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How do collectors choose???

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Hi everyone,
Glad to be posting something on the Paperweights Forum...

I have a large collection of Murano paperweights, and sometimes get doubles of them. I wanted to know how to choose the best samples of paperweights. Below is a photo of 2 Fratelli Toso pieces, but they are different in the magnification you get when looking from the top, and also in how the inside decoration is done. As you can see, specially on the weight wih the roses, the one on the right has very tight rose canes, but the one on the left is a bit uneven (the triangle is not perfect).

Does this matter much to paperweight collectors? I would like to keep the best samples for the collection, and appreciate your opinions.


Super weights!  :D

Personally, although of course I would love to have the 'perfect' examples, I am happy to buy 'less-than-perfect' weights at slightly lower prices, as it enables me to build up a collection including styles and makers I could not otherwise afford  :roll:

I know many 'serious' collectors would not touch the 'lesser' weights, saving their pennies for the really good ones, but there are always people like me around, who will be happy to buy the ones with 'imperfections' for slightly less money.


Hi Javier,

You say you have "a large collection" of Murano weights. I'd really like to see images of all of them - if that could be possible!

Within the Paperweight Collectors Circle I have met lots of members who have some Murano weights but I have not yet met anyone who has a large collection of them or who is able to readily identify the makers by examining the weights.

One of the problems is that most of the weights are "tourist / gift" items and they cover a wide range of styles and are produced in massive numbers. As far as I know, the Murano makers did not produce any "collector" or "limited edition" weights in the same way that, say, Caithness Glass or Perthshire Paperweights (to name just two well-known UK makers) have done.

To quote from Bob Hall's book, World Paperweights - Millefiori & Lampwork, (published 2001)
--- Quote ---With just a few exceptions the weights are mass produced by the thousands with little variation in design by each glasshouse.
--- End quote ---
That comment was made next to a photo of a Murano shop window display showing a range of large (about 4 inch diameter) millefiori weights which seemed to be of reasonable quality.

So, maybe you have more Murano weights than most of the collectors I am aware of :!:  But I do know of an American collector and dealer who has a very large collection including many Murano. Some of those weights are illustrated in Bob Hall's book but no maker is given - just a "Murano" attribution.

As for specific details to consider when choosing "the best" examples:

1) I agree with Leni's sentiments regarding collecting "lesser" pieces, as I often do that particularly if a weight has a feature that I am interested in. (It's also how I collected my "Coloured Victorian" glassware - not because they were top quality and expensive, but because they interested me and added to my knowledge - as well as brightening up my rather dull sense of interior decor  :D )

2) Ideally, to be rated as "top quality" in terms of a maker's skill, where a clear dome is used, it should be perfectly clear with no evidence of "wreathing" or "striations" or any "crystalised lumps" within the glass. The dome should magnify the interior design such that it shows clearly and evenly. No unsightly distortions should be visible in the magnification, even from angled profile views.

3) The interior design elements should not have any breaks or misalignments that detract from the overall look of the weight, or that draw the eye immediately to them. It is not absolutely necesasary to have "perfection" in the setting of the canes or lampwork, although many makers of "collectable" weights will always try to acheive this.

4) The base should be finished in a way that allows the weight to rest in a stable position, whether it is set on a flat horizontal surface or dsplayed in an angled stand.

5) The surface of the weight should be as clean as possible, bearing in mind its age and the effects of normal handling. If a weight has been ground or polished to remove scratches, chips or bruises, then the dome should still have a well-formed profile. Any "flat spots" or uneven grinding will alter the magnifying qualities and may spoil the overall look of the weight.

6) Having covered some aspects of "technical quality", there is also "rarity" to consider. With antique French weights, it is now quite difficult to find very good examples at "cheap" prices (although it does happen on a few rare occasions), so the technical quality often takes a back seat when it comes to "getting one for the collection". The same is true of certain types of weight from more modern makers.

So, this brings us straight back to your question in context of the Toso "flower" weights you have shown.

In my view, the "daisy" weight to the left is better than the one on the right - because the colours are more contrasted and the flower petals are generally better set. But the one on the right has the benefit of showing the green ground better than the other one and is therefore more aesthetically pleasing to me. But if either of them have faults of any kind in the dome or the base, this would make me seriously consider whether it was worth having.

For the "roses" weights, the one on the right wins for me. Its elements are smaller and much better controlled and I find this visually pleasing, even though though the colour of the roses is rather "watery". The other one just looks "sloppy" to me, but if it was the only one I had seen in years of searching for an example, I would not hesitate in buying it.

Thanks Leni and KevH!

KevH - Thank you so much for the 101 on paperweight collection!

There are about 40 paperweights so far, and some small figures which I call paperweight, lol (I know, i've been reprimanded for saying that before :D). I said it was a large collection taking in mind dont really collect them, lol. I try to buy only the ones with labels on them or ones with fish inside them, and that can be very hard to do.

On the 4 paperweights I have pictured, I am just having a really hard time deciding which should go. I might have to buy a third sample and decide then. The 1 paperweight on the right with the roses, even though you can see it clearly from the top does have "swirls" or "striations" in the glass when you look at it from the side. Also the color is not as rich, but on the other hand it has a better label than the one on the left, and a better formation of the cut canes.

Same with the Daisy paperweights, the one on the right has an odd shaped daisy, and the color is a little "watery" like you say, and doesn't pop (more yellow than orange like the one on the left). The one on the left has a bit of swirling of the glass on the outside top of the paperweight (not on the inside).

I will take photos of the ones I don't already have boxed up and post them here. I do have 1 paperweight that I think is pretty unusual. I believe it is a Fratelli or Aureliano Toso paperweight in a "Tiffany" style. It looks like stained glass with black! Matches an ewer/decanter I have too. I'll take a pic of that one and post it too.

Tiffany-esque paperweight has been posted!

And here are some other paperweights from my collection:


Hi Javier,

I missed your posting of the photo of those dozen weights but have (obviously) spotted it now.

Thanks for showing those. Any chance of giving the label details for each?

Incidentally, "Crown" weights - with the latticinio (or filgrana) threads - are a theme that some paperweight collectors focus on as they are usually good quality no matter who has made them, and examples from antique French, mid-20th century makers, such as the Murano ones, and those from modern artists make a really splendid collection in their own right.

More images, and info, maybe?


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