Antique glass paperweights are very collectable and some of the best ones, particularly those from the French factories Baccarat, Clichy and St Louis can command very high prices. For example, a Clichy paperweight in the shape of a basket of flowers sold in 1990 at Sothebys for $258,500.
In 2001 another sold on eBay for $20,229 Australian, the equivalent of about £7300. The most surprising part of this story is that it was put up for auction without a reserve because the seller didn’t realise it was a rare Baccarat picture paperweight. Although the seller received numerous emails during the 10 day auction, up until minutes before bidding ended, the top bid was only a few hundred Australian dollars. With seven minutes to go, bids poured in from all over the world and went from A$800 to A$20,229.
Collectors can buy paperweights from just a few pounds but, like most collectables, unless you are very lucky, the more you can afford to pay, the more likely new and antique examples are to hold or increase their value. With antique paperweights, it’s unlikely you will find a bargain made by any of the three great French factories. It’s a case of buying the best examples you can, whether they are new or old. Regardless of the cost or the date of the paperweight, buy ones that you love to hold and to look at. These will give you pleasure far outweighing their value at auction or in an antique shop.
Caithness glass is one of the more modern but is still very collectable.
It is known throughout the world for high quality paperweights and artglass. Since its inception in 1961 they have taken inspiration from the colours of the Scottish landscape of warm peaty tones, purple heather , golden sunsets, the grey blue of the lochs.
In 1968 they added glass engraving and in 1969 developed innovative techniques for producing abstract paperweights.
Today, over 30 years later, their paperweight studios in Crieff combine the finest design and traditional skills to create pieces which are entirely unique. They are now justifiably regarded as one of the world’s most respected producers of museum-quality paperweights.