter greater than about 3.25 inches.

California-style paperweights are made by “painting” the surface of the dome with colored molten glass (torchwork), and manipulated with picks or other tools. They may also be sprayed while hot with various metallic salts to achieve an iridescent look.

Victorian portrait and advertising paperweights were dome glass paperweights first made in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania using a process patented in 1882 by William H. Maxwell. The portrait paperweights contained pictures of ordinary people reproduced on a milk glass disk and encased within clear glass. This same process was also used to produce paperweights with the owner’s name encased or an advertisement of a business or product. Pittsburgher Albert A. Graeser, patented a different process for making advertising paperweights in 1892. The Graeser process involved sealing an image to the underside of a rectangular glass blank using a milkglass or enamellike glaze. Many paperweights of the late 1800s are marked either J. N. Abrams or Barnes and Abrams and may list either the 1882 Maxwell or 1892 Graeser patent date. It has been theorized that Barnes and Abrams did not actually manufacture advertising paperweights for their customers, but instead subcontracted the actual manufacturing task out to Pittsburgh area glasshouses. The Paperweight Collectors Association Annual Bulletins published for 2000, 2001 and 2002 describe these in detail.

Bohemian paperweights were particularly popular in Victorian times. Large engraved or cut hollow spheres of ruby glass were a common form.

Museum collections

Notable displays of paperweight collections can be seen in a number of museums. The Wheaton Village museum in Millville, NJ has many examples of American paperweights. The Bergstrom-Mahler museum in Neenah, Wisconsin contains a particularly fine collection of representative paperweights. The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY also has an exceptional collection of fine paperweights.

Paperweight collectors

There are many paperweight collectors worldwide. Several collectors associations hold national or regional conventions, and sponsor activities such as tours, lectures, and auctions. Famous collectors include such literary figures as Collete, Oscar Wilde and Truman Capote. Princess Eugenie, Napoleon III’s wife, the wife of Mexico’s Emporer Maximillion and King Farouk were also avid collectors.

Paperweights just have to be the most interesting items I collect. You can see most of my collection being sold on eBay by putting your cursor on My Assistant “the duck” and press enter to go to my eBay store, Kelekchens.  So…follow along with me as I describe my collection and the stories behind it all.  Until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

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Smoking has been accepted into culture, in various art forms, and has developed many distinct, and often conflicting or mutually exclusive, meanings depending on time, place and the practitioners of smoking. Pipe smoking, until recently one of the most common forms of smoking, is today often associated with solemn contemplation, old age and is often considered quaint and archaic. Cigarette smoking, which did not begin to become widespread until the late 19th century, has more associations of modernity and the faster pace of the industrialized world. Cigars have been, and still are, associated with masculinity, power and is an iconic image associated with the stereotypical capitalist. Smoking in public during the Victorian age was something reserved for men and when done by women was associated with promiscuity. In Japan during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients would often approach one another under the guise of offering a smoke and the same was true for 19th century EuropeArt.

The earliest depictions of smoking can be found on Classical Mayan pottery from around the 9th century. The art was primarily religious in nature and depicted deities or rulers smoking early forms of cigarettes.  Soon after smoking was introduced outside of the Americas it began appearing in painting in Europe and Asia. The painters of the Dutch Golden Age were among the first to paint portraits of people smoking and still lifes of pipes and tobacco. For southern European painters of the 17th century, a pipe was much too modern to include in the preferred motifs inspired by mythology from Greek and Roman antiquity. At first smoking was considered lowly and was associated with peasants.  Many early paintings were of scenes set in taverns or brothels. Later, as the Dutch Republic rose to considerable power and wealth, smoking became more common amongst the affluent and portraits of elegant gentlemen tastefully raising a pipe appeared. Smoking represented pleasure, transience and the briefness of earthly life as it, quite literally, went up in smoke. Smoking was also associated with representations of both the sense of smell and that of taste.

In the 18th century smoking became far more sparse in painting as the elegant practice of taking snuff became popular. Smoking a pipe was again relegated to portraits of lowly commoners and country folk and the refined sniffing of shredded tobacco followed by sneezing was rare in art. When smoking appeared it was often in the exotic portraits influenced by Orientalism. Many proponents of post-colonial theory controversially believe this portrayal was a means of projecting an image of European superiority over its colonies and a perception of the male dominance of a feminized Orient.  They believe the theme of the exotic and alien “Other” escalated in the 19th century, fueled by the rise in popularity of ethnology during the Enlightenment.

In the 19th century smoking was common as a symbol of simple pleasures; the pipe smoking “noble savage”, solemn contemplation by Classical Roman ruins, scenes of an artists becoming one with nature while slowly toking a pipe. The newly empowered middle class also found a new dimension of smoking as a harmless pleasure enjoyed in smoking saloons and libraries. Smoking a cigarette or a cigar would also become associated with the bohemian, someone who shunned the conservative middle class values and displayed his contempts for conservatism. But this was a pleasure that was to be confined to a male world; women smokers were associated with prostitution and was not considered an activity in which proper ladies should involve themselves.  It was not until the turn of the century that smoking women would appear in paintings and photos, giving a chic and charming impression. Impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, who was a pipe smoker himself, would also begin to associate smoking with gloom and fin-du-siècle fatalism.

While the symbolism of the cigarette, pipe and cigar respectively were consolidated in the late 19th century, it was not until the 20th century that artists began to use it fully; a pipe would stand for thoughtfulness and calm; the cigarette symbolized modernity, strength and youth, but also nervous anxiety; the cigar was a sign of authority, wealth and power. The decades following World War II, during the apex of smoking when the practice had still not come under fire by the growing anti-smoking movement, a cigarette casually tucked between the lips represented the young rebel, epitomized in actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean or mainstays of advertising like the Marlboro Man. It was not until the 1970s when the negative aspects of smoking began to appear; the unhealthy lower-class loser, reeking of cigarette smoke and lack of motivation and drive, especially in art inspired or commissioned by anti-smoking campaigns.  This may have been due largely to the Aquarius generation where flower power and Peace culminated in smoking cannibus. A serious collector of tobacciana can build a tremendous collection around the 1970’s era drug culture.  It could be called the “Hippie” collection. Ha ha.

Here are some of the ash rescepticles that I have collected for their beautiful art form.  Most are Asian, Hand Painted, Nippon or Noritake.

                   

                   

              

Collection of Nippon ashtrays, all hand-painted prior to 1921.

 

                   

         

Hand Painted enamel Moriage ashtrays, made in Japan, ca. 1930s – 1940s.

 

                        

Collection of Lusreware ashtrays, Made in Japan, ca. 1940s – 1950s

              

Noritake, Hand painted and Made in Japan after 1921.

 

Glass and Brass, Roaring 20s ahstray and humidor.

 

No “butts” about it this is a good sized collection of Japanese ashtrays. All are being sold on eBay at my store “Kelekchens” or you can contact me through this post by entering your request under comments. Just leave your request and a way for me to contact you .  To see these items in my store and other collectibles put your cursor on my assistant “the duck” and press enter.  Until next time happy collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

 

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There are a number of Nippon pieces decorated with desert scenes. This seems to be a popular and highly collectible motif at this time. The pieces found feature palm trees, Bedouin tents, mosques and other buildings, and Arabs on camels.  Some of the Middle Eastern men are found wrapped in a long white robes with a hood that is called a jalabijya.  Most of these scenes are realistic looking. 

From my collection:

         

A beautiful Nippon Stein with Desert Scene. Maker’s mark #47.

 

    

A very nice Camel Rider, Nippon ashtray with the Makers’ mark #47.

 

         

Palm Trees on the Oasis, marked with the Maker’s mark #47.

 

The Arab/Desert scene vases seem to command the highest prices.  A recent auction of a particularly nice camel rider urn 16″H sold for over $2000.00.

As I said earlier this is a popular motif.  To see more of my Nippon collection visit my store at : 

Just put your cursor on my assistant “The Duck” in the upper right hand corner of this post and press enter.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember that “The best is yet to come.”

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I have decided that as I buy, sell and trade items within my collections I will post notes of where I am at i.e.; new items bought and items in my collection sold.  This is so you can follow along with me and experience the joy and yes, sometimes the sorrow of collecting.  These “new” post will be at the bottom of subjects I have posted already.  So… if I buy a Nippon peice you will find that item at the bottom of the Nippon post in Asian Antiques.

You will probably be able to also find these items in my store on eBay.  Just click on “My Assistant” the Duck and he will take you to my store.  Browse & enjoy.  Thank you.

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