Expert advice

How to Determine the Value of Your Antique Globe

Written by Irene

Antique globes have something mystical: they can remind us of ancient times when great parts of the world were yet to be discovered. Can you imagine what a globe must've meant to an 18th-century traveller or scientist? Perhaps you are more interested in finding out what the globe you have on your desk might actually be worth. In collaboration with our expert, Roger Schreutelkamp, we share with you some factors to take into consideration when determining the value of your antique globe.

Factor 1. Authenticity

The best way to find out whether your globe is unique and antique or a mass-reproduction is to consult an expert. But there are ways to get an idea of the authenticity on your own as. For example, pre-mid-18th-century globes will be printed on laid paper, which show vertical and horizontal lines when you hold the paper against the light. Most colour printed globes from before the late- 19th century are painted by hand with watercolour paint and are the result of a traditional printing process such as etching. A magnifying glass can help you spot photo-reproductions, which consist of a matrix of tiny little dots. In the 19th century and early 20th century, restrikes of the original plates of engravings and etchings were made when the original plates became worn. These restrikes – unlike reproductions- can be valuable too, although not as valuable as early strikes.

Factor 2. Decorative appeal

Since globes are both historically interesting ánd highly decorative, the appeal of a globe contributes a great deal to the value. This 1890 globe by Alfonso Nicolas Lebegue, for example, was worth €420 on a Catawiki auction, not just for its historical value, but also because of the beautiful metal stand. And the decorative appeal of this 1950-1959 Italian Baroque globe bar is the main reason it sold for €500.

Factor 3. Age

The earliest terrestrial globes date back as far as 500 years when the earth was still believed to be the centre of the universe. Most antique globes you find today are a bit younger though. Age can have a great influence on the value of a globe: while a good condition 30-inch globe from the 1930s-1960s can be valued at as much as a thousand euro, a tiny pocket globe from the late 18th century can be worth fifteen times more.

You will need an expert to help you date your globe, but by looking closely at the maps you might be able to get an idea of the age of the globe yourself. For example, a globe manufactured before 1867 will show Russian territory where Alaska is found today. And if you can find Constantinople on your globe it shows it is made before 1930, when the name of the city changed to Istanbul.

Factor 4. Condition

As with all antique items, condition plays an important role in its value: the better the condition, the more a globe is worth if all other factors are equal. But while some prefer a restored globe – if it has been done properly-, others believe a globe is best left “untouched” to preserve originality.

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To many, globes are the ultimate maps of the world. They give great insight in a time period so different from the one we live in now and are highly decorative. Curious to find out what your antique globe could be worth? Register here, consult our experts and put your globe up for auction. If you are interested in collecting more globes you can take a look at our Globes auction.

Discover more globes | curio | antiques

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