Is pa­per­weight worth writ­ing home about?

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences Treasure Coast / North - Anne Gil­bert

Ques­tion: While go­ing over my late un­cle’s es­tate, I found this un­usual pa­per­weight in a desk drawer. It has a molded, white bust of Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton in­side the glass, and on the back, it is signed “Wash­ing­ton.” It is about 2 inches in di­am­e­ter and in good con­di­tion ex­cept for two small chips on the base. What is this type of weight called? What can you tell me of the his­tory and value?

An­swer: You have a sul­phide pa­per­weight, known tech­ni­cally as “cameo in­crus­ta­tion.” These of­ten had a full fig­ure of a white, opaque an­i­mal; or a cameo head of a fa­mous per­son en­closed in glass. They were also made as mar­bles, as well as vases and drink­ing ves­sels.

The art of sul­phide-mak­ing dates back to Bo­hemia in the 13th cen­tury. By the early 19th cen­tury in France, the Bac­carat, Clichy and St. Louis glass houses cre­ated sul­phides for the lux­ury mar­kets of Europe. In the 1840s, they ex­ported them to Amer­ica. Ba­si­cally, sul­phides are white ce­ramic paste. By the late 19th cen­tury, cheap im­i­ta­tions were be­ing made, with the de­sign pressed into a glass ob­ject that left an im­pres­sion that was then filled with plas­ter of Paris and glued onto the sur­face. Yours ap­pears to be 19thcen­tury Bac­carat. The chips lower the value. It could sell at auc­tion for $200.

To learn about your an­tique, send a photo, along with its his­tory, size, any sig­na­tures and a self-ad­dressed stamped en­ve­lope and $25, to Anne Gil­bert, P.O. Box 740136, Boyn­ton Beach, FL 33437.

This piece could sell at auc­tion for around $200.

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