Paperweights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, different materials and designs. Murano for instance, is very famous for its glass paperweights and some can be very highly prized indeed. Another group come from Royal Crown Derby in England. In 1981 Royal Crown Derby issued a set of 6 animal paperweights filled with sand. They were the rabbit, owl, duck, quail, penguin and wren. Many more designs followed , all animal inspired shapes such as the Koala , Barn Owl, and Garden Snail.
They came with Gold or Silver stoppers to indicate the quality of the paperweight, Gold being a First quality example and Silver a second. The design and production quality of these is of the highest order.
There have been several changes over the years. Firstly the sand was removed to lighten them for shipping costs, especially to the USA. For a very short while a ceramic stopper was used, but customer feedback forced the gold and silver stoppers to come back, so having a ceramic stopper does not mean that you do not have a First Quality piece.
These paperweights became so desirable that in 1984 Royal Crown Derby created a collectors guild and members could get specially produced items that the general public could. Limited editions came along with runs of as little as 250 or less. An example of the guild designs was the “Debonair Bear” introduced in 1998.
What is really nice is the absolute variety of these designs. There are hundreds to choose from. Mostly done in the Imari, my personal favorite style, they produced this in different sizes and price ranges. Many of the earlier designs have been retired. Today, some can be obtained for as little as $35 to $50 without a box and certificate, and can go up to well over $2500 depending on the rarity. Having the original box and certificate always help the value. I have quite a few of these out on the shelf and really enjoy looking at them and have several more in our shop. Come check them out. They are still producing them today and are as popular as ever.
If you have a favorite, post a picture, we would love to see them.