Wednesday, January 27, 2016

As a collector, when is it time to sell....?

     I love American Pickers,  when they meet with " that guy" ( it's always a guy). Who's pushing 80  and he says something like. "Well I'm ready to sell". Inevitably as the episode continues we learn that this guy has been " collecting" for 45 years and now has so much stuff that it has overwhelmed his house and yard and garage.  These folks are not collectors they are hoarders.   Their stuff might be a bit more desirable but the disease is the same.  Chronic accumulators, the ones who get a panic attack at the thought of parting with things.
     Well I don't want to be in that camp!   So earlier this month when the opportunity to obtain an absolutely exceptional early Rand McNally globe presented itself, I had a decision to make.   You see I already own an exceptional early Rand,but this one was different.... A bit better........what to do.....?
     The answer was to sell and trade up.  This is something that sometimes is a bit counter intuitive to a collector.  Sell a treasure I've spent many hours hunting for ?   Yes sell your treasures when the opportunity to "trade up" presents itself.   The globe I sold was soon to become a duplicate in my collection.  It was time to make a change.
     When I was starting out  collecting  every new globe seemed as if it would live forever in my collection.  I was of course naive,  I didn't realize that as my interest changed so would my collection.
So how do you go about selling something when you've spent all of your time and energy accumulating?  I've given this a lot of thought and it seems that there are two reasons a collector will sell.
     Firstly the pure trade up,  in this scenario a collector replaces a previous acquisition of lesser quality with a superior example.   I own a very nice Weber Costello black ocean Peerless globe, but it does not have the most desirable airplane base.  I'm always on the lookout for an exceptional  example of this globe with the better base.  When I find it then it'll be time to sell the other.
     A second scenario would involve a purchase of a duplicate,  sometimes opportunity knocks and you end up with a two of the same items  That's what happened to me recently, and I quickly realized as a prudent collector that It would be best  ( especially from a space standpoint)  to move one of my near identical globes along to another collector.
     The question then becomes when selling do you choose the " worst"  or least desirable globe you own to part with?   In some perhaps many cases this is the answer.  I own several run of the mill 1930's globes that are not particularly compelling,  these are eventual good candidates for sale.  In my case the duplicate was one of my nicer globes, a pre 1900 globe in fact, much harder to find than anything from the 1930's.  As a duplicate this was the right move for me.   So let's see this new globe that was so fretted over :
1890's Rand McNally full mount school globe

This globe to the right is an 1890's Rand McNally full mount school globe. Preserved in fine original condition right down to the green felt still remaining on the feet of the tripod stand. The Nickel finish has dulled over time, the horizon ring is remarkably intact.  The Orb itself is actually over labeled as being from A. P. Mott school supplies Syracuse NY . I can find nothing at all about Mott school supplies, but the Syracuse area had several Mott run businesses in the 1890's. An interesting find, you can actually see the edges of the Rand McNally cartouche peeking around the Mott label ( but that's for another post)
     The Rand McNally that I parted with had an orb in as good or maybe even a bit better shape, but was not interestingly over labeled. Nor was it a full mount, but desirable nonetheless.
     In my next post I want to take a critical eye towards desirability, I want to explore the many factors and nuance that go into making one globe " better" than the other, which manufactures are more desirable, which are less. Lots of opinion coming your way, such is the blogger life!

Look for my next post soon, I'm on a roll,  and please check out the conservation cover from my last post.. Keep that correspondence coming, I Love hearing from others who LOVE globes.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Conservation Cover for globes. Now available on Etsy

     For several months now I've been working to perfect a product, an invention actually, that as a globe collector I found lacking in the marketplace.    This custom designed cover is specifically designed as a cover to protect your antique globe from the damaging effects of dust, sun, and other environmental hazards.
     Just like classic car collectors use specialized covers to protect their investment the Conservation cover is perfect for someone wanting to protect that one exceptional globe ( or 2..3..4....) from this whole range of assaults.
     100% cotton, and specially lined to be scratch proof yet allow air to circulate, also ph neutral!  Handmade in America,  special sizes available   Check out the link below for more information

     Now available to purchase:    The Conservation Cover for globes

Exclusively available on Etsy here:

Buy the Conservation cover here

Friday, January 15, 2016

Traditional Auctions in the internet age..................Is there such a thing?

     Ok we're all familiar with eBay, love it....hate it.......we all know what the deal is when you visit such a site.  Today I want to talk about something that's not eBay , but perhaps owes it's existence to it.
     Today I want to talk about a new breed of auction house... I call a hybrid auction house.  What do I mean by this well places like Dallas based Heritage Auctions, Denver Pa based Morphy auctions and Virginia based Old World auctions.  These are auction houses that derive most of their business from online and telephone bidding, but also are overwhelmingly Internet centric in their marketing, and bidding process. Each of these three and they are by no means the only 3 employ extensive Internet only pre bidding before their "in house auction" events.  Utilizing 3rd parties such as Proxibid, Liveauctions, and even eBay itself as advertising/ and bidding platforms.
     I recently had a successful interaction with Morphy Auctions and I couldn't hep notice how differently I had to approach bidding.   So let me explain my experience and maybe we can learn something collectively.  I was browsing on Liveauctions as I do from time to time, and I came across an item I was interested in ( the J Chein globe from an earlier post)  I noticed it was being auctioned via Morphy Auctions, so I headed next over to their site.
     At the Morphy site I found the online catalog, and registered to bid, all very easy.  Now came the bidding;  we were still weeks away from the live event, but I could already bid via the Internet, or even schedule a phone bid. I noticed that Internet early bidding was highly encouraged, in fact some items i this auction already had multiple bids.  I bookmarked the auction, why didn't I bid then?  Well I surmised that the closer to the actual auction I bid the less chance I had of tipping my hand so to speak.
     Now fast forward 2 weeks I'm on eBay ( as I am every day...)  and low and behold I see a listing for the item I want, so I immediately click on it.  Sure enough it's yet another way to bid on this item, right through eBay; it clearly states that this is part of a live event happening in the future.  So this item shows op on Liveauctions, I go to the Morphy site , then it pops up on eBay, there are at least 3 Internet avenues towards bidding, not to mention the old fashioned sale room option.  Wow confused yet.....?
     Heritage Auctions run in a similar manner, advertised on Liveauctions, as well as Proxibid, early Internet bidding encouraged, and of course live sale room bidding the day of the auction.  Heritage gives one more wrinkle as I discovered this past June.
     I bid on and lost a great Holbrook hinged 3 inch school globe, I was the under bidder ( the first loser) so that's how it goes right, game over..........well not quite. About a week after the auction ended I was contacted via email and offered a chance to "make an offer" to the new owner!  Heritage offers no guarantees, but they will ( for a 10% cut ) pass along an offer to purchase to the new owner.   Wow what a gimmic!!  I'll tell you that I almost did make that offer, in the end I decided against it, but I'm sure people take advantage of this last gasp option all the time, and I'm sure Heritage loves it to the tune of 10%.
     Liveauctioneers, and Proxibid are interesting , if complex ways to bid on auctions from large and small auction houses all over the country. They offer a way for a very small auction house to expose their items for sale to an incredibly wide audience.  This, as an audience member makes for some interesting opportunities.  Just this past week I made my first successful bid through Liveauctioneers.  I bought another 12 inch table globe ( that's another story, but I have no more space for these !! )  well anyhow this purchase was made through a rather small auction company that I would not have even discovered if it had not been for the powerful aggregation that these auction sites provide.
     Of course Live, and Proxi need to be paid so I can only imagine that buyers premiums ( already at 25% )  are only going to trend higher to pay for this convenience.   These sites also open small auctions up to " regular people" like myself who have a different sense of price than pure dealers.  Some of these very small auction houses have probably been " dealers best kept secrets" for a long time.  Great fishing spots where deals are easily obtainable.  Well with the mass advertising effect that brings in the retail crowd like myself and cuts out the dealers.   Is that good for collectors.....?   Price wise in the short term yes, but just like Wal mart drowns out the competition, could online auctions of all sorts pinch dealers so much that they can't survive?   How then does a new collector find their way.....?   Are new collectors then harder to come by?    

Let's discuss this further email, or comment below!