Yes, you read that right, a paperweight sold for almost $7,000! But this wasn't just any paperweight, it was an antique St. Louis Art Glass Millefiori paperweight. A very special one, indeed. A little history on why paperweights are collectible and so expensive might shed some light on this astronomical price.
Fine glass paperweights are actually considered art and can be found in museums on display. Between 1845 and 1860, antique fine glass paperweights were produced in three factories in France. The names of the factories where Clichy, Baccarat, and St. Louis. (Baccarat is recognized as a maker of fine cut glass, such as decanters.) Some fine glass paperweights were also made in the United Kingdom, USA, and other countries.
There are three main types of art glass paperweights that collectors find desirable. First is Millefiori, which contain thin cross-sections of cylindrical canes made from colored rods. The composites usually resemble flowers, but they can be arranged in any type of design. Lampwork glass paperweights have some sort of small item inside such as a butterfly, fruit, or flowers. Sometimes the item inside is made of a composite material and very closely resembles a living item, such as an insect or flora or fauna. Cameo paperweights contain a portrait plaque in very fine detail made from ceramic. These often are made to commemorate a particular person or special event.
Paperweight collecting is serious business. There are actually conventions and trade shows dedicated to this hobby. Check the Paperweight Collectors Association for information on conventions near you. It is unlikely to find such an expensive collectible in thrift stores or estate sales, but it is always possible. Perhaps after reading this, interesting glass paperweights will be on your list of items to stop and research when out treasure hunting.
The item sold on eBay was an antique 1848 St. Louis Art Glass Millefiori with a ribbon and canes design. The seller was Rhode Island Internet Consignment & Sales and the item sold on December 30. The auction started at 99 cents, received 38 bids, and sold for $6,900. See the actual listing here.