December 8 - 14, 2019: Issue 432


Collecting Snow Globes

Predated by the popular paperweight, the first snow globes were exhibited at the Paris Universal Expo of 1878, apparently featuring a man with an umbrella, and by 1879 at least five or more companies were producing and selling snow globes throughout Europe. In 1889, a snow globe containing a model of the newly built Eiffel Tower was produced to commemorate the International Exposition in Paris, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution - and the opening of that tower. Snow globes became popular in England during the Victorian era.

At the end of the 19th century the Austrian Erwin Perzy, a producer of surgical instruments, invented the so-called Schneekugel (snow globe) and acquired the first patent. 

Originally his goal was to develop an extra bright lightsource for use as a surgical lamp. As he tried to intensify the candlepower of a so-called Schusterkugel (a water filled flask used to focus light since the Middle Ages) with particles made out of different materials for reflection purpose, the effect reminded him of snowfall and it's said that by this he got the idea for a snow globe. He then built his first actual globe with the basilica of Mariazell as a model in it. By 1905, he was turning out dozens of handmade snow globes—often featuring small church figurines made from pewter—through his company, Firm Perzy. They became so popular among well-to-do Austrians that in 1908, Perzy was officially honoured for his treasured item by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Because of the great request for his snow globes, Perzy, along with his brother Ludwig opened a shop in Vienna, where the production company - Original Vienna Snow Globes - is still going strong.

In Europe, during the 1940s and 1950s, religious snow globes were common gifts for Roman Catholic children. 

In the 1950s, the globes, which were previously made of glass, became available in plastic. Currently, there are many different types of snow globes available. These globes are produced by a number of countries and range from the mass-produced versions of Hong Kong and China to the finely crafted types still produced in Austria. Snow globes feature diverse scenes, ranging from the typical holiday souvenirs to more eclectic collectibles featuring Christmas scenes, Disney characters, popular icons, animals, military figures, historical scenes, etc. Snow globes have even been used for election campaigns. Since 2000 fashion and luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Ladurée, Sonia Rykiel, or Martin Margiela, got hold of the trend and grew particularly fond of snow globes as collectible totems and emblems of their brand image. Such enthusiasm was reinforced by presence in numerous art collections of contemporary artists Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz (also known as Martin & Muñoz) who use snow globes as a medium, or museums who paid tribute to famous artists such as French sculptor Auguste Rodin in creating high quality numbered glass dome snow globes.

Initially snow globes consisted of a heavy lead glass dome which was placed over a ceramic figure or tableau on a black cast ceramic base, filled with water and then sealed. The snow or "flitter" was created by use of bone chips or pieces of porcelain, sand or even sawdust. As they became more sophisticated, the glass became thinner, the bases were lighter (Bakelite was popular during the Art Deco period) and the snow was made out of particles of gold foil or non-soluble soap flakes. For health and safety reasons, white plastic has become more common in the construction of modern snow globes. The liquid has evolved to light oil and then a mixture of water and antifreeze (glycerin or glycol). An added benefit was that glycerin and glycol slowed the descent of the snow. Caution should be taken if a snow globe is broken because the liquid, which can contain antifreeze, can be deadly to cats and dogs if ingested or licked off their fur.

Snow globes have appeared in a number of film scenes, the most famous of which is the opening of the 1941 classic Citizen Kane.

Their size and portability makes them ideal collectors items with prices ranging from $20 upwards. The most expensive one to date was a 2015 edition that included diamonds and were selling for $5000.00. Crafted by resident in America and originally from Melbourne,  Leah Andrews who is known as the ‘Queen of Snow Globes’, these little works of art came customised with five 0.07 carat diamonds that were affixed to the inner setting and five additional diamonds that remained loose within the sealed globe, so when you hold the globe upside down, the loose diamonds twinkled down the inner wall of glass.. 

Leah Andrews had this to say – “Each Snow Globe is hand sculpted and painted by my snow globe design and production company. I have worked with all kinds of materials but never with diamonds. This is a truly unprecedented initiative.”

Although this diamond sparkler was priced at 5k the original snow globe from 1889 of the Eiffel Tower held by Hollywood collector Andy Zito, was is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the collector with the mist snow globes at having 11,500, would fetch upwards of $20,000.00 according to snow globe experts.

Practically every subject under the sun has formed the mini-art picture in a snow globe since those first ones were made, although the ones featuring snow scenes, and Christmas, remain among the most popular.

You can start with some under $10 and work your way upwards - just remember they need a bit of TLC and the occaisonal dust-off.

Ours, as you may be able to see, only get displayed at Christmas time with the toy solider atop a toy rocking horse providing some musical qualities as that one has a music-box built in.

References And Extras

Antique paperweights were made in the "classic" years between 1845 and 1860 primarily in three French factories named Baccarat, St. Louis, and Clichy. Together, they made between 15,000 and 25,000 weights in the classic period. Antique paperweights, of which perhaps 10,000 or so survive (mostly in museums), generally appreciate steadily in value; as of August 2018 the record price was the $258,500 paid in 1990 for an antique French weight.

Antique Clichy Green & White Swirl Paperweight With Large Millefiori Center. Made in France in the Mid 1800s.


To say that the exhibition has been very successful would very feebly describe the actual facts. The French people have succeeded in attracting to the Champ de Mars the representatives of every nation in the world, who have brought with them complete and exhaustive collections of their products and manufactures. 

The Exhibition has attracted to Paris crowds of people from every quarter of globe in greater numbers than upon any previous occasion. Franco has shown to the world the. prosperity which she enjoys in consequence of her fertile soil, her liberal land policy, and her system of protection to native industry. Not only has she succeeded in all the essential portions of the task which she set out for herself, but she has demonstrated to the world that those very things for which emperors and monarchs specially exist thrive quite as well under a republic as under a monarchy. Never has Paris been more gay, never have the dinner parties, the balls and the receptions been upon a more brilliant scale. The only reigning sovereign who has up to the present time visited Paris is the Shah of Persia, but there, have been princes and arch-dukes by the score. Great Britain has been represented by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke of Connaught, Prince Leopold, and the Marchiones of Lorne ; Italy by the Duke of Aosta, late King of Spain ; Austria by two ot the arch dukes ; Belgium by the Count of Flanders, the heir presumptive to the throne, and the Countess; Holland by Prince Henry, Denmark by the Crown Prince and Princess, Russia by the Duke of Oldenburg. 

At many of the official receptions there have been royalties by the half-dozen, to say nothing of African princes, sons of the Khedive and the Bey of Tunis, who upon such occasions scarcely count. These entertainments have been so numerous that one has commenced to get tired of them, for, to say the truth, they are all very much alike. Magnificent staircases lined with the giants of the Republican Guard, passages draped with the tapestry of the Gobelins leading to salons brilliant with the light of thousands of wax candles hung in glistening chandeliers, gardens bright with myriads of lights and illuminated by colored fires, the gentlemen' wearing every conceivable uniform and the stars and ribbons of every possible order ; ladies, the married ones borne down by the weight of diamonds, the unmarried dressed with the simplicity of a boarding-school girl. 

The music is bewildering, and the.refreshments are delicious. Supper is generally very late, about two a.m. , and the proceedings terminate with a cotillion. One meets with almost the same faces at all these balls— whether they are those of the Marshal-President and the Duchess of Magenta at the Palace of the Elysee, of the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce at the Rue de Varennes, of the Minister of Foreign Affairs it the Quai d'Orsay, of the Minister of Finances at the Louvre, of the Minister of Public Works at the Boulevard St. Germain, or of the Prefet of the Seine at the Luxembourg. The guests consist of the members of the foreign embassies, the foreign commissioners, senators, deputies and officials, and the members of the Republican party. The Legitimists of the Faubourg St. Germain keep away from these entertainments, as they did from those of the Emperor NapoIeon; and the Bonapartists and the Orleanists follow the example of the Legitimists, although a few of them may occasionally be seen at the salons of the Marshal, the Duchess being popular amongst them, although they regard her husband as a backslider. The French aristocracy occasionally entertain, and foreigners more easily obtain admittance into the charmed precincts of the Legitimist valous than their own countrymen unless they are persons of correct opinions. 

Almost the only large reception at which persons of all shades of politics met upon common ground was that of the British ambassador, Lord Lyons, who gave a ball recently in honor of the Prince and Princess of Wales, at which not only were members of the Royal families of England, Denmark, Austria and Italy present, but what was conceived to be an even greater honor, the Bonapartist Princess Mathilda and a number of the old noblesse emerged from their retirement. One sees those dignified and exclusive people easily enongh at fancy fairs for the benefit of the poor of their parish, but into general society they rarely or never go. French beanty appears confined to two classes — the aristocracy. and the workwomen — the poor quarters and that of St. Germain. One meets with pretty girls on the Batignolles and Montmartre, and I met several it a small and early given by the Duchesse de B., and the Comtesse de C., who might have contested the prize for beauty with Venus. But in general French society, the ladies have rather to rely upon their toilettes and upon their grace of manner than upon their charms of person. 

The Australian courts are very attractive, and that of Victoria is certainly the best of them all. A number of small alterations have been made within the last month. The various catalogues are now ready, and a dozen little matters of detail, such as affixing full descriptions to each object, have been attended to. The trophy court is at last completed, and will be formally opened to-morrow (8th June) by the Prince of Wales. The Victorian trophies are very fine, The large wine casks, upon which are painted the names of the principal vineyards and of the exhibition at which Victoria has taken prizes ; the huge obelisk to represent the gold raised in the colony from the first discovery at Clunes to the present time ; the native woods, the waggon laden with wool, which is certainly the finest in the whole Exhibition ; the sheaves of wheat, oats and barley ; the skins and the native weapons, embellished as they have been by the same decorator who so successfully constructed the interior of the court, afford a very fine and complete coup d'ail. The trophies of the other Australian colonies, although perhaps not so artistic as that of Victoria, show resources quite as large and varied. New South Wales has a trophy of gold much' smaller than that of Victoria, but still of a size very respectable, vast ingots of copper and tin, coal and wool ; Queensland a still smaller obelisk of gold, a number of dummy bales of wool, maps and photographs ; South Australia an obelisk made to resemble copper, an iron safe, a stripping machine, grain, casks, and some grass trees. The delay in opening up the trophy court is no fault of the Australian colonies or their' representatives. By the express desire of the Prince of Wales, it was placed under the charge of Mr. Purdon Clarke; and he was unable to obtain possession of the tower from the French authorities until the last days of April, and even then the glazing had not been completed. Since that date much time has been lost, principally from the quantity of work which Canada had to get through. But the effect, now that the court is ready, is very fine, and demonstrates in a very striking and remarkable manner the greatness of the colonial empire of England. Mr. Levey, who is in charge of the Victorian department, has been appointed by the Prince of Wales one of the British jurors for the meat and fish section ; Mr. Coombs, of New South Wales, and Mr. Boothby, South Australia, have also been appointed jurors. Messrs. Alcock and Zevenboom, two of the honorary commissioners, passed through Paris on their way, one to London the other to Amsterdam,' but only remained two days in the French , metropolis. Mr. N. J. Fallon, another honorary commissioner, remained some time in Paris, but is now at London. Mr. Coombs, the executive commissioner for New South Wales, has arrived, and is in charge of the exhibition of that colony ; and Mr. Boothby is still  the representative of South Australia. New Zealand has a commissioner but no exhibits ; and Tasmania, which has sent two bales of wool to the Victorian court, has six hams in that of New South Wales. The first meeting of the jurors is to take place on the 8th inst., upon which date those belonging to the British Empire have been requested to meet The Prince of Wales in his pavilion, and it is expected that the work of the jurors will commence on the 12th instant.

The Prince of Wales appears to take s great deal of interest in all the Australian courts, and especially in that of Victoria, to which he and the Princess of wales paid a second visit on 14th May.  I do not think' there much difficulty in getting the Prince to open an exhibition in Victoria, should one be held there. 

The Victorian department has also been inspected by the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark, the ex-King of Spain, the Austrian Arch-Duke, the Count of Flanders, Marshal MacMahon and General Grant, the ex-President of the United States of America. . 

The most important lesson taught by the present exhibition is the extent to which every country in Europe is turning its attention to the manufacturing industry. The Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia showed the British manufacturer the importance of the cotton, iron and woollen industry in the United States. The Paris Exposition has made him realise that the process which has changed the United States from customers into competitors is going on in every European country, not only amongst nations like France, Belgium and Northern Germany, who have always been in the front rank of progress, but amongst peoples who are generally regarded as mere producers of raw material — hewers'of wood and drawers of water. 

The courts of Italy, Russia and Spain show that not only do those countries work up their own products, but that they actually import raw cotton, and turn out an article which, if not quite, equal to that produced in Lancashire, is at suiy rate well adapted to the grants of the local market, of which it enjoys is virtual monopoly owing to heavy import duties. Well might the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs reply recently to a deputation from the Yorkshire and Lancashire Chambers of Commerce that free-trade was making no progress in Europe. The only countries which have adopted that system are Great Britain  and Holland, and the colonies of both nations show no tendency to follow the example set by the parent states. India is now importing raw cotton from America, in order to mix with the products of her own fields. Japan is about to impose a proteotive duty in favor of its mannfactures, and from one end'of the world, to the other the universal movement is in favor of protection. 

The Italian court is of conrse strong in representatives of the decorative arts ; the filagree work of Genoa, the mosaics of Rome and Florence, the glass of Venice and the corals of Naples are well represented. There are, besides, a number of statuettes — they do not deserve to be termed statues— from all parts of Italy. They are generally pretty ; some meritricious, but few of them have any pretentions to be termed works of art. Girls bathing, griaettes in maschera, pretty chubby children, and groups of old women washing the faces of dirty little boys, have the same relation to the legitimate works of the sculptor, that photographs of pets of the ballet, and engravings of prize fights, bear to paintings. The class of persons who send statuettes to exhibitions content themselves with producing works which, like Peter Pindar's razors, are made to sell. In that object the artists succeed very well, but their marbles are mere pot-boilers, only that and nothing more. But if the Italian court is rather weak in art, it is much stronger than any person could have imagined in manufactures, and in the display of solid and substantial wealth. In addition to the various agricultural products for which Italy, ditissima terra, has been celebrated since the days when Virgil wrote the Georgics, wheat, maize, wine and olives, and the more modern introductions of tobacco and maccaroni. There are a number of minerals, which show that the mining wealth of Italy has been much underrated. In addition to the sulphur and marble, for which the Peninsula has always been renowned, there is lead from the neighborhood of Genoa, and copper from Tuscany. The asbestos found in the neighborhood of Rome has been worked up into a number of articles of clothing, which require neither washing nor brushing, since they can be cleaned by the simple process of putting them in the fire. Silk, oil and the native woods of Italy are well represented; and there is a large collection of cottons and cloths; locomotives, steam and traction engines, carriages, boots, laces, umbrellas, pigments and dyes, hemp in its raw and manufactured state, bells of exquisite tone, clocks and watches. In short, Italy seems to have turned its attention to manufactures, and there seems no reason why she should not succeed, for she has an abundant supply of labor, although she has to contend with the scarcity and dearness of fuel. 

The Chinese and Japanese courts are side by side, so close as to enable one to see at a glance the great diversity between the genius and habits of the two peoples. The Chinese court is just what it would have been had the exhibition been held a quarter of a century ago. There is the same Chinaman, dressed in the orthodox pig tail, and looking as if he had just stepped off one of the tea chests that grocers exhibit in their windows ; the same gaudy coloring, rich embroidory and ornate carving. There are georgeous screens, wonderful carvings and elaborate embroideries, all in the most showy colors; Chinese beds, some in ebony and others in cane, ceramic ware of all descriptions, excellent in workmanship, bright in color and fauty in design. There are coins, medals and amulets ; animals, birds and insects ; models of Chinamen and Chinawomen, the latter with the wonderful headdress and the tiny feet which they all affect, the latter the exact counterparts of the Chinese attendants at the court, save that the former can mutter "no savee " in reply to any inquiries that are made, and that the latter are quite inarticulate. But conservative as the Chinese undoubtedly are, the court shows that they are making some attempts at improvements. The agricultural implements do not seem to have made much progress since the days of Confucius, but there are two or three novelties. There is an imitation of the Californian pump, and a sort of horse-power which shows that the Chinamen who return from California and Australia take with them some of the improvements which have been introduced by the civilisation of the West.

The Japanese court bears testimony to, the wonderful progress being made by that most extraordinary people. In addition to the ordinary specimens of Japanese art, ceramic ware; marquetry, vases and metal work, there are a number of modern manufactures. There are huge blocks of coal and copper, models of mines and of smelting establishments, samples of the rocks, fauna and flora of the various islands which constitute the empire, specimens of the paper - which the Japanese make from rice, of the books which they print with it, of the stamps now in the Post Office department, and of the various methods employed in the cultivation of silk and tea. The exhibit of the Minister of Education is very important. It comprises models of the schools, which seem roomy and well ventilated, and the internal fittings of which are upon the model of those in the New England States, in which so many off the schoolmasters and mistresses have been trained. The children seem well taught, and to be particularly well grounded in everything which relates to hygiene. The maps used in the schools are very accurate, and a Japanese child has every opportunity of being thoroughly acquainted with geography. The marine department exhibits models of the various lighthouses on the coast, plans of tine ports, and maps, of the whole country. The Japanese Court is a microscosm of the Empire, and a visitor who has strolled through it and through the Japanese house and garden in the Trocadero will be able to form a tolerably correct idea of a country which twenty years ago was quite unknown to any European nation, except the Dutch. THE PARIS EXHIBITION. (1878, July 27). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from


M. Eiffel has drawn up for the Municipal Council of Paris a long descriptive note concerning tho construction of his tower, 300 metres high. The giant edifice will at the expiration of the 20 years' concession of the ground on which it is built, become the property of the municipality. In addition to the technical information, the note contains particulars of interest to the general public. In each of the east and-west pillars there will be flights of steps one metro wide, with numerous landings, leading by easy stages to the first floor. From that point to the second floor there will be a winding flight of steps, 60 centimetres wide, to each of the four pillars, two being for tho ascent and two for the descent of visitors. From the second floor to the top of the tower there will be a winding flight of steps, but it will not be for the use of the public. From the bottom to the first floor there will be also four lifts ; two lifts from the first to the second floor, and one lift from the second floor to the top of the tower. The ascension is not to occupy more than 7min. It is estimated that no fewer than 5000 people will be able to visit the tower in the course of a single hour, Running round the first floor or platform there will be a covered gallery or arcade, and in the centre four pavilions destined for restaurants or cafes, each capable of containing from 500 to 600 persons. There will he an Anglo-American bar, a Flemish beer establishment, a Russian restaurant, and a French restaurant. The second floor or platform will be reserved for visitors to walk about to admire the view, and at the very top there will be a glazed room, measuring 18 square metres, from which visitors will be able to view the prospect of  120 square kilometres without being exposed to the wind. THE EIFFEL TOWER. (1889, March 23). The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 5 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved from

The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, from 6 May to 31 October 1889. It was held during the year of the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, an event considered symbolic of the beginning of the French Revolution. The fair included a reconstruction of the Bastille and its surrounding neighborhood, but with the interior courtyard covered with a blue ceiling decorated with fleur-de-lys and used as a ball room and gathering place. The exhibition was "used as showcases for scientific and technological advances, but also often included exhibits of objects from the past, including prehistoric times." (Muller-Scheessel). A close collaborator of the baron Haussmann, Jean-Charles Alphand, head of the Paris Department of Public Promenades and Plantations, is the organizer of the fair.

The main symbol of the Fair was the Eiffel Tower, which served as the entrance arch to the Fair. The 1889 fair was held on the Champ de Mars in Paris, which had been the site of the earlier Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, and would also be the site of the 1900 exposition. Since the lifts had not been completed when the Exposition opened, the first visitors had to walk up to the second floor platform. Workers had worked through the night the day before the exhibition opened to complete the necessary construction needed to safely allow patrons to set foot upon the structure. When speaking of the dedicated workers, M. Salles, the son-in-law of Gustave Eiffel made the statement that "no soldier on the battle field deserved better mention than these humble toilers, who, will never go down in history." 


One of the most notable objects of this year's exposition in Paris is certainly the Eiffel tower, named from the constructor Eiffel, and finished March 31st. The reader knows that this immense and bolt iron structure, which is 984 feet high is by far the highest building 111 the world. In our illustration we show the Eiffel tower in connection with some of the highest structures of the world and the General Post Office, Adelaide, all being drawn on the same scale. Only by such a comparison as is made possible by this cut can one realize the size of this new wonder of the world. The highest structures of ancient times are the pyramids of old Egypt, the highest and best preserved of which are the pyramid of Cheops, near Ghizeh (450 feet high), and that of Chephren, (448 feet high). Both of these are less than half as high as the Eiffel tower. Heretofore the highest building in Europe was the Cologne Cathedral, (about 520 feet high), and the highest in America the Washington monument, (about 555 feet high). Both are greatly surpassed in height by the Eiffel tower. To give the reader an idea of the comparitive heights of the Eiffel tower and the buildings nearest it, we have shown in the picture a few of the highest structures in Paris, viz., Notre Dame (223 feet high), the dome of the Pantheon, (272 feet high), and the Column Yendome, (144 feet high).


THE EIFFEL TOWER, PARIS, AS COMPARED WITH SEVERAL OTHER HIGH STRUCTURES AND THE G.P.O., ADELAIDE. our Illustrations (1889, July 1). The Pictorial Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1885 - 1895), p. 4. Retrieved from