On the "snobbery" point, I agree with the general views that Gareth has offered. But ... It's a fact that in paperweight collecting (and, I assume, in any other collecting arena) an element of "snobbery" has developed and could be considered as still apparent amongst some collectors, dealers, auction house staff and so forth.
I have also been guilty of dismissing weights such as Chinese gift products as unworthy of more than a cursory glance (which I choose to define as "snobbery"). Yet, at the time of looking I would have said I was making a reasonable judgement of whether the weight(s) would "sit well" in my collection. However, when I think about it a bit deeper, if an item has a dealer price tag of say, Â£200 rather than Â£20 (not to mention Â£10 or less), which piece do I study more closely? Is that an act of "snobbery" or of "intrigue". If I then buy the Â£200 item and display it with pride, after having dismissed the Â£20 one as 'not for me', is that also an act of "snobbery" or is it just "personal preference"?
Getting back to the specifics of possible snobbery about Chinese weights, the history of this is rooted in the first days of paperweights becoming recognised as "collectable". It is thought that in the 1930s an American dealer / importer arranged for "copies" of 19th century French weights to be made in order to meet a demand. The "copies" were made in China and although many were quite good replicas the quality was not the same and the clear glass tended to be tinted. Those who could afford to do so would, of course, buy the genuine French weights and those without such deep pockets would settle for none or a "second best" copy made in China.
But at some point these "copies" stopped being made and there was little, if anything, in the way of Chinese paperweights until more recently (I don't know when the Chinese gift weights trade actually started). And then, at some point, the original 1930s "copies" began to regarded as collectable in their own right. Perhaps this also created a division of "collectability" between those 1930s Chinese weights and the more recent ones?
As has been said often, modern Chinese output is of varying quality but some very well made pieces are now being seen more often and that includes paperweights. But it is still a basic fact that so many poorly produced gift weights continue to flood the market. And yes, many people probably still have the idea that all Chinese weights are "inferior" to those that "should be collected".
Now't so queer as folk :!:
By the way,
a) I do have some examples of Chinese weights. Not many, though!
b) To see a good range of Chinese weights, (in the UK) take a trip to the Yelverton Paperweight Centre in Devon ( http://www.paperweightcentre.co.uk/
). They certainly used to have on show an impressive number of Chinese weights, and many of much better quality than is usually found in the likes of eBay.