VALUATION OF PAPERWEIGHTS – SOME GENERAL INFORMATION.
What is a paperweight worth?
The simple answer to this question is ‘what someone else is prepared to pay for it at the time you sell it’ – and you do not know until you try. However, based on recent market activity in auction houses, at on-line auctions, and through dealers, it is usually possible to provide reasonable estimates of what an individual paperweight might sell for. That said, rarer or more unusual pieces can provide surprises (both good and bad...) at sales. But please remember that there are many millions of glass paperweights in the world, and most sell for very little.
Purpose of valuation.
There is no single figure that should be used as the value of an item. What you might expect to get for it if you sell it is not the same as what it might cost to replace it if it is lost, damaged or stolen. This is because most buying and selling processes involve fees. For example, if you sell a paperweight at auction for £100, you might receive £85 after fees. The buyer will have to pay a fee too, so the paperweight will cost around £120. If the buyer is a dealer, they will add costs of postage or collection, and maybe their time, and calculate the true purchase price as at least £140. It might then be a long time before they sell it - and they want to make a profit. So the price might be £220 or more – and that is what it would cost you to replace the item.
So what is the value? Is it £85, or £100, or £120, or £220 – or some other figure? The answer is that it depends upon the purpose. For example, for Probate the valuation would be £85 – the net proceeds you could expect from selling. But for Insurance purposes, it would be £220 – the potential cost of replacing the item.
It is worth noting that current market value may be significantly less than the original purchase price, particularly for modern pieces produced in large numbers by makers such as Caithness Glass.
Condition of items
Condition is very important. Paperweights are fairly robust, but can get scratched, chipped, or bruised. Damage will significantly reduce the likely sale value. Although paperweights can often be restored, it is an expensive process that is not without risk: the paperweight may crack in two, rendering it worthless. So a scratched or chipped paperweight will sell for a lot less than if it were in excellent condition.
Boxes and certificates
A few collectors like to have the original boxes and certificates that came when the paperweights were new, but many are not concerned, so these have relatively little effect on value.