Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes this unusual antique for a spin...literally!
It’s cold! This week’s very special anniversary celebrates the intrepid explorers who venture to nature’s most hostile environments.
Robert Falcon Scott led a party of five to the South Pole on 17th Jan in 1912.
I am in awe of these early explorers, setting out with none of the modern seafarer’s hi tech navigational aids. The telescopes, compasses and sextants they relied on have shaped a niche market in maritime instrument collecting. None evoke far flung exotic destinations like this week’s collectable, the terrestrial globe.
The first record of a globe comes from Greek philosopher and geographer, Strabo, in 150 BC, and the oldest surviving globe is from 1492.
From the 1600s, globes were created by printing maps on paper gores, which were cut, folded, and glued onto a round wooden frame.
Collecting globes is a relatively niche market; old globes are hard to find, often expensive, and take up space! However, with their deep heritage in craftsmanship, travel, art, science and history, a globe is a mesmerising object to own.
As with most antiques, condition is very important. Small defects, such as minor scratches and repairs to the paper, are expected in all antique globes for they are extremely fragile. Look for any major cracks, breaks or signs that the globe has been dropped or seriously damaged. Don’t overlook the stand; a high quality one can make the difference between an average globe and a valuable one. Some also have a compass in the base, if complete and working these can add significant value.
Size, condition, rarity, and aesthetics determine value with early and unusual globes commanding high prices.
A tiny 1790s pocket globe, in its leather case, carried by Georgian gentlemen to show you were a ‘man of the world’, can fetch over £10,000.
Most affordable are modern globes, produced in the 1930s through to the '60s, produced by “Phillips” and made from tin, cast iron, cardboard, wood and plaster. These start at just a few pounds.
This modern but unusual globe is printed in Chinese, so could improve both your geography and language skills at the same time!
It is currently in the centre priced at £75.
In this age of GPS, sat navs and technology, it’s nice to take these classic crafted collectables out for (literally) a spin!