Fake Louisiana Purchase 1904 PaperweightBy Mark Chervenka
Fake Louisiana Purchase 1904 Paperweight
A faked glass paperweight represented as a souvenir of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, commonly known as the St. Louis Worlds Fair, has appeared in the market. The example ACRN examined was deep amber glass, about 3″ in diameter. A raised image of North and South America is molded on a slightly domed top along with raised molded lettering, "St. Louis Worlds Fair, 1904" (see illustration below).
Whoever made this piece obviously didn't know what images were used as symbols of the various World Fairs. The image of the North and South American continents was the symbol of the Pan-American Exposition, held in Buffalo, New York in 1901, not the St. Louis Exposition.
The new paperweight is cast in a mold as opposed to being pressed. A lump of hot glass is simply dropped in the mold and allowed to settle into the design. Because it doesn't require great accuracy or a plunger, no particular skill in glass making is required. Anyone with an oven or kiln capable of melting and annealing glass can produce this type of item.
The entire bottom of pieces made this way are typically very shiny. There is no wear except for recently applied scratches intended to create the appearance of age. The example ACRN saw was priced at $125 at a mid-western antique street fair.