Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A few for th eBay hall of fame

OK,  now I'm on eBay looking for needles in haystacks everyday.  Lately I've noticed an uptick in listings that are so badly priced I just can't stand it.  So lets review a few

Ah.... one of my favorites the Frankenstein globe, you see up top we have a half way decent  early 20th century globe by Rand McNally, actually a very nice horizon band.  However it's paired to a completely wrong not original base. Hence my Frankenstein comment.  Oh and don't get me going on the price, could this seller possibly reached any further into outer space on that price?  

Here's another of my favorites, the only thing VERY RARE
( all caps) is the amount of chutzpah it took to actually call this thing rare, or dare to ask $400 for the privilege.  I do love the photos taken in the bathroom,  wow.......

Now I looked at all the pictures this globe is actually pretty nice, It's got some age,  a nice patina, and it's from a respected maker. Pretty nice would be $250 or perhaps $300 on a good day .  $800  " SALE"  is the price in dreamland, not eBay......

I guess I'll never understand,  do people list crap all day on eBay thinking,  hummm.... a rich sucker is going to find this listing and buy it...??   No.... No they are not because suckers don't have $500  they are broke..  so why bother!!
   also just because something is old does not make it valuable,

    Well I've been on my soapbox for this post, education is power.  I hope people starting out in globes find this blog before they fall for an awful auction like my hall of shame up above.   I guess I'll never understand this sort of thing.  If I were going to spend $500 on something that I didn't know too much about I'd spend a little time researching things first.   Anyhow I want to say that I'm far from perfect,  I've been " had" so to speak but I hate to see anyone derailed in a hobby I enjoy so much because of the wild west that is eBay.

As always lets discuss, and don't hesitate to contact me if you've got something to sell, or just want to know more about I'm happy to help.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A conversation with George Glazer

     Recently I had a chance to have a " conversation " with George Glazer, an advanced globe collector specializing in American globes as well as a renound dealer in globes, and maps among other wonderful things.  Located in New York his website shares some of the best items he's known for, follow this link: George Glazer gallery: " an eye for the unusual "  George also offers an e-newsletter that can be subscribed to at that link, worthwhile in my opinion. Below, please find our interview. 

"I started collecting globes in the mid 1980s when I was a lawyer. My first major purchase was an early 19th Century English 18-inch floor globe by Bardin in about 1984.  I worked for W. Graham Arader, the map and print dealer, from 1988 to 1993. After working there I started my own gallery.  Our current location is 308 East 94th Street, on the Upper East Side in Manhattan." - George Glazer

1.  What attracted you to globes?  Many people collect maps but few seem to specialize in globes?

Originally my attraction to globes derived from my interest in antique English furniture and decorative arts. In particular English globes appealed to me visually.  They were of additional interest because of the cartography and in that they were also scientific instruments.

2. Do you focus on American globes?  If so why? 

Yes. I began to focus on American globes when I worked for W. Graham Arader.  In 1991, Arader bought many of the American globes at the Howard Welsh sale at Sotheby's New York.  I cataloged them and became very interested in them from a variety of perspectives.  It introduced me to James Wilson, America's first globe maker, and his goal of providing a less expensive alternative to English imported globes that also more accurately depicted the cartography of the United States. I also became interested in their use in geography education in schools in America in the 19th century. Another interesting aspect is that the stands of 19th Century American globes often followed decorative arts trends of the period differently than English and European globes. Finally, I was surprised that very little research and collecting of them had been done, so thought it would be a relatively new and open field for me.

3.  There's a fire at home you can grab one thing safely, what is it?

Concentric Terrestrial and Celestial Globe, Hugh Williamson/G.C. Wessmann, New York, 1867.  It is a terrestrial globe within a glass celestial sphere engraved with the constellations.
Concentric Terrestrial and Celestial globe
Williamson 1867

4. What item eludes you as a globe collector?

Any American globe that I have never seen any actual examples of before.

5. Are good globes getting harder to find? Does the internet help or hurt?

The internet has made them easier to find.  Still I have globes that I bought before the internet that I have not seen since. Mostly it just takes time for them eventually to turn up in the market.

6. What are your thoughts on restoration?

If a globe has damages, I generally have it restored. Of course, the globe has to be valuable enough to justify restoration. Also sometimes there are issues about whether a globe is best left in its “as found” state to preserve originality. In short, there are usually a lot of considerations in deciding which globe to restore and to what extent.

7. You are obviously an advanced collector, what advice can you offer to someone starting out?  Any advice for mid range collectors?

So much depends on each individual that it is hard to make a very general recommendation. If someone likes recent globes (c. 1930s to present) and they enjoy collecting them that is a great thing to do; they are relatively easy and inexpensive to get from dealers and auction. Someone else might want to form a collection of finer and rarer earlier globes, in which case it would be a good idea to establish a budget and do extra research in deciding what they like and can afford. Nonetheless, there is nothing like buying a few globes -- rather than just surveying the market -- to get a better idea of pricing, figuring out what you like, and to learn what you are doing from your good purchases as well as from any mistakes.

8. Anything I haven't asked that you'd like to touch on?

Just to encourage people to check my website, .  We offer a lot of globes for sale, and also have an archive of sold globes for research.

Friday, April 13, 2018

2 globe catalogs 1902 Rand McNally, and 1878 Schedler

     If your a regular reader of this blog you'll know that I'm always on the lookout for globe related items. Things like original handbooks, catalogs, and manuals being one of my favorites.   A couple of weeks ago I was able to add two exceptional pieces to my library.   Lets take a look and see what turned up.

1. First up Rand Mcnally globe manual and catalog of 1902:

This is a combination globe use manual ( 24 pages)  and a Catalog of globes for sale ( 36 pages) .  This catalog explains in great detail every globe in every variation that Rand McNally was producing in 1902.  That's only about 10 years after Rand McNally started making globes. They offered globes in 3 inch, 6, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 inches in 1902.
     Now I thumb through this catalog and It occurs to me Rand McNally globes from the turn of the 20th century are not necessarily rare, but they are becoming uncommon. How uncommon is a 116 year old catalog from the company?  As I read through this catalog It was surprising to see the depth and breadth of globes offered.  It also made clear that some of the least expensive globes that they made survive today in the greatest numbers.  They actually offered a category of "cheap globes"  could you imagine a manufacturer today referring to part of their product line as cheap?  
      Something else I discovered reading this catalog is that by 1902 the 3 inch globe was being offered only with a wooden base, they had discontinued the lotus leaf base and the well known glass magnifier base, thus those globes with those bases all pre date 1902.   This is just one of the tid bits in the catalog. A fascinating look at the marketing of globes from over a hundred years ago.

2. Schedler 1878 globe catalog:

     Next up I'm going even older,  The Schedler company of New Jersey and NY started producing globes in the 1860's and they continued until about the turn of the 20th century.  Yours truly does not own a Schedler globe..........yet......Not for lack of opportunity, I've had several chances but the pieces have not lined up quite right, usually a combination of price, or condition or timing has prevented me.     Anyhow if I can't have a Schedler globe just yet the catalog will have to do.  Now this is not necessarily a catalog in the traditional sense.

     The book I'm going to share with you today is titled "  Steiger's Educational Directory 1878"  Well what a title, I'll boil it down, it's essentially a directory of schools located in the United States, Germany, Austria, and " British Dominions" .  This information takes up  100 pages,  the next 215 pages are a catalog of the E. Steiger company's offerings for sale.  Inside this portion of the book, a full 18 pages are devoted to the globes, and related planetaria of the Schedler company.  It is these 18 pages that I was after when I bought this book.

     Here are just a few samples from this odd ball of a book.  It's interesting that in the preface the E. Steiger company mentions that this will be an annual publication but it must have been unsuccessful because the 1878 edition is the first and last known to have been printed.  It's really beautifully bound with an embossed cover, and guilt lettering.  It's also a large book almost 8x11 inches.  E. Steiger was a German immigrant who owned a school supply business, and publishing company, and Schedler was also a German immigrant who owned a globe making business.  I've never seen Schedler globes offered from a source not connected to the E. Steiger company quite an interesting and I'm sure typical arrangement for the time.

     I'm always struck by the ornate design that Schedler  offered with the mounting of their globes.  Their globe mountings were incredible works of art in and of themselves.  A proper Schedler globe is certainly high on my list as far as collecting goes.

     I share a lot of globe related printed material on this blog.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, I get that. I just love the history of these objects. How were they marketed, to whom, for how much?  I'm a researcher at heart.  I spend hours researching globes and related items, usually that involves the use of a computer.  It's nice when a primary source is available.

Happy hunting........because true collectors know it's all in the hunt!!


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***

****As always pleases don't hesitate to comment, or reach out I encourage dialogue, and if you're in the selling mood  leave a comment or send an email I'd love to hear from you ****

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

***** Update!!    In certain areas of collecting there are levels of completeness, for example in book collecting having the dust jacket of a book that was originally issued with one is much better than not having it.  Well with completeness in mind  I started searching for the original manual that would have accompanied this device.   Now over the years so many of these planetariums got separated from the original instruction manual. Remembering that these were used as instructional aids in schools.  The original manual is a rare sighting, now they do pop up from time to time.   As luck would have it I stumbled into a copy using a search technique that I've used in the past.  Once in a while you can score a great find looking on eBay for misspellings and  mis-categorized listings. That was the case here a slight misspelling and a not ideal category choice let this handbook slip through the cracks so to speak!
Trippensee instruction guide
note the date stamp, bottom
of title page
     This instruction manual was copyrighted in 1908 by Howard Hovey, it was included with each planetarium sold and was unchanged until the early 1940's when the device changed to Bakelite and plastic construction.  Interesting to note, on the title page inside the cover the Trippensee company dated the manual and I believe it was changed each year this date looks to be separately stamped in so if you have the original manual with your planetarium then looking at this title page should give you the exact year of manufacture.  
Profusely illustrated,
but a very dry read.
      Now having an original booklet really elevates this item because the vast majority of these planetariums do not have the book available.   This is true of vintage globes in general each of them originally came with a handbook, Joslin, and Andrews produced hard cover books, most manufactures produced soft cover booklets . Certainly having the original handbook just adds to the total package. In the case of the Trippensee tellurion it adds guidance as to how to actually use the thing intelligently, a wonderful find.



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