A ‘priceless’ Elizabethan globe complete with sea monsters is expected to fetch over £30,000 at auction, although ‘the sky is the limit’ says its dealer.
The globe dates back to 1560, just two years before Elizabeth I took the throne. It was brought to Hansons Auctioneers, Bishton, Staffordshire by a member.
The world it depicts was not discovered until 1606 when Willem Janszoon (Dutch explorer) had first found Australia. It appears only in the middle of a small, unnamed southern land mass named Terra Incognita. This is because it’s empty.
Elsewhere, Japan is called ‘Sipannge’ while islands near Java are termed ‘Gryforum Insule’ and the USA is known as ‘Devicta ann 1530’.
Hansons Auctioneers Jim Spencer stated that “the sheer age” of the globe is amazing. When they handled the globe for the first time in Elizabethan England, people would have worn ruffs or codpieces.
“No European has ever seen Australia, let alone set foot there.”
He continued, “If the world gains the attention it deserves, then the sky is the limit.” This is priceless for me. This could make it very unique indeed. It could be very special indeed, but it is just too young and fragile to survive the years.
The globe, which dates back to 1560 – two years after Elizabeth I acceded to the throne – is expected to fetch over £30,000 at auction, although ‘the sky is the limit’ says its dealer
It was 16 years before Willem Janszoon discovered Australia in 1606. It appears only amid Terra Incognita, a vaguely defined southern land mass that is referred to as ‘unknown’ and it’s empty.
According to appraisers, the 16th century terrestrial globe may have been made by Francois Demangenet, a French geographer and famed French physicist. If not, it almost certainly was influenced by his design.
Demongenet is most well-known for his creation of a set globes, which was used as a model by other miniature globe carvers during his era.
While the vendor offered a variety of goods for sale, she was uncertain if one was important. Bishton hall’s valuers called Mr Spencer to ask if he would be willing to look at the globe.
Spencer stated that he expected to find a new reproduction but was immediately struck by the engraving gores which showed authentic age.
Expert Jim Spencer said that he couldn’t wait for the opportunity to start researching it. “It’s impossible to determine its value in monetary terms because there is nothing I can compare it to.”
It depicts Triton, the Roman demigod of the ocean, along with the mythical sea monsters believed to lurk beneath the waves.
“I could not wait to start researching it. I don’t think it’s possible to say what its monetary value is because I have nothing to compare it with, but I’m guiding at £20,000-£30,000 and feel it must surely reach or soar beyond that.
It also depicts sea monsters, as people at the time believed that these creatures existed beneath the ocean waves. Sir Humphrey Gilbert of England claimed in 1583 that he saw a lion-like beast with “glaring eyes” while on his voyage.
“Such a variety of places have not been explored. Amazing to consider all of the historic events that this fragile little globe has seen. Not only did it survive two world wars but also survived the Great Fire of London, which occurred in 1666.
“It feels museum-quality to me. This must have been one of the first globes on the market.
The globe has been given a guide price of £20,000 to £30,000, although ‘the sky is the limit’ says Jim Spencer of Hansons Auctioneers
Jim Spencer from Hansons Auctioneers shares his knowledge with the world. “It feels priceless to me,” he stated. You could find something very rare. It could be very special indeed, but it is just too young and fragile to survive the years.
The 1500s saw the development of navigation skills that allowed exploration to flourish. Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman who sailed around the globe, circumnavigating it between 1577-1580. Queen Elizabeth I encouraged him in his exploits.
Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492 and Portuguese traders António da Mota and Francisco Zeimoto reached Japan in 1543. This period was one of maritime adventurers, naval war and the origin of the pirates of The Caribbean.
Spencer stated that he knew Demongenet-style globes were sold before in silver or brass, which was a big deal. However, this fragile item is made of engraved paper gores. It is worth a sheet of the gores, which alone can be valuable. But to actually see a globe such as this one, it is amazing.
When researching around the world, I reached out to various museums. Some of their responses included “we don’t have any like that in our collections so we can’t help”. It was then that it became clear how important and rare this item is.
Hansons Auctioneers will auction the globe at Bishton Hall (Staffordshire) on December 14.
Prior to being bought by the vendor, it was in Major Edward Croft Murray’s (1907-1980) collection. He was also the Keeper of Prints and Drawings for the British Museum.
We won’t know the source of Major Croft Murray’s acquisition of the globe. However, we know that he was one the “Monuments men” who saved all kinds of treasures from the Nazis. The globe almost transports us back to the fragility on our planet’, Mr Spencer said.
Hansons Auctioneers, Bishton Hall (Staffordshire) will sell the globe on December 14. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.