Author Topic: Collapse of the paperweight market......  (Read 1347 times)

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Offline cfosterk

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Collapse of the paperweight market......
« on: January 02, 2008, 05:41:35 PM »
I've noticed that some items are generally achieving lower prices on ebay recently - ysart items selling well under £200, whitefriars xmas weights selling around £180 or so. Still some items achieving reasonable prices but less that say 6/9/12 months ago.

I've listed an item at what I thought was a reasonable sell price (don't set reserves as a rule just a minimum price I'd be happy with) and got an email from a dealer who said that the weight market is in the doldrums. His words were that the market had collapsed. He wasn't scare-mongering just being honest and offered advice on how i might achieve a reasonable price.

As a collector I explained that I'm probably ignorant of these fluctuations - I'll bid to a certain level and if I'm successful I'm delighted!!

Anyone else noticed a downturn in the weight market? Never realised a correlation between paperweights and the housing market - discuss!!!!


Offline KevinH

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 06:18:02 PM »
Might not be a downturn as such but perhaps a return to more standard (and affordable for more folk) levels after a few years of peak activity? Much depends on what period, and starting date, we use for comparisons.

But there are still some surpising results happening. For instance, the recent completed eBay auction 140192028281 realised £156 ($311) for a smal (2.5 inch diameter) early Vasart spoke pattern weight with average quality to the cane setting and with severe scratches to the top of the dome. A few years ago, that weight, although it has a cheery mix of colourful canes, would realistically have sold for no more than £30.
KevinH


Offline alexander

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 06:58:48 PM »
I suspect any market with a large US base of buyers will be slow in 2008, consumer spending in the US is down at the moment
and probably will be for some time. It's a natural reaction to the housing market and the weak dollar against £ and €.
In the past five years a product priced in £ has doubled in price for US buyers while staying put for a UK buyer.

I've noticed that classic and modern French weights for example appear to do better on French eBay than UK or US eBay.
Even those that do not ship outside France. With the exception of good Clichy weights tho - those seem very popular all over still.

For collectors of US weights this is good news, standard NEGC scrambles for instance are going cheap at the moment
and you can pick up a very nice Mayauel Ward for around $150-180.

A Whitefriars at around £180 represents almost $400 of investment for a US buyer - you can buy classic French weights for less
than that, or a couple of beautiful Orient & Flume weights. 

Then again it may be just a blip at the end of a fincancially turbulent year.
Alexander
Norwegian glass collector


Offline cfosterk

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 04:34:46 AM »
the vasart had a better than usual mixture of canes, but was untidy - the spokes were very unevenly spaced, the 1-2 outer set-up used different sized cane, even the inner close-packed/concentric was a bit random, almost slap-dash. The saving grace for the seller was at least 5/6 people wanted it! I thought the start price was reasonable at $79 but the end price of $311 was staggering!! Kevin, I think a £30 purchase would have been a steal!!! lol!!!

Also on ebay a willie mansons bluebird (2007) sold for £157 and a JD/WM snake for £165 - very strong prices (esp the former). At the same time a PY signed bouquet weight on blue/white jasper didn't sell or attract a single bid at $399. I know which of the three I'd have preferred!! Perhaps tastes have switched from the master to his apprentice!!

Difficult to check whats happening with classic pieces - so few seem to turn up, probably only 5/6 a week? A very pretty baccarat cinquefoil (admittedly on clear) didn't attract a bid at $700, whilst a mis-shapen re-ground but pretty (and colourful)clichy scramble sold well at £365.

If there's any logic please explain! The only pattern i can detect is the items that sold (and sold well) had low starting prices.........enticing bidders and interest it would seem.......and achieved the desired effect for the seller.


Offline Frank

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 03:42:27 PM »
I expect it is the eBay effect. A simple solution to reduce the variations would be to have longer auctions for collectables, say 30 days but at the same cost. This would probably result in a significant increase in viewings and an overall increase in results.

It would benefit buyers as they would have 4 times as much to choose from and most people have a monthly budget too.
Frank A.
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Offline tropdevin

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2008, 10:02:41 PM »
Hi

I'm not convinced that the market has collapsed: but it has changed over the past few years, certainly. There have been some strong prices recently at auction for top quality paperweights, whilst the more mundane ones have floundered.  I think the internet has helped people understand the market better: they realise that there are, for example, many Baccarat pansies out there but few Baccarat multiflower bouquets; or many St Louis nosegays but few carpet grounds.  I recognise that this was known in the past to the trade and to the more experienced collectors, but I think that many more buyers now know it too. It is when a couple of uninformed buyers are after the same item that we see the freakish results.

I'm sure that there are many interacting factors that affect the market, include the 'unknowns we don't know about'  (a bit like climate change....).  Earlier commentators must be right in identifying the weakness of the US $.  To that you can add the weak economy in Japan, annual cyclic effects, perhaps some residual effect of eBay (though I suspect that has been around long enough now for the initial shock waves to have subsided), the fickleness of collectors and the antiques market in general, and no doubt many more factors.  But on the positive side, the weak $ makes it attractive for Europeans to buy from the USA; and maybe more important in the longer term, will we see the entry of wealthy Chinese collectors?  That could really change things.

I'm not convinced by the argument that 30 day auctions would be beneficial, and help even out variations (even if that were a good thing - do we really want to establish a standard rate, irrespective of supply and demand? It sounds rather totalitarian to me.)  As had been discussed in other threads, most bids are made near the end of the auction - and most people only look at the auction in the last few days, if how the numbers of watchers changes is any indication.  If you carry out a thorough search for paperweights on eBay you get around 10,000:  that is already far too many to examine regularly.  From my perspective, having 4 times as much would not represent greater choice, but greater chaff to sort through to find the odd one worth watching.

Regards

Alan

Alan
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The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
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Offline alexander

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2008, 07:21:59 PM »
Are you thinking of the €5000 multiflower by any chance?  ;)
320192970917 - beautiful even tho it had a multitude of nicks.

Shows that there are some collectors still willing to fork over the big bucks when a special item comes along.

Alexander
Norwegian glass collector


Offline cfosterk

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2008, 10:13:00 PM »
Staggering paperweight - if I had the money I would have bought. thousand petal rose, pansy, yellow wheatflower and a blue/white 'primrose' - lots of chips scuffs etc but still amazing and rare....

How often do quality baccarat paperweights come up like that? Think about the individual costs - rose say £800, pansy £250, wheatflower £600, primrose £350 - about £2000 for four paperweights produced in relatively large numbers. And here was an opportunity to buy an incredibly rare piece with four exquisite lamp work flowers....almost as good as it gets from baccarat....

Shame on me for selling my St Louis encased double overlay (bought at the same provisional sale as a Baccarat cruciform multiple bouquet which was unsold). The bouquet will forever haunt me - deep red pom pom, then a cross of two pairs of alternate stylised dahlias....


Offline tropdevin

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2008, 10:40:04 PM »
Hi Alexander

That Baccarat you mention was one example  (I didn't bid enough!) - but when restored, you have a $10,000 paperweight. And the bouquet you mention sounds wonderful!

I was thinking more of major auction house sales (Sothebys, Christies, Bonhams) since last summer, where a Baccarat concentric mushroom sold for £7,500, for example.  Or various Baccarat flowers (not pansies) without garlands sold for £1200 to £1800.  And Clichy colour grounds sold for nearly £2000....


Regards

Alan

Moderator: Post edited by agreement with the poster
Alan
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  Abraham Lincoln.

The comments in this posting reflect the opinion of the author, Alan Thornton, and not that of the owners, administrators or moderators of this board. Comments are copyright Alan Thornton.
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Offline karelm

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Re: Collapse of the paperweight market......
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2008, 03:10:03 PM »
Are you thinking of the €5000 multiflower by any chance?  ;)
320192970917 - beautiful even tho it had a multitude of nicks.
Shows that there are some collectors still willing to fork over the big bucks when a special item comes along.
Is it just me that finds that large number of low-feedback bidders on that item strange?
Karel
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