Whatever Floats Your Boat - Gas Globe Collecting
I did an article a few years ago on the different types of globes one can collect. The list can be endless. You can collect certain brands like Mobil, Sinclair or Texaco as many collectors do. You can collect certain types like one piece, metals, glass or plastic. Some people collect oval globes, unusual shaped globes or globes with animals on them. There are people who collect globes with Indians on them or Western themes.
I speak with a lot of people on a weekly basis and many of you, like myself, just collect whatever catches your fancy. Also, more often, whatever your current budget is will dictate what you can collect.
I still collect Sinclair but I havenít picked up a different Sinclair globe in well over a year now, so in the last five years Iíve shifted to metals, one piece and neat glass or plastic globes. I always collected those types of globes but now I try even harder. Basically, I collect like most of you - whatever catches my eye. Itís amazing how many neat globes are out there. Recently I started to collect, what I like to call, the ďGlobeĒ globes. These are any gas globes that picture the world on them, like Globe Gasoline, Utility Gasoline, Bonded Universal, Travelon Gasoline, etc. Iím not trying to collect every different version, but I felt putting six or eight of these on a shelf might look very interesting.
Then there are the ďscenicĒ globes. There are picture globes and there are the scenic globes. Very few scenic globes exist and to me these are the best globes. Scenic globes are ones with a whole scene on them. Though I have very few, these are my favorite globes. Most picture globes have a dog, hat, car or whatever in the center of the globe. Then you move to the next level of collecting. Look at the Tiwoser globe on 15 inch metal. Here you not only have a detailed boat, but you have seagulls, detailed colorful water and a sun setting in the background. Most of you have not seen the very rare Home Oil Company globe that pictures not only an old house on it but trees and much detail around the house too. The Refiners Gasoline 15 inch metal with the race car is a great example. They could have stopped with the race car, a symbol of power. Yet they added a road with grooved details, a tree, a mountain in the background and a setting sun. Wow! The neat thing is the globe is only a couple colors but what they did with that is truly amazing. These globes were created by artists who lived a long time ago. Thatís why they go up in value so much. Itís hard to picture some of these globes actually sitting on a gas pump back then. Look at the 15 inch Independent Gasoline globe with the three marching men. There is no prettier and detailed globe out there, period. Check out the Bruin 15 inch metal frame globe with the bear climbing the mountain. Try and find a better looking globe. A few of these globes are great in any collection. Though the Musgo one piece globe is not a scenic globe, the detail is second to none. By the way, never try to clean a Musgo one piece globe. Only the outer dark green border and lettering is fired on. The Indian was hand painted by an artist, each one being unique, and will erase with little effort! This is the same with the blue background around the Indian. It will come off like nothing! There is a Musgo globe out there with a nickel size white area in the blue background. That would be my fault. That Musgo was my first back in the 1970s and I tried to clean it up a bit. Oops! Luckily, I didnít touch the Indian.
I feel these globes will continue to increase in price as they are truly works of art and belong in collections and museums.
But not everyone can afford these types of globes. For the people collecting the lesser priced globes, now is the best time to expand your collections here. Many globes in the $400-$2,000 range, though going up in value, are not escalating as quickly as the rarer ones. In fact, several are being left in the dust. I see many good deals out there as the other collectors scramble for the best pieces. This is not bad, as it leaves the new or budget-minded collector something to think about and something affordable to collect. I hear talk in the hobby that people are concerned that only the good globes are selling well. This is far from the truth. I have purchased several collections in the last year filled with hundreds of common globes. These are selling well, but itís just that you donít hear about these as much. In fact, there are still more and more people buying globes, signs and other collectibles in our hobby. I talk with many of these people every week and Iím sure the people dealing on e-Bay and show vendors would have to agree on this fact too.
So what are some of the cheaper globes people are collecting? Basically, everything. What sticks out as being very popular right now are Gulf globes, any Standard Oil globes other than the common crowns, Texaco globes, Cities Service is ever popular right now, Tydol, Mobil and Sinclair. Notice these are all the bigger brands. Well known brands are always popular and always seem to sell well. As you move into the scarcer brands like Cushing, Kanotex, etc., the price goes up a bit but since these are still available, the price does not sky rocket. The globes that suffer the most in terms of price are the one word globes or globes that do not say ďgasolineĒ or some identifying fuel type on them. If they have no graphics, well I donít care if itís the only one known, they just donít sell well. A known brand would do better as a one word globe but the off brands suffer here. Iíve been telling collectors this for years and most agree with me on this topic. Standard Crowns have slacked off a bit but there are just so many of them out there. Same goes with the Shell globes. The reproductions have not helped these unusual shaped globes.
Then we have the collectors splitting their globes up and trading off the back insert for something different. I once thought this was stupid, Iím being honest here. But I found myself now doing the same thing. Few people can afford a zillion picture globes but trading off the back insert will not hurt a thing. Often, you can enjoy another neat globe that you could not readily afford. The investment will not be hurt here, and often it may be even better. Letís say you have a Gilmore Blu-Green 15 inch metal complete. We know this globe would now approach the upper teens if sold complete or perhaps $20,000 or more. Who can afford such a globe? Say you trade the back insert for a Rainbow Gasoline with the old car scene and gas pump on it. Then down the road you decide to sell both singles. I bet you would get more for the two different singles combined than the complete Gilmore as it was. First, you have a very limited audience on a $20,000 complete globe. Second, you could make a few calls and offer the two different singles for, say, $12,000 or more a piece in a few years from now and I bet you would have them sold right away. Would the Gilmore be worth more left complete as it was? Perhaps, but to find the right buyer would take quite a while. Iím not saying all the best inserts are approaching the $10,000 plus for singles range. But we cannot ignore the fact that some of the best globes are heading that way. You hear the stories and see the auctions like all of us. Iím not telling you anything you donít already know.
Iím not encouraging everyone to split up their best globes. There are some globes, because of their interest to me that I would never split up. Then again, to have two globes as singles is more interesting than to have a complete one in most cases. You can often find the back insert later if you must complete the globe. This gives you something to work towards. Some collectors would never split a globe and thatís fine. But it gives you another option that you may not have considered a few years ago. You can buy the blank inserts to fill out the back too if you want. Some people put an ethyl insert on the back and a regular version on the front, sticking to the same company. This is not a bad idea. Remember, pricing such a globe would be pricing each insert separately and then the frame and coming up with a total from there.
I finally broke down and started putting inserts on frames where they never belonged. I still have 90% of my collection with inserts on their correct frames and doing anything else really bothers me. What Iím talking about here is putting a Sinclair H-C globe only for plastic on a Green Ripple for example! No, I wonít do that, but many of you out there have been doing this for years. Colored plastic frames and colored ripple glass frames look great with many inserts. I put a Tankar insert on a yellow ripple the other day. Wow, it sure looks great. Tankar only used red Capco frames for their regular version and yellow Capco frames for their ethyl version. Old Dutch globes look great on blue ripples though most came on white plastic Capco, or clear ripples. I have a Polar Gasoline scenic globe with a detailed polar bear, water and mountain on it. It has the notches for three piece glass. The globe is so pretty and really looks fine on a regular white glass frame. This is what it originally came on. Then I put it on a blue ripple. Now it really looks great! But it still bothers me to ďdress upĒ such globes. I donít know why, it just does. The metal frame globes are easy. Just paint the frame and youíre done. Many companies used red and if you donít know the true color they used, pick a nice match to the inserts and paint the frame. You can always change the color.
The one piece globes are easy to deal with. You canít split them up and the baked ones you canít paint them any other color. The etched ones are best to repaint correctly as most people do. Here is another great choice for the newer collectors or someone wanting a good deal. As the rare and graphic one piece globes go up in value, like the Sinclair Aircraft, Musgo, Red Hat, White Rose and others, the less graphic ones are hanging in the lower ranges. They are creeping up but many very slowly. This is a great time to pick up some very rare and unique globes under $2,500 or $2,000 in many cases. Yes, sometimes they are not the most graphic, but for what they are, they are by far the best values going today. If you are not comfortable with the off brands, then stick to Gulf, Sinclair, Texaco, Diamond and the other well known brands. These globes always keep their value well and all increase over time.
No matter what you collect in globes, there is something for everyone. You donít have to have a million bucks to put a nice collection together. It just takes patience, persistence, talking to people and using what finances you have to put it together.
As always you can call me anytime with a question on globes as I enjoy talking about them with you. Good luck and find some great globes!
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