19th-Century Blue Opaline Snake Paperweight
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:04)
Glass, Pottery & Porcelain
Leo Kaplan, Ltd.
GUEST: All I know is that my brother owned it. He loved art glass, and, um, my mother now has it in her collection of paperweights.
APPRAISER: Well, it's interesting because it would really fall more into the category of paperweights than art glass. It is French, and the blue glass is called opaline. Now, the French did lots of opaline, and you would find blue opaline and green and pink and white. The three major French crystal houses-- Baccarat, St. Louis and Clichy-- who worked in the 19th century all produced this type of glass. This would have been made during the classic period that the French did paperweights, which is the 1840s to '60s. Now, normally, you would find usually a white goblet or a decanter, and they would take the blue glass and coil it around into a snake and do it on the outside of a form. But here they actually coiled the glass and made a three-dimensional snake paperweight as an individual object. And that's very unusual. And the top of it is beautifully gilded, and if you look from the bottom, what you have is just the opaline. So it's the blue glass with a nice shine, and it's a great color. I think that's why we all love it is the color. There is one example of a salamander done by Pantin that is free-forming. Otherwise, I haven't seen an opaline animal.
APPRAISER: In this time frame, you would not expect it to be marked. If it was marked, you'd be suspicious. It was not something that the French did. But it is a most unusual item. If it was a nice coiled snake on a goblet, it would be a few hundred dollars. But just the coiled snake, gilded, as a paperweight itself, I would put a value of about $2,500 to $3,500 on it if we had it in our store.
GUEST: Oh, how exciting!
APPRAISER: It's a great thing and it's really a marvelous piece of French 19th-century glass and I want to thank you for bringing it in.
GUEST: Thank you very much. Now we're all going to be fighting over it. So thank you. You did say twenty-five to...
APPRAISER: Yes, I did.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh-- that's amazing!
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