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.


  1. I have a Rand McNally Terrestirla Globe that, by your list, could be circa 1890. Dakota is split but Congo is Zambia and there is no Central Australia. It has a Analemma and topographical textures as well as various images of historical ships in the seas they were made famous for sailing like the American Clipper Ship "Flying Cloud. It belonged to my grandfather and it's never been sold before. Any advice to help me make sure I find a buyer that can truly appreciate it's historical importance?

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