My wife and I recently purchased a fine glass antique paperweight from L.H. Selman Ltd. in Chicago to serve as a centerpiece for our extensive Civil War collection of rare and first-edition books, manuscripts, autographs, paintings and artifacts. Until we visited the Selman gallery and museum at 410 South Michigan Avenue, in the historic Fine Arts Building, overlooking Millennium Park and Grant Park and the nearby Art Institute of Chicago, we didn't have any knowledge about paperweights. In less than two hours, we received a thorough education. Selman is a name that has been synonymous with the finest antique and contemporary paperweights for over 40 years. It is the premier dealer in fine art glass paperweights in the United States and its mission is to promote the very best by exhibiting and selling through its gallery and at auction the finest examples made in past centuries and by nurturing new talent emerging from independent studios. It's a fascinating adventure, viewing the largest collection of antique and contemporary paperweights in the world. After it's over, you understand that a paperweight isn't a simple desk accessory. The origin of glass paperweights can be traced to France in 1845, when glass factories such as Baccarat, Saint Louis and Clichy were competing to create the world's finest crystal luxury items, including water sets, tableware and inkwells, then paperweights. Collectors range from kings and American presidents to writers and investors to Truman Capote and Arthur Rubloff. L.H. Selman was introduced to paperweights in the mid-1960s. He began collecting them, started a small mail order business, created a publishing company to distribute information about paperweights, then founded the International Paperweight Society and Museum on South Michigan Avenue. In 2001, he was named "one of the Top Ten People of the 20th Century" to influence the paperweight art form. In 2009, he sold his business to Mitch and Ben Clark. They picked up the torch--or the paperweight--and the Chicago art scene remains in sterling condition.