Tuesday, May 20, 2014

1930 Weber Costello full mount globe

     I want to explore this globe within the context of it's creation, and eventual purchase, because that is the real story behind this particular model.
    First a short description, this is a Weber Costello full mount globe, 12 inches in diameter, 1930, some call this a furniture mount, also the gores themselves were printed by G.W. Bacon, of England.  Several globe makers of this period contracted out the cartography to another company this is an example of this as Weber Costello assembled the globe, mounting, and stand, but paid someone else to make the map. In this case G. W. Bacon of England. Globes made with Bacon gores are highly sought after by some collectors for their superior detailing, this globe is no exception.
     This is an impressive globe in person, mainly for it's height it is a "desk globe"  but it towers over other similar models at a substantial 25 inches . It is also a bit different because it is built for home use not the classroom. This particular model would have been sold in a department store as an accessory in
1930 Weber Costello "furniture mount"
the store's furniture department, or as an accessory in an upper end office supply store.  This was a luxury item.
     So what makes this globe special?  Well to understand that we need to remember a bit of the history of the time. 1930 America was a bleak place, 25% unemployment, massive shifts in wealth are occurring, our social fabric is as frayed as it has ever been.  Unemployment then did not mean  an unemployment check, or any separation package, it just meant that you had money, then suddenly you had none!  Herbert Hoover is 1/2 way through what many historians later recall as one of the most failed Presidencies in our history.  The depths of depression.
     So why is this important?  When I look at this globe, I have to ask myself who bought this item? Somebody strolled through Wanamaker's, or Marshall Fields, and saw this globe and decided, I need to buy this!  Obviously I've answered my own question, a wealthy person with disposable income bought this globe, ( a rarity in 1930 ) and they bought it to impress.  I could imagine a professor owning this, or perhaps a lawyer. I'll never know, but that's the beauty of this hobby. The globes follow the times, for the most part, but this model bucked the times it was probably a slower selling model than one of a less elaborate design.
     The condition of this globe is very good, the finish on the base is a slight bit worn, but it is an original finish, the horizon ring is 90 % complete, there are a few small areas of loss, and the orb itself is in great shape, some minor imperfections but it would be hard to find a nicer one. I have owned this globe for about 6 years now, I acquired it from the specialist dealer Omniterrum. I have to admit I'm a real sucker for anything made of wood and metal together, there's just something about those two materials coming together that happens so rarely now but just works so well aesthetically. It's just a beautiful sculpture in it's own right, I just love it! Probably one of my favorites.   Just an FYI a seller on Etsy ( Upstarts )  currently has a globe with the same base selling in their store, it is not full mount but offset mount. Check it out to see another example of this globe, I have also seen this globe base used with a massive 18 inch orb in an impressive arrangement of a fellow collector.  This globe really shows off the skills of the Chicago globe makers at their peak.  In a future post I will explore, the Chicago globe makers at the very beginning of their dominance of the American globe market, stay tuned!  As always lets discuss!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Finding antique globes part 2 A day antique hunting....

     I just spent this past Saturday May 17th on the antiques hunt.  I was in the Finger Lakes region of NY south of Rochester, a great place to see quality antiques in small shops, co-ops and malls the little towns in and around this region are a local antiques hot spot.   As I mentioned in an earlier post I have struck globe gold once here before, and I have also spotted several other very old but not collection worthy globes in these shops before.  I want to share a few pictures that are typical of scouting a generalist antiques store for globes.
1920 Rand McNally 8"
   This small globe shown to the left really got my hopes up because I found it very early in my day, but it was by far the best globe of my day, and it stayed in it's display case and did not become part of my collection.  So what kept me from buying?  Actually this is a nice model from Rand McNally, that I don't own, but condition problems abound.  Lets critique this globe together.  On the plus side it is 90 plus years old, and it is a harder to find size as an 8 inch model.  On the negative, it is dirty ( not a deal breaker ) it's equator has a rather large crack, but that in itself is not horrible, but the base was repainted at some point, it should have a bronzed finish.  I suspect from looking at the finial of this globe that the base rusted, and someone sprayed it green to hide the rust.  That is the deal breaker, that devalued this globe.  I must mention the price clearly visible on the tag in the picture  $325  if the base of this globe were untouched then yes with negotiation a fair price could have been arrived at, but this dealer is dreaming with a hastily repaired piece like this.  By the way, to spark conversation what would a fair price be for this globe? If the base were intact?  In my opinion with a good base but just a dirty orb, and cracked equator, I think $200 would have been fair, you could have had it repaired, and cleaned a little ( another $200 )  and ended up with a respectable globe that is not easily found.

     I generally don't like co-ops and malls because I am of the belief that other dealers pick these places long before the public gets inside and " all the good stuff" ends up scooped up before I get to buy.  I know I will upset some people with that statement, and I think I would do the same, so I can't really cast blame.....but still....
     Here are a couple other pictures from my day, typical 1980's stuff that comes up at every mall and co-op out there.
  So where have all the good globes gone.....?  Are they already in collections?  Are they scooped up by pickers at estate sales, then channeled to specialist dealers?  Yes great globes show up at auction, both eBay and traditional,  but for an item that was mass produced there seem to be precious few still out there.
     I'm headed to Brimfield this September, for 5 days of raw antique hunting, I'm going to find out for myself just what's out there.  I'm going early and mid week I want to see if I can't get first crack on a globe or two " fresh to market" if you will.
     As always lets discuss, feel free to disagree, or criticize, we'll all learn!

UPDATE:   5/25/14   Where have all the good globes gone......?   Not a week after I wrote this, I found a globe that I've been hunting for a long time!  post to follow, so you never really know where and when.....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A tiny treasure: 1896 H. Kiepert globe

     I'm going to take a slight turn and talk about a German globe, most of the globes you find for sale will be American globes, but the Germans have been making exceptional globes for a long time and as a collector they should not go unnoticed.    
This is a very small world, and a very interesting globe it is an 1896  ( actually dated ) H. Kiepert globe, approximately 4 inches in diameter.  Manufactured by Dietrich Reimer a German globe manufacturer, the globe itself is written in German.

1896, H. Kiepert globe

A little history,  Heinrich Kiepert was a German geographer born 1818, died 1899 a professor of geography, he created his own line of globes for Dietrich Reimer.  So Kiepert designed this globe, and Reimer manufactured his design.   This little gem is unusual for 2 specific reasons, firstly it is dated most globes are not dated. For the simple reason that a customer purchasing would know when their globe was out of date.  Secondly it's small size is unusual, it takes just as much, maybe more work to engrave a tiny globe, as it does a larger globe. 
     This globe is incredibly detailed for it's size it displays crisp details that are often missing on such a small model. It features a still working compass in the base.  The tiny orb sits on top of an ebonized wood base, and in total it stands only 8 inches tall.  I am drawn to the Jewel like ocean color that this globe displays, a really captivating blue green that is unique in my collection. 
     So who purchased this globe in 1896?  I would have to imagine that this was a student model, I am just guessing here, but if it was it was looked after very well.  The condition of this globe is exceptional, but the base has had a small, well done repair, where the wood at one time cracked. 
     I purchased this globe from a specialist globe dealer, Omniterrum.  Located in Lynchburg Va, Omniterrum is one of a very few antiques dealers who specialize in globes.  I visited Omniterrum in 2010 when they sponsored a museum show entitled " The world in your hands" a comprehensive retrospective of globe making over 200 years, I was lucky enough to find this globe in their inventory and purchased it immediately. 
     This is the smallest globe in my collection, a real conversation starter.  People who have no interest in globes at all will ask about this one.  These small globes are  hard to find, many have already migrated into collections, and the ones that do come up for sale usually come up for sale in Europe, that's where logging into German Ebay comes in.....but that's for another post.