There is something magical about vintage globes. They represent a moment in geopolitical time.
I’m immediately drawn to them at flea markets. All the various sizes, materials, and bases . The fun part is sleuthing out the age of the globe based on it’s moment in geopolitical time. What are some of the geopolitical quick checks I have rummaging around in my head?
- Do you see Persia or Iran? Persia became Iran in 1935.
- Do you see Tanganyika instead of Tanzania? This African country was Tanganyika from 1946 – 1961.
- St. Petersburg or Leningrad? Leningrad was this city’s name from 1924 – 1991.
I’m going to sleuth out a couple of my globes:
I adore the base of this metal globe with it’s mid century modern modes of transportation.
We’ll refer to him as Globe 1: Indo-China is still there so it was made before 1954 (Indo-China became Vietnam). Tanganyika is there so it was made some time between 1946 and 1961. Labrador is still its own country (they joined Canada in 1949). India has not been partitioned to create Pakistan (as a result of dissolution of the British Empire and the Indian Independence Act of 1947). The final clue … both Palestine and Israel are shown. Palestine became Israel in 1948. I’m guessing this globe was made in 1947 before Indian independence was finalized and during the negotiation to create Israel.
Globe 2 is my smallest globe at 2″ in diameter. I found him at 3 Potato 4 before they left Manayunk. He was $25 … more than I would normally pay for a globe but I had never seen one like this. He was made in Japan.
Persia is there so he was made before 1935. Peking can be found instead of Peiping (it became Peking in 1928) so he was made after 1928. The Japanese hadn’t invaded and renamed Manchuria Manchukuo which happened in 1931.
So this globe was made between 1928 and 1931.
I started my collection with a few mid century modern era 12″ diameter globes but now I tend to be much more selective … looking for unique globes. What are my ‘white whales”?
The illusive vintage moon globe. 8″ in diameter. This one is not on the original base but I do like this what looks to be cast iron base. I’ve only ever seen one vintage moon globe and he was too big and WAY too expensive.
The almost as hard to find vintage black oceans globe. Keep in mind, I’m very fussy about proportion so I have seen a few of these guys but not the right size or with the right base. Look how awesome he looks contrasting with the other vintage ‘traditional’ globes!