Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Joslin 1846 globe in depth part 2 of 2 : A deeper look at the Gilman Joslin company

     I want to continue my post about the fantastic Joslin 1846 globe with a bit more in depth look at both this globe and the Gilman Joslin company itself.  The Joslin brand as far as 19th century American globes is concerned is arguably the most often encountered examples of globes from this period.  With a production that spanned nearly 70 years from 1839 until at least 1905.
     Given this longevity you would think that there would be a lot written about this company , but my research has turned up precious little.  Here I will try to lay out a picture of this company so the next time we encounter a Joslin globe we can have the background.
     We know that Gilman Joslin worked for or with Josiah Lorring taking over globe production in 1839 but retaining the Lorring name for a line of globes past this date. We also understand from various historical sources that Joslin himself was initially involved in the manufacture of looking glasses, and was a skilled wood turner by trade.  According to Werner, Joslin employed about 5 people initially in the early 1840's in the manufacture of globes, 3 men and two women to be precise.
1855 school supply ad
     Gilman Joslin was not the first but was soon to be the largest American producer of globes. According to Rumsey the 1839 globe was a reissue of Lorring's last globe but now with Joslin's name.  In 1846 after Texas is annexed into the United states Joslin issues a completely new globe showing this new development.  They used the Boston firm of Annin & Smith for their engraving. Joslin would throughout their existence update gores periodically, and re engrave globe gores as major cartographic changes came on the scene. Later Joslin globes were engraved by another Boston firm G. W. Boynton.  Seen at right is a page from a school supply catalog dated 1855 their 6 inch globes are $5.00  a fairly substantial sum for that time.
     Something that always intrigued me was the fact that the Joslin company was very traditional in it's design of globes. They to my knowledge never issued a blue ocean globe even when their contemporaries in the UK and America did. They also stuck to the most traditional globe mountings of the period.  In addition to their conservative design they kept producing globes for many decades using the same mounts, year in and year out. Below are two six inch globes separated by roughly 40 years but even at first glance you can tell that they are both of the same maker.
c.1886 joslin globe left, and right Joslin 1846 globe
In this photo, the globe on the left retains the same style of mounting with only the slightest nod to keeping current with design trends. The brass meridians are essentially identical, and even the set screws match.   At the same time other American globe makers were attacking the cost of production aggressively with simplified mounts and different engraving methods that proved easier to update as well as being less expensive to make.  You see in America at that time selling to schools was where you made your money. The school market paid the bills. I can't help but speculate that as globe production moved west to Chicago along with population trends out west if this alone did not spell the demise of the Joslin firm.....?
     None the less they are fantastic globes to put in your collection, and as far as 19th century American globes go Joslin models are the most readily accessible from a pure availability standpoint as well as a cost standpoint.  I've always been puzzled by this; Joslin globes seem to come up for sale in far greater numbers than Holbrook/ Andrews globes even though they were active a similar number of years.  I have yet to find an answer for why that is. If any reader out there knows please chime in the comments or drop me an email.
      I want to finish this installment by bringing you back to the globe that got me thinking about all of this in the first place the Joslin 1846. I want to share with you a surprise this globe holds.
On the underside of the base  there is an inscription that says this globe was used by a Mr Sullivan while teaching school in Maine in 1852, it then explains how it was handed down through 1960. What a wonderful window into this globes history. I did look up via Google and the like, each of the people mentioned.  Suffice it to say the story makes sense from what I could ascertain. The family moved west in the late 19th century and this globe came from a southern California dealer very close to where some of the people mentioned in this inscription are laid to rest.   So bottom line somewhere in Maine in the early 1850's this globe was ordered via mail for $5.00 and when received was set to work teaching children geography.  Now that's why I collect globes!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Antique hunting websites , a completly biased review

   Well every now and then I like to spout off a post that is more opinion than researched fact. Completely slanted to my way of thinking. This,  dear reader is one of those posts.
     I want to delve deep into the world of online antiques outposts and I want to review them the good, the bad, and the ugly.  There are so many ways to find what your looking for it's time we had some clarity. For this exercise I will be tilted towards those online resources that a globe or map enthusiast might regularly visit eBay of course is foremost in our minds, and I'll save them for last. We all have eBay experience it is the other online outlets that will be unfamiliar.  Included with each review will be an embedded link to the home page of each website.  I do this without any certain loyalty to each site although to varying degrees I frequent them ,  so lets get started.

1.  This is probably a fairly well known site to those of us who are in the market for mid range and higher antique scientific instruments. This site is fairly evenly split between US and European dealers who list their wares for sale in varying categories.   I have made exactly one purchase from a Fleaglass listed dealer and the piece was exactly as advertised and the dealer communication second to none. Once you've struck gold so to speak on a site it will forever be in your rotation.
      So the good, no junk that is to say that the barriers to entry of this site prevent fly by night wannabees from participating.  The bad,  there are no fly by night wannabees selling something completely misidentified for a fraction of what it's worth.  This is decidedly a retail price site expect no bargains, but also expect few hassles.

2. :  This site on first glance is all about handmade items, but dig just below the surface and you'll find a large segment of " vintage" wares for sale and that includes globes.  I'll expose my bias I have friends that sell on Etsy, and I've made new friends from having used Etsy.
     Now there are in fact a few globe and map specialists on Etsy and they are great resources for quality vetted items, and these sellers come with long histories of satisfied customers.  I however have not been one of them.........I've never purchased a globe on Etsy, but I've come damn close a handful of times.  I have used Etsy to purchase other non antique related items and I love the site, I love the handmade aspect.  In fact I've purchased some custom lighting that was " handmade" but was more like hand crafted in it's quality.  I've found prices on Etsy can be all over the map ( pun intended)  but generally you won't need a fist full of dollars to find something great. For me it will only be a matter of time before I buy a globe on Etsy,  maybe today.........

3. Ruby : Hummm........ I don't really care for Ruby Lane,  OK I did once find a decent globe on this site, I overpaid, but that was my fault, but the bad taste lingers.   Ruby Lane's Wikipedia page is written like a press release from the company itself, I just checked...... Anyhow where to begin, the premise sounds so promising.  In a way this site should be awesome for the middle to low high end antiques hunter, and please correct me it might be stellar in certain categories, just not great with globes. I almost find myself reluctantly checking in almost like it's something I have to do rather than something I want to do.  It seems the merchandise I view on this site is stale, things linger for long periods of time it's the same 20 globes day in and day out,  yawn.......

4. :   This site is NOT  I will repeat NOT for the novice collector,  at least that's my take. Why do I say that?  Well simple two words " hidden fees"  Liveauctions ( I know I say the name wrong) is a website where hundreds of member auction houses compile all of their upcoming auctions in one spot so that you can easily search and find many of the same types of items for sale.  Again this is a great idea and I personally LOVE this site, it is in fact one of my favorites. You just have to go into it with eyes wide open. So here's how it works.  Search for and find your item, then you can either leave an absentee bid, or wait and bid live. If you win you will have to make separate arrangements with the auction house to safely ship ( extra cost) your item. You will also have to pay substantial buyers premium on top of your winning bid, this is an unfortunate reality with any auction house. However if you use Liveauctions be prepared for a fee as high as 25%  you see many auction houses charge a slightly higher fee to their customers using an online service, as a way to recoup their cost. After you run the gauntlet of fees, and taxes you'll have your item. Just be aware these charges are there.
     What I like to do is fine items on Liveauctions, and then go directly to the auction house to setup bidding, I have done this 3 separate times, cutting out one middle man saves money and so far so good.  I've come by an 1892 rand McNally, an 1880 Star Eraser and a 1928 J. Chein globe all in this manner.  Auctions are also not retail they are a price in the gray zone below retail, but above some rock bottom picker price. A nice place money wise to be, if you know what your doing.

5.  :  Are you reading my blog while reclined in your authentic Charles Eames chair,  are you reading this blog in the middle of the day because you've never had to work!  Well then have I got the site for you.  1st dibs is an elite site no way around that. It's pricing is Retail ++  and guess what? Yours truly has actually purchased a globe on this site once ( more on that later)
     The barriers to entry on 1st dibs are exceedingly high. First you must actually have a brick and mortar store, second, before they let you sell a member of 1st dibs will visit your store and judge your merchandise, third they charge a hefty monthly fee to their participating dealers.  OK then what have you got left.  Well what's left are the best of the best American Antiques dealers, this is their site. There are no middle of the road dealers, just the best and most exclusive dealers. These are by in large dealers who's merchandise is the best available at the time.  Buying from a 1st dibs dealer will come with a hefty price tag, but it will be as worry free as it gets for online antiques, these dealers will stand behind their merchandise 100% .   I bought a rare celestial globe from a 1st dibs dealer a few years back, and I certainly paid Retail, but I really wanted it and to this day I'm glad I did. Please don't get me wrong I am not your typical 1st dibs customer, far from it.   I may never buy from a dealer on this site again but every so often I check in just to see if there is that next awesome thing waiting, so far no but I'll keep checking.  Bottom line here If money is no object go for it!!

6. EBay : I won't even provide a link to this one.  I have written extensively about EBay in the past, but I'll repeat myself a bit now. I love EBay, I cannot think of a company that has changed commerce more than this company.  eBay  is a juggernaut.  It is the wild west of commerce, we can debate weather or not they charge to much, or weather shysters prey on unsuspecting people, yes counterfeit goods are rampant, but all of this notwithstanding eBay is retail church and I've been worshiping since 1999 !
     Here is why I'm in love with eBay, no other place rewards knowledge as much as eBay, if you are willing to become knowledgeable in your collecting field then eBay will,  over time reward you greatly.  I'm reminded of The Gotham Bookmart their slogan was " wise men fish here"  those words apply to eBay x10.  Knowledge is a double edged sword in a way, those without it or those who think they know more than they do will be burned and burned badly. There are so many pitfalls.  Now I buy globes with confidence, but there are whole swaths of the retail landscape that I admit that I don't know well enough to venture onto eBay and make purchases.  Buyer beware,  but I love the fact that knowledge is rewarded, my last globe purchase the 1846 Joslin is perfect example knowledge was absolute power that moment!!

     Well there you have it my take on some of the most popular antiques outlets on the web, there are others for sure but I wanted to pick the ones I seem to hit the most often.  Noticeably absent from my review are the specialist globe dealers George Glazer, and Murray Hudson.  I'm not going to review them as they are people, not companies. I will say that if you buy a globe from either of them you can buy with 100% confidence, they stand behind their wares as dealers 100%

P.S.  did you catch my 4 Clint Eastwood movie references...............

Friday, November 11, 2016

I remember the moment I fell in love with maps!!

     I'm feeling like a ride on the nostalgia train............I remember the moment yes the exact moment I fell in love with maps!!  In fact I still have the first map that I ever owned.  It's a fragile relic now but I found a photo of a similar one online and I'll share it now

Christmas day 1987 I fell in love with maps,  I suspect that some of you discovered your love of maps the exact same way!!    BTW I still know this one by heart!! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Gilman Joslin 1846 globe, 170 years of history in your hand part 1 of 2

     This post is going to be a bit different,  usually when I add a new globe to my collection I give it a post and explain a bit about the item and why I found it special. Today I'm going to do that and a whole lot more.  You see today I want to talk about an exceptional find that came my way in a wholly unexpected way.  Today I want to offer you, dear reader a peek behind the curtain from start to finish of a rare globe purchase.
     I go fishing on eBay every day.  Some of you will read this and know exactly what I'm talking about, others will just be confused. I have favorite searches that get checked every day, multiple times a day in some cases ( guilty....) and the vast number of times you searches turn up empty. Every once in a while though..............this is a story of one of those times.........
     Tuesday 11/1/16 was a busy day for myself, kids, appointments, a doctor visit, one of those days when you just don't have time to breathe, you know...   Well as the day was winding down I was between appointments and I figured " ya know I better check eBay, I haven't yet today"  and I was scrolling through the usual dross that is the globe section when a very interesting listing caught me.  The listing said " Joslin six inch globe on stand 1846 excellent condition"  WOW  that headline grabbed me for sure,  it was a buy it now or best offer auction, here is a screen shot of the auction:
     As you can see perched next to a Diet Coke can for size reference is a very old American globe, the pictures and the description said a lot, they suggested that this globe was in excellent original condition, and judging from the pictures I felt as if I needed to act fast,  but I needed more information, I'm sorry but I just can't throw a grand around without researching things a little bit more. So I sent a few questions to the seller.  Well I sent quite a lot of questions to the seller, a bit of a risk because in the interim another buyer could have easily executed the BIN option and all of my study and inquiry would have been rendered moot!  A chance I had to take because I wont make a substantial purchase without my appetite for full information satisfied.   I don't recommend anybody go into a purchase especially one over the Internet until all questions are answered , that's really Internet buying rule 1!!
     OK so I sent off my litany of questions and I waited impatiently for a response, minutes later much to my delight the seller answered and removed any doubts that I had, this globe was the real deal so to speak.  Now the nitty gritty....... negotiating the price.
     This eBay listing was set up as a very straight foreword buy it now or make offer,  now when a seller says make offer in the listing, then that in my mind is a 100% green light to negotiate for a lower price. Again with this item, and being that this listing was only hours old, I took a bit of a gamble making an offer.   At any time a full price buyer could have swooped in and bought this globe right out from under me.   Now for those of you who know me I'm all about the deal.  I can't help trying for a great deal.   So with this in mind I did some quick research on this globe, and determined what a solid fair offer would be.  I did this by primarily looking at auction results over the past few years that featured similar Joslin globes. I came to understand that this seller was not being too off the mark at $1050 but that didn't stop me. I offered $800 and much to my delight it was accepted straight away...........should I have gone lower?.........lingering doubt.  The answer is no, and here is why. A price of $800 according to my research is right where the market is for such a globe, yes retail prices are much higher quadruple in fact. Auction price is another animal all together.  I based my fair price on this recent sale: Northeast auctions, Joslin globe sale   this link will take you to a recent auction where this globe crossed the $1000 hammer price, netting $850 for the consignee minus any fees so I surmised that this globe could and should sell near this price minus commission and fees.  Lower and I would have been in danger of " low balling" the seller, and believe me it's better to arrive at a fair price for both sides rather than be a jerk!  One more thing about listing items on eBay that are many hundreds into a thousand dollars or more, please include shipping !!  This seller did it is the right move, were not talking $20 items these are expensive,  just include shipping, that's the classy move.
     So then lets examine this small treasure a 170 year old American globe:

 According to Werner(1) Gilman Joslin worked for Josiah Loring and in 1839 took over his globe making operation it is that year ( 1839) that Joslin issued his first globe.  That globe would be revised periodically until 1846 when Joslin issues his second newly engraved globe.  It is that which we are faced with here a splendid Joslin 1846 globe 170 years of history in your hand.  Quite literally in your hand because this is a 6 inch globe and stands a mere 9.5 inches tall.  I will throw out an assumption here, the Texas republic ceased to exist on on December 29, 1845 (2) when Texas was annexed into the United States. This event I'm sure prompted the issue of a new globe for the following year. Notice the US boarder includes newly admitted Texas, but still does not include the southwest states we know today those states continued in 1846 to be part of Mexico.  Alaska on this globe is a long way from being part of the USA here it is Russian America.
     Africa is detailed around it's edges and the vast center of the continent is labeled simply "unexplored".  The fact that this globe has a date stamped right in the cartouche is noteworthy because later on this became a rare thing because dating a globe makes it in a way instantly obsolete.  this practise was nearly unheard of towards the turn of the twentieth century.
     A young globe maker in a very young nation made this globe in Boston, and it was retailed for $5.00 a substantial sum at that time.  The United States in 1846 was a completely different place apart from city centers near major waterways the vast majority of the country was very sparsely populated.
     As an artifact this example of Joslin's handiwork remains in excellent original condition, with many fewer issues than most globes to have survived this long. Another beautiful combination of wood, metal, and paper, scientific, historic and artistic,  at least in my opinion.
     This globe was I'm sure primarily used as a student or classroom globe due to it's size. It is quite detailed and was hand colored by one of 5 Joslin employees.  This globe in my mind tells a story of a young nation and it's belief in manifest destiny.

source list:
(1) Werner Deborah, Rittenhouse Journal, 1985

(2) Wikipedia,  where else.......