Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Patience: A collectors best friend

     I want to talk about something that gets overlooked when building a collection, any collection, but especially one as narrowly focused as globes.  Patience, an essential ingredient to a collector, almost as important as knowledge but acquiring knowledge takes Patience as well so I might just argue that it is the most important tool in a collectors arsenal.
     In our culture we are at war with time, instant gratification is what we crave, everything yesterday would be our ideal.  Patience is a lost art but together with time it is a collectors best friend.
     So what do I mean? Well as a collector it should be your goal to amass the best examples of what you want to collect as possible, taking int account financial position of course. To do anything else would put you in the company of an accumulator, anybody with an eBay account can become an accumulator. We are not accumulators we use time and patients to elevate ourselves to the level of discriminating collector!   Sounds sophisticated. But a god collection is in some ways.
     So let me examine Patience as it relates to our hobby.  Patience is a wonderful equalizer, with time and knowledge a collector can amass just as grand a collection than a person with lots of money but not much time or knowledge.  OK if you had $2 million sitting around gathering dust you could, in short order have the best globe collection around, but what would you actually have?
     You would have little knowledge, or ability to appreciate what you have assembled.  Now contrast that with a methodical knowledgeable collector, for a fraction of that sum plus time you could amass a similar collection, and certainly a more appreciated collection. A collection who's sum is far greater than it's parts.
     I maintain an ever evolving list of globes I'm looking for, as I learn I add and sometimes subtract from this list, just as a good collector will add and sometimes subtract from a collection.  Patience plays a part in my collecting in two ways. Firstly it forces me to educate myself, with long periods of time between acquisitions, I take to the net, and to books to learn not just about globes, but about the overall antiques market that globes occupy.  Secondly, time allows me a chance to keep my not unlimited budget in balance.
     So how much time to build a collection?  I set out a few years back to add one great globe a year to my collection, some years I've added none, this year three globes came my way so far!  A slow pace to be sure, necessitated by my budget, as well as my fussiness as to what I will buy.  I offer this insight not  as a definitive guide because every set of circumstances will be different, there are multiple right ways to collect, all collectors are different.
8 years of acquisition, sometimes careful, sometimes not.

     As a collector there is nothing more satisfying than the hunt. However it takes a lot of discipline NOT to buy the first thing that comes your way, and as a collector starting out, I purchased a lot of marginal globes that are no longer part of my collection. I had no patience, and even less knowledge. Today I have learned from my mistakes ( sometimes that is ) to be honest I still make a lot of mistakes, I just don't blog about them.....  This is the kind of hobby that is 10% actual collecting, and 90% learning and if you love learning then it really is 100% fun.
     Earlier this year I obtained the globe on the far right in the picture above, an 1888 Gilman Joslin globe.  This globe is a great demonstration of patience paying off.  I started my quest for this globe about 4 years ago with an eBay auction, for auction was an exceptional example of Joslin's work, I bid strongly and came up short. That loss stung, and I began a search for this model.  This was a successful model for Joslin and comes up for sale with some regularity. I passed up probably 6 or more chances to buy this globe in that four year time period. It was dificult to do, but there was always somthing that was just not right, condition issues were common, sometimes price got in the way.  Patience was rewarded in the end and it taught me a lesson, waiting is OK.  I struggle with this from time to time even today.
     If you buy just one great piece each year, you are doing well. I think the one thing that most often frustrates a new collector is the infrequency with which great material becomes available. For every amazing globe there are a thousand more that are not so. I've never gone paning for gold but I imagime you sift a lot of sand for one nugget, and I'll guarantee you, find a few nuggets you'll be hooked!  


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