Don't worry about it. You have not been silly. Well ... not in the sense of knowing or not knowing what the weight was.
Now that I think about it, I can undertsand why you thought there were wire stems. One of the features of many antique fruit (and vegeatble and upright flower) weights is unwanted air bubbles in various places. If the cherry stems, being very thin, have air bubbles trapped along the length then they could easily "shine" like a piece wire.
For interest, as well as the weight shown in Pat Reilly's book (which, by the way, I really should put in a word for at every opportunity - since Pat was one of the founding members of the PCC [formerly CPC] ), there are a few others shown at:http://www.kevh.clara.net/exhib99/Antique/French/StLouis/SLList1.htm
And an American equivalent is shown at:http://www.kevh.clara.net/exhib99/Antique/American/AmericanList.htm
Personally, I think too many of the antique fruit (etc) weights have too many stray bubbles. But then I am a bit fussy when being asked to pay good money for something I do not normally collect.
But, I can hear you wondering ... what about the other "being silly" part ... was it worth a lot ... should you have taken it regardless? Well ... err ... yeah ... it sounds as if it could have been one of those occasions that don't crop up very often (or at least, they seem to crop up only for people I know - such as another reader of this message board
- but not for me personally).
In a couple of paperweight dealer sites, broadly similar antique St Louis items are currently offered with asking prices of ... Â£950 and Â£990 :!:
But quality is all important - air bubbles and "wire-like" stems, not to mention the the possibilty of an off-centred setting or poor latticinio work, or even reduction in size and profile from removal of scratches and bruises, can reduce the price dramatically.
But, hey, without actually handling and confirming the weight, it could still have been a Chinese version looking very much like the one in the book, so maybe it was not really bad news? hmm? maybe?