Monday, November 19, 2018

A fresh peek at my own collection

     It's been nearly 5 years since I started blogging about the hobby of collecting globes.  As I look back I think about how.  I've changed as a collector, and how my collection has changed.  In this post I want to share some pictures of my globes in situ so to speak.  How I display things, how I control the environment etc.    I'm providing fresh up to date pictures of the day to day life of my personal collection.
     Most people that set foot in my home never even realize that I'm collecting anything.  I try to keep my collection separate from view and the rest of my active family.  I'm a realist, I've got 2 young kids, and with them comes friends and play dates, and casual drop ins that if my collection were dispersed through the house would pose too great a risk for breakage.   I reserve a space roughly 24 by 14 that is devoted to my various collections. Close one door and everything disappears.
       Within this space I control 3 atmospheric variables, heat, humidity, and light.   I generally keep things cool, dry and dark.  In a previous post I talked at length about protective window film. Within this room every window is covered with a film that blocks UVA and UVB rays.  even on the sunniest of days I find myself turning on a light to read  in this space.  The great thing about the film is that it is easily repaired, and resile reversed should I ever sell this home in the future.   Humidity is kept in a range from neutral to low, I never allow things to get humid.  Paper based objects and humidity never mix well.  As for temperature ,  well all I can say is bring a sweater!  Its 65-68 from September through May and in summer when I air condition it creeps all the way up to 71 or so.  I try for a very narrow temperature band.   I once visited the map room at the Library of Congress, it was a blistering 90+ degree July day in D.C.   however  the map room must've been about 62,  the librarian was in a turtleneck!
     The bulk of my collection resides in a space dominated by a great 1920's Eugene Dietzgen drafting table.  I love the wood and metal design, I think it compliments my globes nicely. My Andrews celestial globe rests confidently on a lovely Kalo typewriter table, another industrial relic from a bygone time in America.  Pay no mind to the three windows behind the globe display,  those have been blacked out with insulating panels that render them completely light omitting.  Again  this is an easily reversible modification.  The shades just hide the panels and you forget they are even there.  I have 25-30 globes at any given time, not a huge number, smaller than many think I own.  This is because lately I've been trying to slowly upgrade my collection, selling items acquired 5-10 years ago and replacing them with better examples as they become available.  My collection is currently split evenly between the 19th and 20th century, but as time goes on I can see this split favoring the older globes more and more.
      In another area of the space I have an antique display cabinet that houses a few of my smallest treasures, and next to it is a well preserved Joslin orb that serves as a focal point to the room.   I do out of habit keep this globe dust covered most of the time.  The quietest room in the house, I spend many an hour back here reading or working in relative solitude.
  One thing I currently do not have in my collection is a fairly large globe, in fact the largest orb I own is 16 inches.  I've come close more than once to adding a nice 18 inch orb but I'm space limited and I just have not found the one perfect addition in that size category yet.
     I've noticed this past year has been a rather slow one for new acquisitions.  I've had great luck adding to my collection of globe related books, catalogs and the like but I have purchased exactly one new globe.  Some years are like that I've noticed good things seem to come in waves.  The hunting happens daily but I wonder if I've become too picky.  I've actually sold more globes than I've purchased this past year, that's unusual.
     As always on this blog I welcome questions, comments, and discussion.  If you have something that you want to part with that is in nice original condition then please contact me. Im always in the hunt.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Summer 2018 0n the antiques trail, a retrospective part 1..

     To anyone who has been reading this blog for a while, knows I love hunting antiques the old fashioned way.  That is out on the open road.  This summer took me through New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and into Rhode Island.    A separate trip took me through Pennsylvania, and Ohio.   I probably spent 2 weeks on the road in towns large and small hunting for those elusive needles in the haystacks.
     Every year my travels take me through Ohio,  just west of Columbus on I-70 is one of the largest indoor antique venues in the country.  The Heart of Ohio Antiques center. is one of those mega malls that I have a love hate relationship with.  On one hand it's a huge venue, in this case it takes hours to cover properly.  On the other hand we all know that the dealers pick the hell out of places like this.  I don't blame them, I would too.  Also these malls must cater to the casual buyer, so 90%of everything is priced with the casual buyer in mind.  We dear readers are not casual buyers, we are superior, we are specialists, we've done the research, we've put in the time to know good from bad, etc...etc...etc...  So that said, I can't help myself, I have to stop, it's just too big. It also gives me a chance between other more specialized antiques shows to see what's going on, to get a broad feel for things in the antique world.  As for the globes to be found.  They fit 2 categories, overpriced, or tragic,  or god forbid both!  a couple pictures will show you what I mean.  I will remark that in an earlier post I did see an exceptional 1959 Tripppensee tellurian at this mall, but it was embarrassingly high priced.  So good things can show up, but you can't buy them...ha...

     Further south in Ohio, I love to visit a similar, but very different place in Cincinnati called Ohio Valley Antique mall.  This mall is Cincinnati's largest, and it seems that the dealer quality is a step above the other mall.  I NEVER miss this stop when I'm in the area.  I've never purchased a globe here but I never leave empty handed, in fact some of my biggest regrets came from this place and Items I'm kicking myself for not buying.  This handmade barber pole was calling my name , and for very short money, but for whatever reason I passed, it's such an authentic, real piece of America, how could I have let it go.......A lesson learned.  I'll share one more pic, every year around back to school they setup a " classroom" pulling antiques and vintage from around their complex, it always prominently features globes, I love it.
 Generally the second week of August every year in Upstate NY just south of Syracuse is a very nice outdoor show The Madison-Bouckville antiques week is what I like to refer to as Brimfield lite.  It is a setup that mimics it's larger cousin in that there are really a collection of show fields that open different days/ times.  I live 3 hours away from this show so it's just a convenient thing to do.  This show is 50% antiques 50% junk, and 50% other...... This is a show that will draw dealers from most of the neighboring states, so there are a lot of good things to see,  I prefer visiting late week on Thursday to beat the weekend crowd.   I saw a spectacular globe at this show this year and I'll share the picture.  A Weber Costello 18 inch floor globe, from about 1920.  It was in nice shape, and was all original, and was by far the nicest thing this particular dealer had on offer.    Once in a while a dealer will obtain an item that punches above their weight class, this is one of those times.   What do I mean by this, well if your a dealer who specializes in one thing or one price range and you find yourself with an item that is way out of your normal zone of operation then you are out of your element.  Two things generally happen, you under price your item and it's scooped up so fast your head spins.  If this happens to you once or twice as ca dealer, you will react by overpricing the next time you get a great item.  This was the case in Bouckville this summer.   I wanted this globe, I was excited to see it.  I almost fainted at the price,  you see the dealer had done some " research" and had arrived at a price that would make dealers on Madison Ave blush.  However we were not on Madison ave, we were in a cow pasture in Madison NY,   I can see how he might have been confused.   Anyhow I whipped out my phone and discovered 2 recent auction results for similar globes.  I showed them to him, but predictably faced with this truth that didn't fit his mental narrative he dug his heels in.   I left my card, and hope to hear not really, this guy's going to loose money before he sells to me.... oh well it was/is a great globe.    The hunt continues.

     In part 2 of my summer recap we will go into New England, and visit some stand alone shops, as well as pay a visit to the legendary Brimfield show......more great globes to come....