Online antique globe store launches first retail location in Lynchburg
Oct 19, 2009 (The News and Advance – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — Kim Soerenson’s business has been thinking globally for years. Now that she is selling antique globes in downtown Lynchburg, she hopes to help more people think big.
Earlier this year she was looking for warehouse space to store and package globes, but some friends with a storefront on Church Street asked her to try a retail arm.
Globes tell history’s stories Omniterrum’s first retail store launched on Oct. 1 at the corner of Church and 11th streets.
It is stocked with dozens of globes of various sizes and ages, with prices starting at $35. Soerenson said those are the more affordable antique globes. Most people who would look in the store would be new to globe collecting, and therefore not ready to spend six digits on a globe, she said.
For Soerenson, the fascinating things about globes are their artistic designs and the history on them. The globes in Omniterrum tell the story of exploration, wars and political conquests.
A globe worth $6,000 from 1908 shows the routes followed by ships carrying immigrants to the U.S. It’s one of Soerenson’s favorites that she won’t sell.
A World War II-era German-made globe shows Adolf Hitler’s disregard for the treaty of Versailles: it shows colonies in Africa, although Germany gave up those colonies after World War I.
Other globes show the space race between the U.S. and Russia. When Russia’s Lunik 3 satellite got the first pictures of the dark side of the moon, the country made an incomplete moon globe just to beat the U.S., she said.
Business owner’s globe collecting began as a hobby Soerenson’s interest in globes began with an interest in political history. She started collecting globes in 2002, but she left a career in design in 2004 when her daughter was born. That let her focus on globes.
Ordering antique globes through Internet auctions had “an expensive learning curve,” she said. Soerenson began to learn about manufacturers and styles to be sure she was getting true antiques.
As Soerenson collected globes, she came across documents about the design and construction of the first U.S. moon globe. She quickly saw that the papers had monetary and scholarly value.
“I could sell it through one of the big auction houses because they’re collectible, or I could ensure that it stays available to the public” for study, Soerenson said.
She decided to donate the papers to the National Museum of Austria Globe Museum. “That was one of the best decisions I made for the business, because that’s what propelled it to actually be a business,” she said.
After she made the donation, museum officials told her they wanted to expand their collection of U.S. globes. They asked her to help them procure globes. “I tried to do the right thing, and I’ve been rewarded ever since,” she said.
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