Thursday, April 4, 2019

Trippensee planetarium..... round 2

      If you read this blog you'll know I've been long fascinated with the Trippensee planetariums.   A while back, I was able to find a very nice planetarium and I wrote about it extensively.
I'm back to talk about a second acquisition.  This being a decidedly newer version of the classic Planetarium design.
Trippensee planetarium 1963

     Now many of you are familiar with this item, it's not necessarily rare, but it's certainly uncommon.  This style of Trippensee was manufactured just after WW2 until about 1965, in 1965 the metal gears were swapped out for a black plastic gear assembly.  So this device still shares a bit of heritage with it's decades older sibling.  It has also not been electrified.    More commonly found on the market are planetariums from the 1960's that have an electric motor that rotates the device, and a lightbulb in the sun that casts " sunlight" on the planets.   As a collector personally this is the newest Trippensee that I   would consider collecting.   These planetariums are date stamped on the underside this one is stamped 1963.  
      Let's talk condition, as you know I'm a condition nut!  When I look at buying something to add to my collection I am only interested in the best condition I can afford.  I saw this particular item on an auction site and I scrutinized it's condition for a long time, I asked questions and also asked for extra close up pictures to verify what was being offered.   These planetariums in my opinion should only be considered for purchase if they are complete, fully functioning, and all parts are clean, and pristine.  This planetarium fit the bill, the globe was near flawless, the bakelite and gears were just right.   Notice that the chains and metal pieces are clean, no rust, no dirt buildup, as well as being a mellow dull ,  that's what you want to see, that peans most likely no replacement parts.  Oh of course the compass is intact and functioning.  DO NOT buy this model with missing parts, especially the globe, they are impossible to find. It's just not worth it.
      Now, lets talk about what you should expect to pay for a crisp, clean proper example of this type of planetarium.   I saw one of these once at Heart of Ohio Antiques priced at $1200,  I bet it's still there because it is AT LEAST double what the market is bearing right now.  At auction or on eBay expect to find a nice example at $350-$550.  Two years ago I would have said something $200 higher but it seems some of the wind has come out of the sails.
Left 1963,    right 1927
 A fresh update:  I was thumbing through a  1952 Denoyer Geppert catalog I just acquired , and I came across an advertisement for the Trippensee Planetarium,  I found it interesting that the ad mentions brass construction, and the picture, while certainly not definitive suggests a brass and lacquered wood construction.  Now I've always assumed that the red bakelite models started production after WW2 but perhaps they held onto the older version into the very early 1950's.  Additionally a new electrified model at $172 more than double is offered! More research will have to happen,  here is the ad, from 1952:
1952 Trippensee ad

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