Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Hammond's celestial globe upgrade, a look at one of the most important parts of collecting

     Upgrading a collection is something that gets only passing coverage ,  this post hopes to change that.    If you've been collecting anything for a while then you know that sometimes you've got to buy a better example of something you already have and sell the other item in order to upgrade,   without this selling you run the risk of becoming a hoarder !    This is the tale of one such upgrade.
     Months ago I purchased this very nice Hammond's celestial globe:

     I was happy and content,  these globes are not easy to find and are usually not in as nice a shape,   I was happy until last week that is when I was cursing Ebay and I discovered this:
     This is the same globe,  but in a more desirable mount, and with slightly better original color,  so I knew I had to UPGRADE.    This is a great example of an upgrade situation.  These is a clear betterment, and the other globe being redundant is best sold and moved into someone else collection for them to enjoy.    This new Hammond's globe condition wise is excellent,  as is the condition of the one it will replace.  The horizon band is a nice touch,  had this globe not come along or had the price been ridiculous I could have just as easily not bought it and been content.  
      However the right place at the right time situation worked out and I was able to make the switch.  Here is another shot of the globe:

     Celestial globes in my mind deserve attention as perfect companions to any terrestrial globe in a collection.  American globe makers made some of the most stunning celestial globes in the world over the past 200 years, below Ive got a picture of 3 of my favorite globes from 1880-1950, all celestial and all beautiful.  Interesting to see how over time cost pressure demanded that things get less ornate and more utilitarian over time.

Left to right: 1880 Andrews, 1930 Rand McNally, and 1950 Hammond's

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Holbrook globe manual and catalog, an Ebay story

     I love finding these nuggets on Ebay .   This find is EXACTLY why despite all the complaining I do Ebay is still the most fertile hunting ground out there.    This is the story of a book,  a Holbrook manual, with the cumbersome title of  " A Teacher's guide to Illustration or Holbrooks guide to school apparatus".  In a nutshell it is part globe use manual ( about 1/2 the book) part globe catalog (20%) and the rest a guide to various other Holbrook teaching aids.  It is Holbrook's version of a globe manual and catalog all wrapped into one, and it it an extremely difficult to find item.   This book is rarer than the Joslin or Andrews manuals because this was not given away for free but rather purchased separately for an additional charge.   This copy is from 1871 but it was originally published in the mid 1860's.
     It is bound on stiff boards, with a wonderful illustration on the cover a virtual cabinet of curiosities of planetary models is represented,  perhaps my goal as a collector should be to re create this photo with collected apparatus?  The pages are filled with over 20 additional illustrations of globes, maps and planetary models in addition to chapters devoted to their use and virtue as teaching aids.
     So,  here's how it went,  I do a lot of different Ebay searches, and last week during one of my searches I found this book tucked away as a 7 day auction in a category labeled " educational books" this catchall category was ripe for auctions that could have done better in another more specific category.  When I saw the auction it already had an opening bid,  the person who had bid on the item had also recently competed intensely for a Holbrook hemisphere globe just the week before, but lost. I added this to my watch list and waited for the end.  Of course the end was inconvenient a time when I'd be at work.  Never fear I was sniping anyhow. Is there any other way to bid?   In the end it was rather anticlimactic .   I was the only other bidder,  I believe this owes to the mis- categorization on Ebay.   I've had sever great finds due to these types of situations,  always a great thing ! I believe if correctly listed it would have gone much higher in a different  category.
      Over the past decade I've been working to assemble as many catalogs , pamphlets , and manuals pertaining to American globes as I can,  with an emphasis on materials from before 1930.  To date I have amassed 40 plus items.  Separately they are nothing special, but together they are a collection all their own that I want to use to better understand the globes and planetaria themselves .    I find it endlessly fascinating to put these objects in context,  knowing how they were used and where is an interesting story.  Seeing how globes morphed from a statement of knowledge and prosperity during James Wilson's time to the simple educational appliance advertised by Weber Costello, and Replogle is an interesting journey.
     Below are a sampling of some of the items in my "globe library".