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Glass Identification - Post here for all ID requests => Glass Paperweights => Resolved Paperweight Queries => Topic started by: SophieB on September 23, 2009, 06:15:50 PM

Title: An 'Italian' Saint Louis? ID = SL 1954
Post by: SophieB on September 23, 2009, 06:15:50 PM
I am guessing that this is a Murano 'take' on a Saint Louis paperweight. Am I right?

Mod: At this point the original message gave an eBay link (item number 110437495996) which is no longer available but was titled: "Saint Louis Millefiori Paperweight Signed Cane SL 1956".

Kind of interesting though.


Mod: See below for update, as at Mar 2010, including images of the actual weight.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: alexander on September 23, 2009, 09:11:53 PM
The canes look like Murano canes in the blurry main photo but I think this is SL.

According to the book "The Art of the Paperweight, Saint Louis" by Gerard Ingold (a fmr. manager at SL),
SL started production of modern millefiore paperweights in 1953.

The cog canes look like SL canes and the sign/date cane is typical SL.
The date looks like 1954 and not 1956 as mentioned in the ad.

So I think this is an early paperweight from a time when they were still trying to re-awaken their skills.

The price may be a bit high tho.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: tropdevin on September 23, 2009, 09:17:14 PM
Hi Sophie

I'm with Alexander on this - a genuine early modern Saint Louis. That said, IMHO a pretty dull (and expensive) weight, and I'm sure the Italians have made ones as good if not better!

Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: SophieB on September 23, 2009, 11:19:23 PM
Hum! I understand what you are saying but I am still not convinced by the authenticity of this weight...

I know that SL had only just restarted making paperweights by then but this seems too clumsy an effort to be right. Even if the date cane says 1954, it is a whole year after starting production (and if I remember well, SL kick-started paperweight making in 1952, most of which was spent researching and rediscovering paperweight-making techniques. It is on the strength of their effort in that year that they decided to restart production in 1953 - so by 1954 they would have been at it for two years). Personally, if I had been responsible for taking the decision of producing paperweights again, I would not have done so on the basis of the paperweight on Ebay. SL workers must have had to produce something better than that to justify a return to production.

Also the canes (however blurry) do not seem to fit. I have seen a couple of their early modern weights in the past and I remember very different canes; the early canes I remember looked much more like a 'memory' of the canes they had produced in the 19th c.

On the other hand, the two of you have a lot more experience than me and must have handled (a lot) more SL weights too. AARGH! I am completely confused... I really thought that the Ebay weight was an interesting and (very) elaborate fake...


Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: SophieB on September 23, 2009, 11:56:23 PM
After searching on the internet, I found an example of an early SL weight:

According to Liberty's, it is an SL weight for 1953 (but it is impossible to read the date/signature cane on this picture).

It is a completely different weight from the Ebay example. It has definitely a nice SL feel about it (and a vague look of the classic period).

What do you think?

If only we could handle the Ebay weight, we'd know instantly...

Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: alexander on September 24, 2009, 01:08:11 AM
Hi, I've matched the cog canes in the weight to similar canes in the SL book, the SL and 1954 letter/number canes also confirm to SL
letters and numbers. The shape seems right and the setup isn't that disastrous.

I agree that is it a clumsy weight for SL, however I do not have any problems with this being SL.
Even the Liberty weight you mention has canes that are distorted and a leaf fallen off it's stem.

The best fakes I've seen, outside of the fake PY/Scottish weights, were made in China to resemble antique NEGC nosegays,
so I'd rule out a Murano fake. The Muranese weights with spurious dates have very different datecanes.
The Chinese fakes were made with Chinese canes.

The only way I see this as a fake is if someone else used authentic SL canes to make a weight.
I doubt the seller will get any bids since the 500 starting bid is below reserve.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: SophieB on September 24, 2009, 02:46:50 AM
Thanks, Alexander. I was coming to the same conclusion, i.e. that you and Alan are both right.

I had also compared the cog canes to canes used in other SL weights and found that they problably matched (taking into account the blurry nature of the Ebay picture).

And you are right also to point out that this fake would be a little too elaborate.

No, I cannot see it being sold at that price either (even as a genuine SL).

Many thanks to you and Alan for your help.


Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: jamalpa36 on September 24, 2009, 07:38:50 AM
Has anyone contacted the font of all knowledge on modern French Norman Faulkner?

He has photographs of just about every modern French weight.

Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: alpha on September 24, 2009, 01:49:58 PM
It is definitely Saint Louis. Date cane is for 1956. During the 1950's revitalization efforts some of the SL weights are quite primitive and others quite nice. It is almost as if the two people making them were not talking to each other.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: KevinH on September 24, 2009, 08:58:11 PM
anyone contacted the font of all knowledge on modern French Norman Faulkner?
Yes, Roy. But no response yet.

However, Andy has made a good point about the differing quality in those early years, and I see no reason to think there is any real problem with the weight. But it's out of my experience zone.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: Derek on September 26, 2009, 05:59:08 PM
Hi all

I can go one better than Roys suggestion - I was over at Normans today and took the opportunity to dig into his comprehensive dossier on modern St Louis.

The E-bay weight is definitely a 1954 St Louis and compares very favourably with this 1955 concentric which was auctioned elsewhere. Norman apologies for the poor picture !

The date cane is constructed differently but I checked other weights from 54/55 and identified at least 5 different styles of date cane. The date cane in this 1955 weight is at 2 o'clock in the second concentric ring out from the centre cane.

Best regards


Mod: An image was attached, but was a personal research copy (with a personal annotation) taken from an entry in a Boisgirard et AssociƩs auction listing. This showed a weight with the same pattern and same style canes as the eBay one discussed. See update below, as at Mar 2010, for images of the one discussed.
Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis?
Post by: SophieB on September 26, 2009, 08:18:33 PM
Many thanks to (in order of appearance): Alexander, Alan, Roy, Andy, Kevin, Derek and Norman for your research, effort and replies.

I am now totally convinced that it is a St Louis weight.

I am sorry for the wild goose chase but I just could not believe that SL had ever produced such weak..ish work before. Just put it down to Gallic pride (Aah! yes, you have a 'grenouille' in your midst). ;D

Thanks again to you all.

Title: Re: An 'Italian' Saint Louis? ID = SL 1954
Post by: KevinH on March 09, 2010, 11:49:27 PM
For confirmation, and with good photos, the eBay weight discussed has a "SL 1954" cane but the "4" is certainly not easy to read without a good close-up view.

Whether people consider the weight to be of poor or good overall quality is a matter of personal opinion. Looking at the set up of the canes, it can be seen that there are seven "inner cane spokes" which are not evenly spaced, and there are only six "outer cane spokes", all of which does not make geometric symetry.

However, in the main, the nature of the pattern is well formed and the bed of latticino is nicely set. The outer canes are well selected with six repeating groups of six different canes. Also, the clear dome is very good with no striations or devitrification and only a couple of very tiny air bubbles. From the side view, it is seen that there are no bubbles amongst the canes and the curve of the cane layer is very even. The only obvious side view "glitch" is that the underside of the canes have been squashed outwards at the edges giving a slightly untidy look.

Images by current owner, size reduced and optimised by me, included with permission.
Top View (
Side View (
Base View (
Signature Cane (