Remarkable collection of 18th and 19th century pocket globes

Sotheby's currently has auctions for several beautiful pocket globes from the 1790s and early 1800s. If you have a few grand lying around, one of these 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch beauties could be yours.

Globemaking required the precise printing and placing of each gore, or strip of printed material shaped like the rind surface of a lemon wedge. In the miniature globe above, each gore represented thirty degrees of longitude and were hand-colored. The outer case was notched to hold a metal pin running through each pole for easier spinning. The inner surface of the cover typically had an astronomical map, though some like the one below gave other information, like "a table of latitudes and longitudes of places not given on this globe."


The art form has declined with the advent of digital options, but specialists like Peter Bellerby continue the globemaking tradition, as seen in this lovely film by Charles Arran Busk and Jamie McGregor Smith.