No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Paperweights are the perfect subject for the true collector.
The Romans, Egyptians and Venetians all made decorative balls and vessels fashioned from colourful fragments of glass. Despite having these fairly ancient antecedents, what we now specifically call paperweights of the classic collecting period were manufactured for only a short time, roughly 1845-55, when hundreds of thousands were produced, principally in France, Britain, America and Italy.
Production was facilitated by industrialisation and the more widespread use of lead glass, which was clear, heavy and lustrous, and consequently perfect for magnifying and showing off the colourful designs enclosed within. Originally relatively cheap, they were sold to the prosperous and burgeoning middle classes, in the midst of a fashionable explosion of journal and letter-writing and in whose homes there was always a fully-equipped writing desk awaiting the arrival of some new trinket. Sales were helped by the fact that they are also extremely decorative, made excellent reasonably-priced gifts, and came in such a wide variety of designs that they became collectable in their day.
Having died out, interest in collecting weights took off again in the mid 20th Century, when collectors stumbled across a forgotten world which had been lying ripe for rediscovery. Weights are available in an almost infinite variety of forms, each seemingly encompassing a miniature world of its own, which the collector wishes to possess. They are consequently highly addictive.
Collectors have to learn the special techniques, colours, shapes and designs unique to each factory, and how to differentiate between them, as very few examples are marked. It is therefore a fascinating guessing-game, all about pursuit and capture, made all the sweeter by the knowledge that the true connoisseur can discover a gem or great rarity in a market or shop and buy for a fraction of its true value, where it may have overlooked by other passers-by, such is the ignorance and disinterest of many.
The 20th and 21st Centuries have seen many new paperweight-makers come to the fore, and there is now a thriving market for modern as well as antique paperweights. It would seem that increasing numbers are being drawn to these seemingly innocent yet somehow enigmatic objects.