Monday, March 31, 2014

1930 Rand McNally 8 inch globe pair terrestrial and celestial

      I want to share something really rare, that word can be overused, but not here.  This is a terrestrial and celestial pair of globes, both 1930 Rand McNally full mount 8 inch globes. they did not come to me as a set they came actually separated by four years!  I purchased the celestial globe first 4 years ago, one of only 2 that I've seen in that time, and it's terrestrial mate was purchased earlier this year the only one of this model I've ever seen come to market. my white whale.....
     A word about 8 inch globes, they are much smaller, and much easier to display than 12 inch globes, and therefore are highly sought after. Of course they were made in much smaller numbers than their larger counterparts, and fewer still were made as full mount globes. The majority you see will be offset mounts for schools, this pair was probably made for the home.
     Globes traditionally were sold as pairs, after 1850 or so with mass production, schools and students began to purchase the terrestrial globe in far greater number than the celestial.  Manufactures responded to market demands and terrestrial globes have dominated, celestials were often still offered but just not purchased as often.
     I should clarify that Rand McNally in 1930 would have offered these globes separately, but one would have been able to choose to make a set by buying both.

    These are full mount globes, meaning they have a vertical metal meridian, and a wooden horizon ring. They are both supported on a classic Rand McNally ball and claw metal casting, this casting was used by Rand McNally for 30 or so years.  I've only ever seen this casting on Rand Mcnally's small globes.  I assume other styles would have been available, but I don't know for sure.  Each of these stand a bit under 15 inches tall.  If you look closely on the horizon rings they opposites, that is they have inverted it for the celestial globe, to accommodate a larger paper.  The terrestrial ring shows zodiac signs, and months of the year, and the celestial lists major world cities and a guide to set latitude to determine which stars would be visible in the night sky.  Scientific instruments and art objects, this is why I collect globes!

     As a pair these are my favorite globes. I can't believe that there are very many pairs in existence, there's just something about a small full mount globe that I find special.

I've really enjoyed sharing them with you, I hope you enjoy them also.

***UPDATE  8/29/16 ***
             Why in the world am I updating this ancient post......I know few people will ever venture back this far in the blog to ever see this update but here it goes, Just today I recieved a catalog from the early 1930's an original Rand McNally catalog: In that catalog they advertise the 8 inch celestial globe and star finder and they show pictures and give prices of the various models, please enlarge the photos to read.  At the bottom of the ad they mention buying the matching terrestrial globe to create a pair.  How interesting a read this old catalog is .  

Finding antique and vintage globes or The treasure hunt.......

     Where do you find these globes?  probably the most asked question I get.  I addition to dealers ( later post ) and Ebay, where do they come from?   Lets explore our options......

1. The Internet, I'm skipping Ebay to focus on all other avenues.  My favorite site for scouting out antique and vintage anything, especially globes is Etsy. What a great site, very underutilized by antiques sellers and hunters, Etsy is only growing in favor in the antiques world. There are several specialist sellers on this site and many more antique pickers that seem to bring nice globes to market at a regular rate.  Also it's very easy to navigate quickly.

2. My next favorite is a site that compiles auction listings from large and small auction houses here and in Europe.  If a small Midwestern auctioneer has 1 or 2 nice globes from an estate and posts them on Live then you as the collector win by finding them and the auctioneer wins by finding you. Now buying on Live is complicated, I am not very skilled, but I'm getting better. The problems arise because Liveauctions hosts the lots for sale, but you are always doing business with the auction house on the other end, remember buyers premiums up to 25% plus shipping charges will add to your cost so please keep that in mind when bidding.

3. Networking with other collectors, this is a very rewarding way to add to and sometimes subtract from your collection, when you are engaged with others in your field of interest it makes finding that next great thing easier and much more fun.  In a lot of ways the main goal of this blog is to bring other collectors together to share knowledge, globes and enthusiasm!  Actually this is my favorite way to find a globe!

4. Estate sales, one in 100 sales will have a nice globe, this takes a LOT of time, but prices are best

5. Non specialist antiques stores; so you walk into your local antiques store, or co-op and they happen to have a globe.  One of two things will happen, It will be wonderful and rare and impossibly overpriced, or  more commonly it will be in horrible condition, and impossibly overpriced. You see general antiques dealers encounter few globes, and ALWAYS overprice them,  once in 7 years have I had success and found a great globe, my problem is that it happened 6.9 years ago and I'm a sucker for this method. Beginners luck was my curse......

A final thought on finding globes:  I have always believed that antique globes, especially in America have not yet had their day in the sun, they are hard to find, and so many people never get exposed to the possibility of assembling a collection full of history.  Yes 50's and 60's globes have been a passing fad with the people who populate Apartment therapy, and Houzz but few ever go further than skin deep with their interest.  The middle ground of globe collecting 1850- 1950  is sitting quietly waiting for us to discover. A treasure hunt for sure because it can take a long time to unearth one of these gems.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The importance of condition: 1925 Hammond full mount globe

 I want to share a group of pictures of a globe that shows how great condition can add to the rarity of a globe. This is a 1925 Hammond 12 inch full mount globe the actual globe was made by the great Chicago globe maker Weber Costello, then sold and over labeled by Hammond.  This model could have been a  school globe, or a globe sold for home.  Twelve inch table globes were and are the most popular size globes sold. this model is complete with a wooden horizon ring displaying months, and zodiac signs, also a full meridian displaying degrees of longitude.  So when I speak of a " full mount globe"  this is it, all of these parts.
     Lets talk condition, this globe is complete, no repairs, it still retains sharp color, the original shellac is barely aged at all, and everything made of paper is still intact, and not dirty.  The metal base retains it's copper finish, there is no rust, even the screws holding everything together are original.  Finally the red and blue isothermal lines on the globe itself are still intact, these are often faded to the point of non existence.
     This globe for 89 years old is in absolutely exceptional preservation, a nicer example will probably be very hard to find, I paid a hefty premium when purchasing this globe because of condition. A hard to find globe became much rarer due to condition.

Please enjoy the pictures, Please comment, discuss, or criticize,  I welcome it all!!

    I want to make one last point about condition, all things being equal Original always tops restored, or repaired. The holy grail for a serious globe collector is to find an old globe in exceptional original condition, a globe that meets that metric will always be more desirable than a restored example of the same globe.  The same can be said for cleaning, all too often a great antique is over cleaned and sometimes actual value is washed away with the cleaning. Only attempt cleaning if you really know what you are doing or you have hired an expert to help. There are professional conservators out there who will take on the task of properly cleaning a paper object such as a globe.  On rare occasion this is warranted, but most times it's best to leave things alone.    Happy hunting......

The 3 C's of antique collecting

Condition, Condition, Condition!!!

  Just like in real estate it's all about location, with antiques it's all about condition. What separates a good globe from a better one and what elevates an antique globe to exceptional, it's condition. 
    Globes by their nature are meant to be used, and were in their time utilitarian scientific instruments.  So as with anything designed for human use they eventually wear out.  The great antiques in any category of collecting are in superior condition than the average and it is even more true with an object like a globe.  
    Well, what can you expect to find condition wise with globes.  Here I want to divide globes into 4 distinct time frames and speak separately about  acceptable condition.

1. Vintage globes, post WWII into the 1950's  These globes are by far the easiest to obtain in any condition so really only the finest, near mint to mint examples should be considered by the collector. trading up and holding out for an excellent example of a globe from this time period should be your goal.

2. Post WWI to WWII globes 1920-1940  These globes are considerably harder to find than the vintage globe category 1, so at this point a collector can begin making allowances for condition, what to expect. 
in this period many homes and schools still had coal heat which was dirty, and darkened the shellac, this is almost universal, also the finish on the metal or wooden base of these globes will inevitably have some scratches, or worn spots, remember humans have handled these for 80 or so years. Minor scratches to the orb would also be expected, and all of these are acceptable.

3. Pre WWI globes 1880-1920  These globes are true survivors, true antiques older than almost all living people today, these are getting hard to find in any condition, good examples in nice condition will always command a substantial premium in price to a collector. In addition to all of the condition issues mentioned in #2 the globes in this category will most likely have small areas of missing map surface, as well as further darkening of the shellac, or partial wearing away of the shellac. the stand if metal may have a small amount of rust, and surely have a worn finish. 

4. 1830-1880 globes  This time period encompass the birth of the American globe with James Wilson, and such makers as Lorring, Joslin, Nims, and Schedler. Any globe that has survived from this time period in any reasonable condition can be considered collectible. Acceptable condition issues including small cracks, worn map surface, and professional restoration will almost certainly be present.  It goes without saying that acquiring a globe from this time period in great condition, is the holy grail for most collectors, but owning a James Wilson globe even in poor condition is still difficult and many collectors will still jump at the chance because they are so rare, especially any globe that pre-dates the civil war.

Ok Ok...... am I making too much out of the importance of condition,  I don't think so.  A bit of my personal collecting style coming through.  I value condition so highly that adding or not adding a globe to my personal collection comes down to condition every time; it's because of this that I add only one or two globes to my collection in any given year. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

So why collect globes.....or my collecting philosophy

    I want to pose a question: Why collect globes? What makes this hobby appealing...special. I have had friends and family ask this very question of me more than once since I began seriously collecting in 2007.  What does an antique globe offer a collector that is different from other genres of collecting?
   For me globes combine art, science, and history, all in a 3 dimensional form that can not help but be explored. These artifacts are a snapshot in time. Each globe I examine is a history lesson it is really incredible how much our world has changed politically from the beginning of the 20th century until now. There is just something wonderful about connecting to the past in a hands on way, antique globes do this! 
   People will sometimes say " you must really like maps, do you collect maps also?" In a word, no. There are many more map collectors out there than globe collectors, and I suspect that many map collectors also have a globe or two. The reverse is true for me as I have a couple of maps that I enjoy, but they are not my focus. I should say that globe collectors owe their hobby to map collectors because an interest in antique cartography is usually born in exposure to maps. 
   Collecting maps is a more mature hobby, there are fairs, specialized auctions, as well as countless dealers who specialize in antique maps. The antique globe collector has just about a half dozen antique dealers in the United States that carry decent selections of globes; I plan on covering the top U.S. based dealers in a later post. There are no globe fairs, or specialized globe auctions, so defiantly these are barriers to entry. 
   Europe as with many areas of antiques collecting has a much more developed market in antique globes, Germany, The U.K. and France all have been mass producing globes longer than the United States.
   Now would be a good time to explain a bit more about my personal taste, as well as my collecting focus. Globes have been produced for several hundred years, production started in the 1830's in the U.S. with James Wilson, I collect, and I focus this blog on globes produced no earlier than the 19th century. Why? Well cost, and availability, globes in any collectible condition produced before 1830-50 are so rare and so expensive that there really isn't a collector market out there. I want to concentrate on globes that have a reasonable chance of coming to market to buy. 
   The same is true of globes from 1960 foreword, they are so readily available that all one needs to do is spend an afternoon on Ebay to amass a large collection from this time period. You see part of building any collection is the hunt for treasure!
   Later on I want to explore three tried and true collecting maxims and how they apply to antique globes, condition, rarity, and age
    I want to leave you with a photo, to wet your appetite for more.......... 1925 Hammond full mount globe, I will use this globe to explore the 3 maxims listed above in my next post.


Friday, March 28, 2014

So lets examine a globe: 1930 Weber Costello 8 inch globe

   What better way to start a blog about globes then with a discussion about a globe.  Pictured here is a 1930 Weber Costello  8 inch school globe, it is an offset mount ( tilted 23 degrees ) and it is supported on a copperized metal base.  This is for many people a very good representation of what an antique globe looks like.  Weber Costello Hammond, Rand McNally, and many others made this globe or one nearly like this for purchase by schools in the early 1/3 of the 20th century; a sturdy base, and manageable size made this an ideal school globe.  Mass produced and bought by the thousands these globes are still fairly easy to obtain, and therefore a good place for a collector to start. 
    This example is in much better than average condition, the problem with these globes is usually a factor of where they were used, How many of these globes survived the classroom, and how many survived being hugely out of date after WWII? Also consider that running into the great depression, and then WWII many of these globes had to last many years in the classroom before being replaced probably in the late 1940's. This lovely globe really beat the odds and now after 84 years is doing great. 
     So is this an antique globe? Technically probably not. Many definitions of " antique" concern objects at least 100 years old, this is probably best called a vintage globe, but for our purposes here I will refer to any globe pre WWII as antique, and any globe after WWII as vintage. My personal collecting taste centers on globes produced pre WWII but the great thing about this hobby is there really is something for everybody.
     In my next post I want to talk more about my personal collecting philosophy, as well as explore the different types of globe collectors out there. Stay tuned, my goal with this blog is to post once every two weeks or so, but as I get going posts will come at a faster rate.

PLEASE feel free to comment, criticize and share !!!!