Art: Treasures in Trunks?

Americans had better start looking in the attic: grandfather's old glass paperweight is having a big boom in the art world. Rare old specimens fetch as much as $3,000.

The best weights were made in a single decade, from 1840 to 1850, in France. Among the many designs: the "candy" types, i.e., a scattering of diverse ornaments, like candies in a box; "millefiori," a glittering array of glass flowers; and "faceted overlay" weights, encased in opaque, colored glass, with tiny, cut-out windows revealing the bouquets inside. Rarest and most valuable: sprawling lizards, green and red salamanders, coiled serpents.

Eventually the weights went out...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!