Dating Vintage Globes Easy

This vase in the shape of a globe recently sold for $4,063 at an auction.

The ancient Greeks figured out that Earth was round about 2,500 years ago. But the oldest surviving globe showing our planet was made in 1492 by Martin Behaim of Germany. The first globe to show the Americas was made in 1507. Early globes were made of paper glued to a sphere. The paper was cut into “gores,” the shapes needed to completely cover a sphere. Because the globe surface was curved, the map had a distorted picture of a flat Earth. Many globes have been made, and many are decorative as well as useful.

Dating most vintage globes is easy, because each time there is political upheaval and countries change boundaries, the maps and globes also must be changed. A Rago auction in New Jersey sold a 12-inch Longwy vase shaped and decorated like a globe. It was made by Maurice-Paul Chevallier (1892-1987), the director of the French company after 1930. The vase is named Atlas. The countries are not marked on the globe — just the land masses and oceans — so it will always be current. It sold for $4,063.

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Q: My grandmother and grandfather got a Three Face cake stand as a wedding gift back in the late 1800s, and I have it now. My daughter doesn’t seem to want it. I love the cake stand, but it’s time to be getting rid of things. I want to sell it and wonder what it’s worth.

A: Three Face is a pattern designed by John Ernest Miller for George Duncan & Sons of Pittsburgh in 1875. Some sources say Miller’s wife was the model for the faces. The factory burned down in 1892, and the molds were destroyed. A new factory in Washington, Pennsylvania, opened in 1893. The company became Duncan & Miller Glass Co. in 1900, and became part of the United States Glass Co. in 1955. Duncan & Miller reproduced some Three Face pieces in the early 1920s and again in the early 1950s. Other companies also made reproductions. The value of a Three Face cake stand depends on which version it is. Many copies were made by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and are marked “MMA.” The original piece fluoresces yellow-green under a black light. It sells for about $300-$400.

Q: I have my great-grandfather’s accordion, a pre-1900 Hohner two-row button diatonic. It was appraised, and I was told it would fetch four figures. I’d love to keep it, but no one in my family wants it. It’s normal fifth scalar organization, 20 plus treble buttons and 12 bass buttons in very good condition. Where should I start?

A:  You probably will get the highest price by selling the accordion at an auction of other antique musical instruments. Expect to pay the auction gallery a commission. Fees are negotiable. Find out in advance what costs are and what it includes. Will the instrument be pictured in a catalog? What is the cost of shipping it to the auction? Insurance? Do you want a minimum bid? What are costs to you if it doesn’t sell? You also can try a music store in your area. They may know someone who collects vintage instruments.

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