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Author Topic: Portesa (Rome) and St.-Ouen (Paris) Flea Market Paperweights  (Read 2157 times)

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Offline EstlinClichy

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Portesa (Rome) and St.-Ouen (Paris) Flea Market Paperweights
« on: October 20, 2005, 12:54:02 PM »
Finally finished unpacking from Italy and France travels, and just wanted to share my two other paperweight purchases. The first, a lovely Murano, was found at Rome's Porte Portesa flea market, which is in the Trastevere district of Rome. It's the most crowded flea market to which I've ever been. There must have been a quarter of a million people there. Definitely more crowded that Paris' St.-Ouen or even London's Portobello Road flea markets.

Once we manuvered our way through the hundreds upon hundreds of dealers selling clothing and gee-gaws and leather goods and motor scooter equipment and luggage (all new items), we worked our way into the great maw of the flea market where antiques and collectibiles and furniture and books and vinyl record albums and the like were available.

There were a lot of unworthy paperweights, but the Murano I bought, and have included pictures of, was sitting amidst the vast clutter on a dealer's table. The dealer noted that it was a Murano, and of course, he was right. The asking price was 10 Euros. I offered 5. He went to 9, I said 6, he went to 8, I offered 7, and he pondered a long moment and agreed. Not a flaw on the weight, which is always an added bonus.

In Paris, the vast St.-Ouen flea market also offers many new items (especially, for some reason, thousands of shoes), but there were some legitimate antique sellers and one truly legitimate paperweight dealer with hundreds of classic antique French weights, as well as Scottish, American, Bohemian, and Italian weights. There were also hundreds of other dealers selling collectibles and possible antiques (lots of brass doorknobs and lighting fixtures, for some reason). On one table I spotted a Strathearn close pack millefiori for 6 Euros. The weight has a turquoise base and has no flaws of any kind. I should have just snapped it up for six, but it was a flea market, so I offered 4. He refused to budge and even said that it was a French paperweight. I simply agreed to the 6 Euros.

The moral for paperweight collectors, of course, is that flea markets have the rare bird - sometimes a very rare bird - and are always worth the adventure. Rome's Porte Portesa and Paris' St.-Ouen were eye-openers for a lot of reasons, but there were something wonderfully satisfying about coming away from both with a nice paperweight. Needless to say, the huge numbers of dealers meant that a lot of territory at both markets went unchecked and all of you paperweight collectors know those "what if" and "let's stay and browse some more" feelings.

The first two images are of the Murano, and the third is of the colorful Strathearn.

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