Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Miami International Map fair

     Boy, I wish I were going to the Miami International map fair...........the heck with the maps I'm in Buffalo NY and baby it's cold outside.  I need a winter break.  Well next year count me in. Anyway this is billed as the largest Map fair in the U.S. the dates for this years show are fast approaching they are February 5th through 8th 2015. This is the 22nd year of this fair and it draws dealers from all over the United States, but also from Europe as well.  Here is the link: Miami Map fair
      Now 98% of everything on display at this fair is not a globe, but that's OK because 2% will be globes, compared to any random antique market this is huge, plus what a great place to network with other collectors and dealers in our field.
     I've been thinking about maps a lot lately.  Realistically obtainng any globe made before 1850 or so is a difficult exercise, they just are so few and far between, not so of maps.  Would it not be a great introduction to a globe collection to also have a nice example of a world map from say 1800 ( suprisingly affordable) or even 1700 ( pricey but not entirely out of reach)  A globe collector that ignores maps would be foolish, there are always wonderful opprutunities to augement your collection with a carefully chosen map.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to date a globe, a practical guide

   How do you date an antique globe,  well globes like to play hard to get, so be persistent.   She's not going to expose all of her secrets on the first go around, you've got to be patient  study the globe only then will her true age come through........

Ok seriously how old is my globe?????

Globes rarely have a date on them, so you have to study the geography, but it's not exactly that simple to accurately date a globe.  Here's why,  let's use the example of Central Australia this province existed from: February 1927 to June 1931  so globes produced late 1927 may have this change as well as globes produced through 1931.  A globe of 1926 vintage will not have Central Australia, but one from 1927 may or may not we will never know.  It's important to realize that globe makers played to their home markets, for example a British cartographer might be faster to update a change in a British territory, whereas an American cartographer might be slower to make a change. Keep in mind that updating globe gores was expensive. An important political change in one part of the world might have been looked at as minor somewhere else.
     Does a year make a difference in value? well it might and it might not. Probably not and dating globes geographically is 80% history, 20% common sense.  So with that I plan to offer a common sense globe dating guide, I want to fill in the blanks but since we concentrate on American globes we will look at the years 1830 to 1950.
     So take this list and add a year or so to the date of the event to give the cartographers time to catch up so to speak.

1830: French Algeria (July)  Belgium becomes independent, (September)
1832: Greece Independence (May)
1836: Republic of Texas ( March)
1845: Texas is incorporated as our 28th state (December )
1848: Oregon territory added to the United States
1855: Van Diemen's land changes name to Tazmania
1867: Alaska purchase ( November)
1869: Suez canal opens ( November)  do some 1868 globes show the canal? Of course...
1885: Congo free state in southern Africa (May)
1889: Dakota territory is split into North and South Dakota, and admitted as our 39th and 40th states ( November)
1904: Panama is independent of Columbia
1914: Panama Canal opens ( August)  *might have appeared a year or two early on globes!
1912: Italian North Africa ( present day Lybia)
1919: Treaty of Versailles,  many map changes in Europe and Africa
1922: Russia changes to Soviet Union ( December) * so even 1923 globes may say Russia!
1927: Central Australia formed ( February)
1931:Central Australia ceases to exist (June)
1935: Persia changes to Iran ( March)
1938: Austria is annexed by Germany ( March)
1939-1946: So many changes due to war, many globe makers stopped updating maps, instead they sold globes with a coupon you could mail in later and they would send update stickers!
1949: Isreal recognized
1953: The Kingdom of Egypt is renamed Republic of Egypt

So within this list there are some key dates that represent a spike in value. The first being WW2 a pre WW2 globe will carry a premium. The next spike in globe value becomes WW1 anything pre WW1 is going to carry an additional premium because after this war Europe looses it's empires, a globe displaying the Austria Hungarian empire just lends an almost ancient " long ago" status to the globe in question.  The next value spike comes from America in 1889 Dakota territory split into 2 states, a pre Dakota split globe is more desirable than one made just after the split. Why?  Well it's an obvious change in American geography, an easily relate able change. Going back further into the 1860's any globe referencing Alaska as still being part of Russia This is a rare find, a big deal!  Rarer still is a globe with Texas as independent from the US Probably the holy grail for collectors of American globes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The celestial globe, and it's place in your collection

     For Milena man has looked to the heavens in wonderment always asking questions, Can God hear me? Are we alone in the universe? Will my neighbors maple tree block my dish network signal?  These questions and many more will NOT be answered by staring into the intricate surface of a celestial globe!  Well what good are they then.... I'd like to make the argument that no globe collection is complete without one!  Celestial globes have been made right along side terrestrial globes since globe making began.
     Celestial globes are a fascinating, and somewhat overlooked part of our hobby.  A celestial globe is in my opinion an essential part of any globe collection.  200 years ago in 1815 if you were going to purchase a globe you were almost certainly in the market for a pair of globes a terrestrial, and it's counterpart a celestial globe. Of course if you were in the market back then you were wealthy, and you were probably furnishing a library and a pair of globes were de rigueur.
     Sometime soon after James Wilson started globe production in America we see the decoupling of the terrestrial and celestial globe.  Why?  Well around this time we start to see two things happening simultaneously; more emphasis on educating children, and the application of industrial efficiencies on globe production.  Both of these factors help set the celestial globe on a path of decline, you see as schools started buying lots of globes they gravitated ( ha ha pun intended ) towards the terrestrial sphere. Simply because a geographic knowledge was much more important to schools and parents. Don't fret not all is lost,  celestial counterparts were still manufactured and offered for sale by the vast majority of globe makers but to encourage volume sales they were no longer sold as a set.  Think about this if you wanted to have a globe in your household in 1860 or so you might look at an Andrews,  Joslin, or Nimbs model for between $10 and $50 ( several hundred dollars today)  depending on size. This was a daunting cost, doubling up to buy the celestial mate? A choice, unfortunately not often made.
     Consequently there are not that many nice examples of celestial spheres out there, and the farther back in time you go the harder they are to come by.   A nice Joslin, or Andrews globe is getting hard to find, I'd guess compounding that difficulty by 10 to find a nice celestial! In fact Murray Hudson states that American Celestial globes are scares by a factor of 100 to 1 compared to terrestrial spheres. With that in mind lets look a a few nice examples of exceptional celestial spheres.
1831 James Wilson Celestial globe

1890 Merriam & Moore Celestial globe

1940's Rand McNally celestial globe
1930's celestial globe

     Now although these spheres span almost 120 years they have much more in common than you might think. All of these connect the sky together in familiar signs of the zodiac, 3 of 4 go further and outline the fanciful creatures these constellations are supposed to represent. Certainly this adds an artistic whimsy to their existence.  Now the night sky does not change all that much over the years, certainly a lot slower than the political boundaries on a comparative selection of terrestrial globes spanning 120 years. It is because of this comparative little change that globe makers did not see it necessary to update celestial gores nearly as often as terrestrial gores.  This makes it harder to judge the date of manufacture when looking at a celestial globe. You have to employ your knowledge of decorating styles, as well as construction materials  to come up with an approximation.
     So what to look for as you collect?  The best would be a matched pair  A matched pair are the ideal for any collection of anything, much value is added when you have a set, true for globes, windsor chairs, and baseball cards.  OK matched pairs are few and far between, what else should I look for?  Here is where I would say buy the one you like most.  What I mean is realistically if you amass a dozen nice globes you will probably be able to find just one really nice celestial so buy one who's overall asthetic is pleasing to you. If you live in an old Victorian house and your budget allows, then buy a celestial from the 1860's to the 1890's ( if you can find one )   if your decorating style is mid century, or ultra contemporary, buy that 1940's Rand McNally beauty, you will have a "statement piece" that even your clueless friends will find mildly interesting. 

My personal favorite 1930 Rand McNally

****The James Wilson, and Mirriam & Moore globes pictured are curtesy of Murray Hudson,  The 1930s, and 1940's celestials are curtesy of Vintage Cals****

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A personal globe most wanted list........

     I want to write down, and publish a most wanted list of globes etc that I am on the lookout for.
This is a personal list and from time to time I'm going to amend it. This list is personal and should by no means be looked at as a collector guide, or a " what to collect list"  it is just a running tally of what I'm looking for. Many of the globes on this list are difficult to find in any condition let alone finding an example in exceptional condition.

1. A Wilson globe, terrestrial, any size 3, 9, 13 inches, I'd say the keystone for any American globe collection!

2. H.A Andrews globe, 8 inch, offset mounted on wooden base

3. A Trippensee tellurian, pre 1930 preferred, I missed the best one ever on eBay last year, the seller was in my backyard and I was just too hesitant.  Ah regrets......

4. Rand McNally 3 inch globe, with the metal base, to compliment the glass base!

5. A Holbrook hinged globe, actually any Holbrook globe would be special

6. A pocket globe, I've had some good opportunities to acquire one but never pulled the trigger so to speak

7. A chalkboard globe, I saw a Weber Costello one once, in horrible condition, they seem hard to find in nice original condition

8 A Joslin celestial 12 inch, I know they made them I've never  seen one for sale in any kind of acceptable condition

9. Weber Costello black ocean, airplane base,  easy to find right?.... still lookin.....

     I've had this list sitting on the back burner for months, thinking should I publish.....should I not?......
I hesitate and over think a lot of things  ( you should see me when it's time to get a new car )  Sometimes this works to my benefit, sometimes not.  I have had good chances to acquire  everything on this list except numbers 7, and 8.  I love lists, jotting things down and organizing things gives me a clear path, but veering off the path is often when the best " finds" are made!  Of course the hunt for the next great globe often does not follow a list, in fact I'm right now in the middle of a hunt for somthing that I did not even have on my radar a week ago.  What is it?  Well you will know if I'm successful and it will be my little secret if I'm not.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Just a quick update

     Wow what a hectic holiday season,  I've been absent from the blogosphere and I just want you to know that I'm working on some interesting fresh posts for January

coming soon I want to explore the area of globe related collectibles.  Think ephemera, catalogues, and even globe toys, many different cross collectibles.

I recently made the acquaintance of a globe collector who also collects telescopes..........intriguing!!  We will have to explore..........

P.S.  here is a picture of something interesting that came my way on eBay:

Now all I need is the Tellurian to go with the book!!