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Globe, Miniature, Terrestrial in Cylindrical Box, Antique, MPS, Germany, c. 1861 (Sold)

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3-Inch Terrestrial Globe in Cylindrical Box
MPS, Nuremberg: c. 1861
Pocket globe in cylindrical box
2.75 inches diameter, globe
2.75 inches high, 2.75 inches diameter, cylindrical box

A charming miniature terrestrial globe in its original box with illustrated lid. This globe was most likely produced to introduce children to the subject of geography — its simple geographical features were intended to teach relative cartography on a sphere. Place names on the globe are in English, suggesting it was made for export to England and America. It is one among a number of versions of such globes by German globe makers — generally attributed to the Bauer family — produced for the English and Continental markets. The illustration on the box lid is a hand-colored engraving of a Renaissance geographer at work. The globe is labeled with the monogram MPS, believed to be a trademark of the Carl Bauer Family. Globes were issued by Carl Bauer as early as the 1820s, and then by his family as successors. The bottom of the box has a handwritten inscription in ink, mostly faded, but legible are the words “Greenhill…Xmas 1861. Presented as a prize for…” This suggests that the globe was manufactured in the mid 19th century, which is otherwise consistent with other globes by MPS and examples with similar cartography and cases.

Product description continues below.


The terrestrial globe has metal axis pins at the North and South Poles, and rests loosely, as issued, in the top edge of its original cylindrical box. This allows the globe to be rotated 360 degrees by hand to view all the different sides east to west. The cylindrical box is made of cardboard. The lid has a circular applied paper illustration of a bearded Renaissance geographer at work, holding a drawing compass above the pages of an open book of maps, alongside a globe and a magnetic compass.

The globe, with place names in English, is comprised of 12 engraved hand-colored gores on a hollow cardboard core. Every third longitude line corresponds to the gores; latitude lines are also included. The Equator and the First Meridian (through London) are both highlighted in red and numbered; the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circles, and the Ecliptic are also labeled and the Ecliptic is graduated. Beneath the Cape of Good Hope is printed “Cook’s journey around the earth.” The very simple cartography labels continents and oceans, and also includes some major nations, cities, inland seas, and rivers, although national boundaries are not indicated. Antarctica is left blank and labeled “Southern Ocean,” reflecting geographic knowledge at the time. The Arctic region is more detailed but the northernmost coastline of Greenland is undefined. Australia is called New Holland. Oceans and continents are cream-colored, with continents hand outlined in red, yellow, green, or orange, and some continents tinted in lighter shades of those colors. The coastlines are shaded with printed lines to which green hand coloring has been applied.

Johann Bernard Bauer (1752-1839) and his sons Carl Johann Sigmund Bauer (1780-1857) and Peter Bauer (1783-1847) were scientific instrument makers, globe makers and engravers in Nuremberg. Between them, the Bauer family produced a variety of globes, including miniatures for the educational market. Carl Bauer is well known for packaging a miniature globe in a box with inserted folding engravings of the peoples of the world as a set called “The Earth and its Inhabitants.” Versions for the German- and English-speaking markets survive, with variations in the number and style of engravings as well as in the appearance of the box lids. These sets are either unsigned or bear the initials C.B. on the globe and/or on the box.

MPS was probably a trademark applied to globes manufactured in Nuremberg, Germany, most likely by the Bauer family of globe makers. MPS globes were issued in a variety of miniature sizes, in German or in English for the foreign market. Some globes that are labelled MPS have an eight-pointed star emblem above the monogram, leading historians to conclude it stood for Marke Polar Sterne [Polar Star Brand].

Read more about the Bauer Family and MPS in our Guide to Globe Makers.


Allmayer-Beck, Peter E., ed. Modelle der Welt: Erd-und Himmelsgloben — Kulturerbe aus oesterreichischen Sammlungen [Models Of The World: Terrestrial And Celestial Globes — Cultural Inheritance from Austrian Collections] Vienna: Bibliophile Edition/Christian Brandstaetter Verlagsgesellschaft, 1997. p. 171.

Dahl, Edward H. and Gauvin, Jean-François. Sphaerae Mundi: Early Globes at the Stewart Museum. Canada: Septentrion and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000. pp. 98-99.

Dekker, Elly, et al. Globes at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. London: Oxford University Press and the National Maritime Museum, 1999. pp. 273-75.

Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. p. 98.

Lamb, Tom and Collins, Jeremy. The World in Your Hands: An Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria. London: Christie’s, 1994. p. 92.

Sumira, Sylvia. Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation and Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 47, pp. 186-187.

“Thomas B. Sharadin.” Find A Grave. 2019. (24 December 2019).

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