Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trippensee tellurion/ planetarium : A collectors guide

     Why do people love tellurions....?   Well for me it's a mechanical sculpture.  Add in a dose of history, and suddenly it's a 100 plus year old  apparatus that still works, and could if desired go right back into a classroom tomorrow.   If an antique globe is holding history, then an antique tellurion is history in motion!    
     When I wrote about planetariums and tellurions back in 2014, it quickly became and still is one of my most viewed posts.  This is telling me that there is a lot of interest in the collector market surrounding them.   It is with this in mind that I write this post as a bit of market analysis, as well as a rough guide for collectors looking to acquire one.
     I keep mentioning Trippensee because they are 90 plus percent what your going to find available in the market place.   That is not to say they were alone, there were earlier devices and some competitors over the years but they dominated.  Hence my concentration.
A pre 1908 Laing/ Trippensee
in exceptional condition
     The oldest Trippensee Planetariums are actually  re-branded Laing devices. They are characterized by string pulley systems and wooden gears. Rare and expensive they are seldom seen and usually need professional attention to be functional, they all sport the same Rand McNally 1891 globe as later models.

      The oldest planetariums of Frank Trippensee's design came in 1908 and they feature the maple construction, brass, and chain drives as is seen in the picture at the top of this page, they were manufactured roughly from 1908-1925. The later maple planetariums of the 1920's had oval name plates with serial numbers stamped on.
Planetarium from 1925-1940
 Around 1925 and continuing until 1940 or so Trippensee planetariums were still made of wood, but now the wood was painted black, they also had oval name plates with serial numbers.  The 4th and really final iteration of The Trippensee design is the switch to Bakelite and plastic, gone are the brass, and wood of older designs in favor of newer materials, these designs are technically still made today, they are date stamped under the weighted base.
     So what should a collector consider if they want to add a planetarium to their collection.   I'll be upfront and tell you that I've been researching these devices for quite a while but I've only managed to acquire one example.    With that admission I do think I can offer some advice when it comes to finding, buying, and restoring these devices.

look for no missing parts and
an intact globe
1.  Condition is everything,  it is far more desirable to buy a tellurion in working condition than to buy one in a state of disrepair. The price difference between a tellurion in excellent condition and one in fair condition is dramatic. As much as 50-70% less if missing parts or not working!  Pay special attention to the globe, and the sun.  It is far more desirable to have an intact globe and a brass sun without dents.   That said, these are fairly simple and straightforward, all the works is exposed so troubleshooting is not impossible.  Now, a piece of missing chain....? OK that's a straightforward fix.  However if the tellurion you are considering purchasing is missing parts other than the chain I would stay away, they are just too costly to fix, and finding replacement parts is next to impossible.

2. Age, these things have been made for 120 years,  obviously the newer the tellurion the less expensive it will be to acquire.  Excellent examples from Laing, are most valuable, then very early Trippensee planetariums.  Far less valuable are the Bakelite and plastic models of the 1950's,  even less valuable are the electrified versions of the mid 1960's.  The black painted wooden planetariums certainly command more than the Bakelite ones but always seem to sell at a discount to the maple wood planetariums,  on the order of 20-40% less.

     So lets get down to it, what will it cost to add a nice early Trippensee planetarium to your collection ?  I've been researching these for years and the market is wide ranging for example the high water mark was achieved at Sotheby's NY this past December  They sold a near identical Tellurion to mine for $6800 including buyers premium,  an outlier of a price to be sure.  More down to earth  In 2016 Brunk Auctions of Asheville NC  sold an early Trippensee for $2800.   Also in December in NY  Bonhams  sold an early tellurion for only $685,  it was missing the compass and the name plate on the arm,  this shows how missing parts just destroy the value!  Incidentally I paid $2750 for my example, I think I did OK, I plan on keeping it for a long time.
Mid century tellurion, look for a
complete and functional model

     So I know what your thinking,  I don't need a really early tellurion I'd  be just as happy with a later model.  Well lately those have been landing anywhere from $500- $900 depending on condition.  I can't recommend buying a mid century tellurion unless it's in quite nice shape and completely working.  don't spend money on a project piece at this level.

     Now finding a tellurion for sale takes some time.  I can recommend starting you search with  Murray Hudson antique Maps, Prints, and Globes  He usually has a nice example Trippensee in stock and available for purchase.  Also you can try George Glazer Gallery  He oftentimes will have a nice tellurion in stock for sale as well.  After that they do turn up on eBay from time to time, as well as at large and small auction houses alike.   The difference will be a dealer will stand behind the sale 100%, whereas an auction house is always buyer beware.

***The Laing photo at the top of the page, and the 1925-40 photo are with thanks to Murray Hudson, the last photo in this post is with thanks to Dee from Upstarts***

Monday, March 12, 2018

Trippensee Planetarium, an in depth look

     Trippensee planetariums are an object that demonstrate cross collectability perfectly.  Globe collectors love them, general scientific instrument collectors love them, and astronomy collectors also covet them. That is not to mention that their mechanics and clockwork like design also appeal on a sculptural/ steam punk level. Because of this,  prices for good examples of these planetariums have seen a steady rise. In fact dare I say they are the strongest segment of the globe/ instrument market.
     I've been in that market for several years trying to obtain a great example.  I've been constantly chasing higher and higher auction prices in pursuit of one, always falling short. Any regular reader of this blog will know that I'm allergic to overpaying.  I'm sure in a rising market this has been my main stumbling block.   Well just a short time ago I was finally able to obtain an example of a Trippensee Planetarium, and dare I say it's quite a nice one,  lets explore.....
Trippensee planetarium c 1908-1920

     I have here a 1st generation Trippensee Planetarium.  This is characterized by the maple wood construction, later examples are made with black painted wood, still later Bakelite and plastic. This one is early. The maple construction dates this Planetarium from 1908-1925.   It's near impossible to pin down the date more specifically because the construction stayed the same for many years. Even the globe was used for many years without geography updates. You see geography was not important on these devices, so why pay the expense of updating the globe.
     So let's examine the fine points of this Planetarium.  This example is all original, no replacement parts, and no restoration.  The small Globe ( by Rand McNally) is the most delicate and therefore usually the first piece to show heavy wear. Here we see that the globe remains bright, legible and near completely intact.
 The next area of concern for these planetariums is the brass sun, they do dent fairly easily, and the brass wears away sometimes. Here again dents have been avoided and the brass finish, though not perfect does retain its luster.   All of the gears are intact with proper chains. The compass built into the arm is of course present and functional.  This example functions smoothly and correctly, in fact my son and I played with it quite extensively and it is a robust mechanism. I see why these have survived in such numbers even 100 years later.
     I would be hard pressed to find a better example.  It was especially important for me to find one with an intact and clean globe.   I did not find this one inclusive of the original wooden crate,  a precious few still boast this. Trippensee Planetariums can be broadly placed into 4 age categories each with its fine points to consider as well as price differences.
Trippensee patent drawing 1908
     The oldest Trippensee Planetariums are actually just re branded Laing devices. They are characterized by string pulley systems and wooden gears. Rare and expensive they are seldom seen and usually need professional attention to be functional, they all sport the same Rand McNally globe as  these later models.  The oldest planetariums of Frank Trippensee's design came in 1908 and they feature the maple construction, brass, and chain drives as is seen in the picture at the top of this page, they were manufactured roughly from 1908-1925. The later maple planetariums of the 1920's had oval name plates with serial numbers stamped on.
     Around 1925 and continuing until 1940 or so Trippensee planetariums were still made of wood, but now the wood was painted black, they also had oval name plates with serial numbers.   I have been trying to purchase one of these for a while and I decided some time ago that when I did purchase one of these devices I wanted it to be one of the earlier versions.  Nothing against the Bakelite and plastic planetariums of the 1950's these older examples just appeal to me more. I'm clearly a sucker for the brass, wood , and paper combination.  it just screams I'm old I'm from a different time, and I love that.
2 versions of the same 3 inch globe
     A while back I wrote a blog post titled, " sometimes it's OK to overpay"  well this in my mind is one of those times.   Every year that clicks by these devices become harder and harder to find.  It was with this in mind that i decided the time to move was now.   Also when you love something it's OK to pay up to obtain such a thing.
     I wouldn't be a globe blogger if I didn't take time to explain more about the globe used on these planetariums.  It is a copyright 1891 Rand McNally 3 inch orb.  Rand McNally produced this globe as the smallest in their line and fastened it to a multitude of different bases.  It's no surprise then when Laing/ Trippensee needed a small globe for their tellurion they went to Rand McNally.  This globe with it's 1891 geography was used into the 1930's on these tellurions, earning a far longer life than would have otherwise been warranted. To the right is a picture of my Rand McNally 3 inch next to the tellurion globe. Both cartouches are in the shape of a shield, one reads Rand McNally, the other Trippensee, but they are otherwise identical.
     in closing while researching I stumbled onto something intriguing, a patent from Frank Trippensee dated 1909 for a different model tellurion.  An expanded device that added a second horizontal arm and then attached a Mars globe at it's end.  You can read the complete patent documents here: Trippensee mystery planitarium   I can't find any record of this device actually being manufactured ..............what might have been........
Trippensee patent  for expanded Mars tellurion, 1909


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Just a quick update

     Well i've been absent from the blog for a couple of months.   However that is about to change, look for some interesting new posts just around the corner.   Buying has been sporadic as of late but research is ongoing.  Remember collecting is 10% buying and 90% learning ( perhaps I'm too generous on the buy side)
     Coming up I'm going to review some very interesting auction results, as well as I'm going to share a very special addition to my collection.     Until then  happy hunting.......

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Joslin globe catalog. An amazing find

     I want to share a couple of interesting items that came my way over the holiday season.  Again keeping with my interest in globe related ephemeral items .  Sometimes you hunt for things, and there are long stretches of time where nothing great turns up.  Then once in a while the stars align.

1.  Pictured here is a Joslin globe catalog,  this item blew me away when I saw it for sale as I'd never seen one like this before.   Every other Joslin catalog I've ever seen is essentially a few pages at the back of one of their globe manuals.  This is a 21 page catalog talking about every globe in their lineup, 6 inch, 9.5 inch, 12, and 16 inch globes. They mention Terrestrial, Celestial, as well as slated globes in various sizes.   A wealth of information I've checked World cat, the Newberry, BPL, and Library of Congress and no other copy turns up,  rare....certainly,  quite a thing.
     So why is this important,  well a catalog like this is the best way to learn about what was probably the most prolific globe maker in the United States in the 19th century.   I'm trying to figure out how old this catalog is, and two clues come up. Firstly Joslin is offering 9.5 inch globes, but no mention of 10 inch sizes....??  Secondly  Joslin became "Gilman Joslin & Son" in 1874 and thought this catalog the firm is referred to plainly as "Gilman Joslin"  So is this catalog early 1870's...?  I'm not sure yet,  Joslin offered the same styles of globes for decades so there are no clues there.
     Now I have a great back story as to how I came about this globe catalogue.   Christmas eve, a house full of people, and yours truly decides to do a quick eBay search,  so on the sly as everyone else is chatting, and eating I sneak on eBay, trying to hide my typing from everyone.  There it is as a 9 day auction,  so I do as I do and I fire off a BIN offer to the seller,   coincidentally the seller is in Japan of all places so two things work in my favor, 1 it's already morning, and 2 Though Christmas, it's just not as widely celebrated in that country.  So I get an almost instant reply, the BIN price is added, and at 9pm Christmas eve I buy myself this stocking stuffer,  I love it!!     Now this item was purchased at a book fair in Tokyo.  How a 130 year old American globe catalog came to be in a booksellers booth in Tokyo ( 6700 miles from Boston) I'll never know.  But as Larry McMurty aptly says  "anything can be anywhere" .

2. Next up I scored a great manual for Holbrooks Lunar Tellurion.  via Abebooks and a seller in Nebraska I was able to obtain this:
     This manual dates to 1888 and was included with each Tellurion purchased, keeping in mind that at this time the Holbrook products were all made by Andrews in Chicago, and they interestingly made their own similar Tellurion.  This manual is illustrated nicely, and will prove a great reference if I ever get ahold of the Tellurion that goes with it.. If your reading this and own the tellurion please contact me and I'll pass the manual on to you for the price I paid .

 I have one more interesting tid bit about this manual, It arrived in the most interesting envelope I've ever handled.  here's a pic:
16 vintage stamps, plus 21 additional cents!!! 

     This envelope was covered in 40 year old stamps!!   Plus an additional 21 cents modern postage required to mail this package. 18 cent stamps were out for less than a year before they bumped to 20 cent stamps both in 1981.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Upgrading a collection, knowing when it's time to sell

     If you've collected anything for any length of time you've then probably sold something along the way as well.   10 years ago in my zeal for building my collection I bought some things that didn't fit later on.  I've talked about them before but now I want to talk about the process a bit more in depth.
     A pragmatic collector realizes that at certain times removing an item from ones collection is just as important as adding an item.  If we're not to become hoarders we must constantly evaluate the items in our collections with an eye towards improvement and with focus on our goal as long term collectors.  Let me demonstrate with some examples.

Example 1: Weber Costello 8 inch school globe, 1928

This is a great globe that I've had in my collection for many years.  It's representative of a classic 1920's classroom globe, and it's in very nice shape, but it's destined to be sold someday.  Why you ask......?  Well because someday I'm going to run across  a stunningly perfect example of this globe, they are not uncommon and surely that day will come.  When it does it's out with the old and in with the new.  I won't hold onto two examples of the same globe I call this the "upgrade sell" it is probably the most common reason an advancing collector sells anything.  

Example 2:  Crams 16 inch political floor globe, 1938 very first globe purchase.......a quality floor globe, in great shape.  I bought this globe when I knew nothing about globes its big, its nice and eventually it's going bye bye....  I'm generally a bit of a sentimentalist but I've got to be a pragmatist also.  I don't own a warehouse, and floor globes are big bulky furniture. I've got room for 1 maybe 2 exceptional floor globes, or a nice pair of floor globes ( ideally actually) so what's wrong with this pre war Cram's.....?  Nothing!  It's just one of those eventual sales that will take place as another "upgrade sell" .  Another collector will have a chance to love this globe as much as I do because I'll be busy loving a new floor model 1885 Andrews.... for example....!!    The upgrade sell...........

Example 3: H. Kiepert miniture globe 1896

 I like this globe, it's stunning in it's detail close up.  and the compass still works!  It's actually dated at 1896 in the cartouche, it's 120 plus years young, and earlier this year the circumstances were right for a sale.  Now this little gem is complicated. It's in marvelous shape, near pristine.  I decided to part with this one eventually because it just does not fit the narrative of my collection. I'm trying to build a collection that focuses on the history of American globe making, and this little guy is German.  Now the German history and additions to the art of globe manufacture are incredible,  they just don't fit my collection, this gem of a globe will be more happy in another collection. 

     Knowing what to buy, and knowing what to sell in a collection are equally important.   When your a new collector you focus on acquisition nearly 100%.  I've had globes before that just a few years earlier I figured I'd never part with.  Buying and holding everything.....well that's hoarding threes a DSM-5 code for hoarding now ( 300.3  BTW)   So I never want to be called a hoarder that's mental illness!!  ( OK tongue in cheek)  no seriously..... it is.   
     Anyhow setting goals, smart buying, education ( that's the big one)  and smart selling.  That's collection building 101,  that's connoisseurship.   That sounds so much better.   

Merry Christmas,  Happy Hanukkah,  Joyous Festivus ( Dec 23) ,  Lest we forget my favorite Boxing day!!    

Friday, December 8, 2017

The lure of estate sales........Knowledge is power

     I love estate sales, or as my Canadian neighbors say "content sales"!  There is something quite alluring about rummaging through a whole household that is there for the picking.  I probably attend 100 or so estate sales a year, usually plotting a route that takes  me to 3-5 sales on an early Friday morning ( it's always early and it's always Friday).  I go to the posh downtown dwellings and the off the grid family farms, and I've scored at both venues.
     I never find a globe at these sales,  good globes are needless in a haystack really.   Well that all changed this past Friday.   While casually glancing through the app I use to find these sales I saw a picture of a globe, it was old , a 12 inch table globe that had to be mid 19th century.  Below is the picture I saw.

This photo taken from the estate agent's post on
social media, the globe as bookend! 
     I knew it was something, what exactly I could not know for sure,  well 25 miles away I raced down the thruway to the "Delaware " district of Buffalo and their 100 year old mansions. This house didn't disappoint, almost 7000 square feet of 1890's gilded age splendor.  I ran in the door , 14 steps ahead of my lovely wife who was still parking the car ....... I was 5 minutes late.... just purchased.
     So what was it that I missed,  never shy I walked right into the corralled area sold merchandise is kept and discovered that my 5 minutes cost me a Smiths of London desk globe, and at a measly $250 what a steal that was for the lucky buyer.   Dejected I probably let some other great finds slip past as I smarted about my near miss.  Such is life.

Smith's globe for a mere $250.........

Smith's globe despite plaster cracks, otherwise intact 

    Despite this failure I I always persevere, later that day I found for just a couple of dollars a great guidebook to the 1901 Pan American exposition, complete with 2 fold out maps, certainly not a retirement piece but still a great little thing.  You should know that my house is full of estate finds large and small.  Here's a pic of my consolation prize:

     Now in the antique business estate sales are where the sausage is made so to speak. That Smiths globe purchased for $250 will most likely be sold on by the picker to a mid level dealer. As a fairly specialized item it might get another quick sale to a higher level dealer ( a 1st dibber )  that person will then contact Green Dragon bindery or another highly reputable restoration company and they will spend the $1000-$2000 it will take to make this globe perfect again,  after these investments. That high end dealer will offer it for sale in NYC, or Boston,  at a price probably approaching $5000.  So from found at $250 to high end object In  3 steps !
     Antiques move quite often from estate sale to dealer, to collector and back again, with smart people along the way who see value in items differently than the object's present circumstance.  Knowledge is currency in the estate market, and time along with exposure to these sales is the only way to accumulate this currency!   The hunt at it's best!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A conversation with Jake Moore of Omniterrum

     Recently I had a chance to "sit down" with Jake Moore who is the owner of Omniterrum,  I first came to know Jake through his other antiques business Cleveland Park Vintage .  I stumbled into this web shop several years back and was immediately "at home" with the merchandise and style Jake presented.  A bit over a year ago Jake took the reins of Omniterrum.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Omniterrum because they really set me on my current globe collecting path, and fully 20% of everything in my collection comes from the good folks at Omniterrum.  Below I encourage you to read and get to know Jake a bit better.

1.  Tell us about yourself?

History degree from U. Texas, Masters in Architecture from University of Oregon and I travel. A lot. I've just moved back to Austin, Texas after a decade-ish in Oregon, DC, and Poland.

2. What makes you passionate about antiques?

I got into antiques through my mom who is a collector. I am mainly drawn to a few things: a link to the past, design aesthetics, and the hunt. Once I find a great item, I'll happily spend hours with it trying to learn more about it and its past.

3.  What draws you to antique cartography, especially globes?

Globes were an early love of mine and I really think it makes total sense when you look at what my background is; they are the perfect combination of history, design, and travel! A great antique globe will show what the world looked like at a particular time - you can track Manifest Destiny, the World Wars, the colonization of Africa, the rise of trans-Atlantic steamships, radio towers, the Graf Zeppelin, the race to the Poles and so much more. But they all have a different look and some are simply more appealing than others. I personally like the cartography of 1920's French globes, and the industrial bases of many of the American globes from the 30s and 40s. But no matter what globe I'm looking at, they make me think about travel. My hometown, favorite places I've been, or the next big trip.
A sampling of Omniterrum's wares

4. How did you get involved with Omniterrum? 

I knew Kim from the Internet. I had bought a couple pieces and talked to her about a few others. I was living in DC and running an online store called where I sold globes and other vintage pieces. I made a point of traveling the 4 hours down to Lynchburg to visit the store in person. When she decided to go back to her former career, she reached out and asked if I'd be interested in taking over. I declined at first because I was in the process of moving to Poland and wasn't going to be able to give the project the appropriate attention. When I left DC, I sold off all my belongings (including my globes) and drove back to Texas for a few weeks. Kim asked one more time and I decided it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up! Its been a trying year and half with moving to Poland, spending several months traveling in the Balkans and Caucasus Regions and moving back to Texas, but I'm finally getting back on top of things and will be catching up with a ton of new listings over the next few months. And it wasn't all wasted in Europe, I found some amazing pieces and made some great contacts with shops and globe makers that I'm hoping to do some new projects with soon.

5.  I have always thought, that Americans and Europeans have quite different relationships with old things including antiques,  do you see that? 

Absolutely. For starters, what Americans consider "old" is very different than Europeans! We are a young country and as a result, we have relatively young items. For globes specifically, Europeans have tended to look at them as scientific instruments. We tend to see them as decor. That attitude plays a huge role in how we price/value them as well. I'd wager that the overwhelming majority of globe buyers in the States, just want a $25-50 globe that is "pretty." They won't care if its from the 80's or 60's or pre-WW2 or from the early 1800's. Because its "just decoration" the globe is valued like any other option for decorating your home. And this is totally fine - its how/why I started buying globes. In Europe, there tends to be a little more respect paid to the globe, and therefore, they tend to command more money.

6. Why does it seem so many millennials look past antiques?

I'm not so sure I see that. I think there are huge numbers of millennials that are collecting and buying vintage/antique pieces. The difference might just be in which categories are popular now. There's been a big push back toward learning trades, small batch products and craftsmanship - Quality goods, locally sourced, shop small etc. Another issue is that many people are choosing (or forced!) to live in smaller homes than in the past, and so large pieces of grandma's furniture simply wont work for them. Its an interesting topic for sure.

7. What is the state of the market for antique cartography, globes especially? 

I can't speak for high end maps, but the globe market seems to be going pretty strong at the moment. Pocket globes and miniatures are commanding high prices and are getting really hard to source. Good quality globes are always going to sell, unfortunately its getting harder to sort through all the junk. And prices haven risen pretty substantially for what I'd consider entry level globes. You have all these boutique shops selling globes as decor pieces and asking crazy high prices for average globes, often in poor condition.

8. What advice can you offer a collector just starting out?

Only buy what you love and can afford. Nicks and scuffs are fine, but I'd avoid buying anything with major damage unless its dirt cheap. I also think its important to know why you're buying. It makes it easier to focus in on the right pieces for you.

9. What advice can you offer a long time collector? 

I'd say basically the same thing to them as well. Buy what you love and know why you're buying. Tastes, disposable income, shelf space, family circumstances all change over time and its perfectly natural to want to thin the collection, or adjust the focus, or to raise the quality of the pieces.

A Holbrook 3 inch hinged school globe Jake recently sold

10. What is your holy grail item? 

I have a few globes that I'm always looking for but I don't know if I have a "holy grail" per se. The Rand McNally Air Globe is the globe that I most want for my personal collection (which is pretty small actually), but I'm also fairly obsessed with a tectonic globe that was made in East Germany. These are relatively expensive but still manageable... but if we are talking unlimited budget, then its pocket globes all day long!

11. Touch on something I have not asked that you think is important? 
example of cleaning

Hmm... I could talk for hours about globes... One of the things that I have been getting into over the last couple of years is maintenance and repairing old globes. Restoration is way out of my league, but thorough cleaning, preventive care, and simple repairs or rewiring can really make a huge difference in your enjoyment of the globe. They can also add a ton of value back into the globe. I'll include a few before and after cleaning photos. I plan on officially announcing this service in the near future, but if anyone needs globes cleaned in the mean time please feel free to contact me at

Jake Moore

*** Special note Omniterrum via their Etsy shop is offering a 15% off sale going on now just follow this link:   Omniterrum globes Etsy sale 15% off

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Gilman Joslin 1860 six inch globe..........holding history

     I can't think of a more unsettled time in American history than 1860. America is on the verge of civil war, and in November 1860 we elect arguably the greatest man to ever hold the office of President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.  There are 33 states in our fragile union in 1860, some slave owning some free.  An active and many said inevitable Secession crisis grips our land. This small globe was issued in Boston by Gilman Joslin on the verge of a chaos this nation had never seen,  if that's not holding history in your hand then I don't know what is!   Lets take a look:

Joslin's six inch globe 1860
      This globe is a great example of the work being done by the Gilman Joslin firm in the mid 1800's.  Classic Joslin, turned wood base, tan oceans, brass meridian.   The geography is simplified, countries are denoted in separate colors but no state boundaries exist, major cities of the time are labeled. Much of Africa is empty and labeled as unexplored.  Alaska is " Russian America" that won't change for a few more years.  This globe is issued just before the American civil war.  There would be a period of time where resources were diverted and globe production stagnated just after this globe was issued. Follow this link to another example of this globe from the David Rumsey collection  This example has a more ornate stand suggestive of a collaboration with Merrium & Moore.
     The 1855-1868 period is an interesting time in the history of American globe making. Wilson, and Cyrus Lancaster are gone, Merrium & Moore and Joslin are the two globe powerhouses, (they probably share engraving/ gore production) With this in some ways being Joslin's most dominant time.  Almost all globes made in the USA during this time period that surface today are from either of these two firms, Holbrook and Charles Copley are distant number 3, and 4.   It would not be until 1868 that Schedler, and shortly Andrews come on the scene and start to take the globe market from Joslin and Moore. 

  This globe has an interesting feature that I'll address right away. It's mounted at what appears to be an odd angle....  Most globes we are used to looking at are mounted straight on, or tilted 23.5 degrees.  This one seems to break those rules. It's tilted to about 45 degrees.  Now when I first saw a globe mounted like that I'll be honest I figured it was a one off custom alteration. Then as time passed and I studied more I started seeing smaller globes of a certain time period, both English and American were often mounted in this fashion.  It was weird at first but in one way it is quite logical.  On a small globe like this it's much easier to see the geography if the orb is presented in such a manner.  Think about it for a second. this globe has a stationary meridian, so it only makes sense to tilt the globe so that it can all be observed on a desk or in a classroom without having to resort to turning the whole apparatus upside down.  At least now the globe can remain upright and sturdy but the student can still see south America and Australia.  Logical once you think about it.
     Notice too that in the base long ago someone drilled two holes, I'm sure that was an enterprising parent securing this little globe to a desk so as not to have junior knock it over and shatter it, remember in 1860 even this small globe was a rather expensive item to purchase.  Does that detract from the globe.....?   Some will say yes, many including myself will say no.  My reasoning is simple.  Those battle scars put this small globe in context, it was utilitarian, it was in the hands of a child, and it was expensive. Why not try and protect it from breakage? It speaks to the authenticity of the piece, brings it to life in my opinion. Besides the star of this show is the well preserved mapping. The orb itself sits in such amazing preservation, colors are still even, crisp, and well defined, the orb stands out as an exceptional example.  I should note the way I did these pictures is a bit deceiving. This globe is rather small standing just 9.5 inches tall and with a 6 inch orb it is a diminutive package!
A globe with a date stamped on it
can get out-dated pretty quickly
     If you collect American globes there are a few touchstone dates that are important to you.  One of those big dates is 1867, that is the year Alaska was purchased from Russia.  Globes from 1868 onwards show Alaska as part of the United States, those before show a huge Russian territory called Russian America.  Globe collectors often use these big map change periods to discern value to a point.  For example a globe from 1860 is much more desirable because of the changed political geography than one from 1868 showing a map that more closely resembles the present day.   Much like the 1889 pre and post Dakota split is also used to assign value, and guarantee age so to speak.   It's always amazing how quite recently our world was very different, Russian Alaska, nearly non existent antarctic, Europe dominated by empires, an empty Africa waiting to be explored!  These were all changes in the 19th century,  astounding if you step back for a second......

1855 Ide and Dutton school catalog
     This is one in a long line of 6 inch school centric globes made by Gilman Joslin, at left I have a screen shot of an 1855 catalog entry for the Joslin 6 and 10 inch globes. Quite a bargain being sold as a pair for $5.00 ($138 today)......I wonder where all those paired up celestial spheres are.........?   The search will continue......

     I am firstly a lover of history, as Americans ours is a short and tumultuous one, we've had growing pains as a country. When I hold a globe such as this one made in Boston, and dated 1860. I can't help but think about what was America like back then?  When as a nation we were barely 90 years old.  When this globe was made there were still people alive who were born in Boston as British subjects, they became Americans through revolution.........if that's not history in your hand.........

A trio of Joslin 6 inch globes 1846, 1860, 1885


Sunday, October 1, 2017

4 levels of globe collector, a working theory

     Sometimes I look at old auction catalogs, or  I drift over to 1st dibs to check out the inventory ( hey lightning struck once). So I read listings and see ads for globes that are sometimes priced up to and past $100,000.  Yikes that's a lot of money.  Well it's a lot of money to almost anybody.  It got me thinking just like you can buy a nice used car for probably $10k. You can also buy an Italian super car for $750k. They both have 4 wheels and will both get from a to b but  other than that there are vast differences between the two.  Just as in this hobby there are many similarities and many differences between that $100 eBay globe and Grahm Arader's $100000 globe.
     So what type of collector are you, what type of collector am I ?   Globe collecting is somewhat unique in that there is space for everybody.  I've met collectors through this blog that collect only globe banks, they have 40 or 50 different tin globe banks, some were $1 flea market finds, some were mint in box antiques for over $100  I've also crossed paths with some collectors that might actually take a serious look at a globe priced well into 5 figures if not approaching 6 .  They are two opposite ends of the collector spectrum, each collector happy and passionate in their own niche.
     I love to analyze and over think things, it's my other hobby  ha ha ha   so I wanted to over analyze those of us who are passionate about globes I have for this exercise divided us into 4 levels of collecting.  I will make mention that these levels are largely based on dollars spent on globes but also I want to include an X factor I'll label passion, or commitment.  You will see as we go on.

Level 1
Level 1
Level 1 collectors:  We all start out here even those who will eventually ascend to level 4 must start at level one the Novice,  When you buy your first globe, heck your first 3 globes you are level one.  Perhaps they are cool to look at, or look great on a shelf these purchases might not even be old, they just seemed great, and they look great.  Maybe you've always been interested in geography or politics, history or science and owning a globe or 2 or more seems great.   You are open to another globe purchase but you are not necessarily hunting for them.  You are price conscious, this isn't quite a hobby yet.  Spending anything past $100 or so seems absurd.  I actually broke this rule out of the gate I paid $325 for my first globe, a near mint Crams 16 inch floor globe from 1938  I saw it in an antiques store, and I kept coming back to it. I was drawn like a moth to a flame.  If you buy your first globe as I did for " real money"  it still makes you a novice, just a bit poorer novice....HA . Here are a couple examples of what I'd refer to as level 1 globes.

Level 2 collectors:  Things are getting interesting, you like how the globes look in your home, maybe you love studying the old geography, depending on the age of the globes you already own you want to know about who made these items, you actively try to learn about the globes already in your collection, and you are actively trying to learn about globes you don't own.  You see to me globe collecting is about learning, people who love learning, and who especially love history I think are naturally drawn to this hobby an old globe as an object of history is unrivaled it is quite literally history in 3D.   Unless you happen to own the wooden dentures or a stovepipe hat with a hole in it there is no better way to bring history front and center than an old globe.  People of all stripes are drawn to the Art and science that an old globe embodies.
Level 2
Level 2
     A level 2 collector wants to own history, they want to study an object for it's scientific and historical value , and they are willing to pay for the privilege.   In my mind a Level 2 collector will pay up for a nice globe in their price range they actively seek nice globes and they are starting to know what they are looking for. Here I'll show a couple of level 2 globes, again my opinion:

Level 3
Level 3 collectors are very serious collectors, at this level of interest the collector wants to own history. Yes absolutely. At this level a collector is interested in acquiring the best examples of what they collect that are available.  A level 3 collector will devote time and resources to their collecting. They may even work their collecting hobby into their existing budget.  Quality over quantity reigns supreme. The collector wants to learn everything about the globe, the globe maker, even going as far as studying archives, finding obscure source material etc.  This collector evaluates each new purchase from an aesthetic side, and from an understanding of history and geography.  A level 3 collector will inevitably start to specialize their collection weather that be a time period, a style, or a certain manufacturer.  This level of collector will certainly spend up for a great item.  They will find a way they will make things work.  Here are in my opinion a few examples of Level 3 globes.  I probably put myself in the category of a level 3 collector, I may never venture any higher.
Level 3  full mount Joslin

Level 4, Wilson
Level 4, Andrews
in original case
Level 4 collectors are In my opinion essentially level 3 collectors who are perhaps older, wiser, they are now collecting and upgrading their collection with a goal in mind. A level 4 collector is looking towards a future for their collection, they are realists. You can't take it with you.  A level 4 collector is seriously thinking about leaving their collection intact with a library, or museum.  They might wish to sell it en block to keep it intact. This level of collector is focused on making their passion available to others that might want to learn from them.  When a level 4 collector adds to his or her collection it is usually after great thought they are at a point where filling in the last reaming blank spaces of their collection is becoming harder, perhaps they are becoming more focused,  shifting focus or clarifying themselves.  Cost at this point is secondary to completeness, or acquiring that one exceptional piece. Globes at this level are all rare.  Most American globes pre 1835 are at this level.  Obscure short lived globe makers also qualify, such as Silas Cornell, or Pendleton. Condition reigns supreme, a level 4 collector wants rare items in fine condition, professional restoration and conservation are expected.  I in truth can't claim to own any globes that I could label level 4.  Globes in this category are rare birds indeed, here are a couple from other collections.

    Many people never venture past a level 1 or 2 in anything they collect, remember all those baseball cards, or garbage pail kids?  Seriously globes, as a sub set of map collecting are a niche within a niche we are a small group.  I've always thought that there are a few thousand globe collectors, a few hundred that are serious, and a few of those with a complete passion for it. I've always thought that globe collecting is a persuit that rewards knowledge far more than other collecting fields. Knowledge is a form of currency. Someone with patience and knowledge can amass an exceptional globe collection. The same can't be said of many other areas of collecting.
     So earlier I rated myself a level 3,  but I'm still a buyer at level 1, and 2 ,  I believe there are special globes at every price level.  You just have to go hunting with the knowledge of what it is you are looking for.........

***thanks to Vintage cals, Dee Wiemer,  Ben Z, and Murray Hudson, for use of some of the photos in this post***

Monday, September 18, 2017

8 inch Rand McNally celestial globe PURCHASE OPPRUTUNITY

      Every now and again, the stars align......ha.....  I have been informed via a fellow collector that he wishes to sell his Rand McNally Celestial globe and star finder.  Below I have many pictures of the actual item in question.

 This is Rand Mcnally's quite desirable celestial globe from the early 1930's it is mounted on a tripod ball and claw stand, it is complete with horizon paper intact.  I can confirm though not pictured that it even has the original instruction booklet titled " Astronomy Made Easy, by William Johnson.
     This globe is in very nice overall condition, it does have issue on one side of the globe there are three indents clearly visible in the 3rd, and 4th picture. I encourage you to zoom in for a better look.
    All three indents are visible and in close proximity, the rest of the orb is in exceptional condition.
     This globe stands in at a bit over 14" tall and as a celestial full
                                                      mount globe of nearly 85 years of age is an impressive piece.   The set screw that holds the orb to the stand is present ( often missing)  The horizon paper is nicely intact also this is easily damaged on many globes, but because it is such an integral part of this globe all the more reason to have it intact.  I should note that the poles are intact, as is the hour circle at the top of the globe.  All in all a nice package.  The globe and the accompanying original instruction book are being offered at:   $975 plus shipping.

 ***    I am posting this for the owner, please email me if interested and I will forward your interest to the collector and you and he will deal directly.  I make no commission on this, I'm delighted to be able to bring this globe to my blog community as an offer for sale.   So please contact me via email and I'll expedite your information to the seller. ***