So what makes globes different from other antiques? Having watched markets fluctuate over my 33 years of trading, I have developed a good understanding on where the trends lie. I feel 9/11 was the start of a slowdown in the British antiques trade, owing to a decline in American tourism in the UK, compounded by the fact that US buyers were the engine room of the market. As sales dropped off in furniture and decorative items, globes held their ground as key investment pieces. They continued to retain or even increase their value. Historically, globes were the ultimate accessories, designed and produced to accommodate kings and queens, politicians with acquisitive aspirations, and captains of industry. The globes enabled them to keep a close eye on their ships and cargoes, their armies and their territorial protectorates, as well as adorning their beautiful libraries.
This still remains the case today – no gentleman’s study is complete without one or, indeed, a pair. As symbols of wealth and good taste globes are examples of timeless elegance, reflecting the style and fashions of bygone eras, and have consequently retained their cachet. As globes have always been expensive luxury items, often specially commissioned, there has always been a limited supply of stock available, thus making them all the more desirable and enhancing their value.
Historically, globes were the ultimate gentleman's accessory – and this still remains the case today
This particularly applies to fine 18th-and 19th-century English library globes, whether they are floor or table-standing, handmade by the master craftsmen of their time: Newton, Bardin, Cary and Adams. My personal favourites are Cary’s because of the fine elegance of the stands, combined with the superb cartography on the globes, resulting in sophisticated works of art.
So, should one invest in antique globes? Like all investments, values can fluctuate, but the advantage of buying works of art is the built-in bonus of owning beautiful objects. There is the pride and pleasure of being the custodian of the prized possessions of bygone generations and added historical interest depending on the discoveries, political territories and even engineering feats plotted on your set of papers. With globes you can potentially make a savvy investment, while having the world at your fingertips.
For more information: wickantiques.co.uk