When shopping for world globes, you've probably come across what are known as called Old World globes. Oftentimes, they'll come in papyrus brown, and make references to places and countries in their old name (e.g. Mesopotamia for Iraq).
The term "old world" is often used to describe something that's old, classic, or an antique. Unfortunately, it's a term that's being tossed around a little too often than many people might like, since most of the time, "old world" describes the appearance of an object, and not the specific area it originated from.
Ideally, the term should be only used to describe something that actually comes from the Old World. Any globe that's a reproduction of a an Old piece should only be called an Old World style globe. That, however, is not quite the case, as many retailers and websites use the term liberally in describing antique-style reproduction globes and bar globe replicas. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about this issue in the world of globes, but it pays to know the real meaning of Old World instead of just drinking the Kool Aid after being drawn to the appeal of antique-looking globes.
Where Does the Term 'Old World' Even Come From?
The usage of the world "Old" in describing a certain era in time only happened when Italian historian Pedro Martyr D'anghiera created the term "New World". You probably already know that the term is associated with the exploration of the American continent by Christopher Columbus.
In 1493, Martyr wrote a letter to one Cardinal Ascanius Sforza in Italy providing updates on the Christopher Columbus' voyages; his letter contained a reference to the "New World." A second letter written by Martir a year later to the same cardinal contained yet another reference to New World.
When Buying Old World Globes...
If you're interested in buying Old Earth globes, it's important that you understand that the majority of authentic Old Earth globes out there that actually survived for hundreds of years in one piece are probably in museums and/or historical societies. However, that doesn't take away from the beauty of an Old globe replica, which feature a map of the world as it was known many hundreds of years ago. The brown papyrus color and old world-style features of an Old globe can add a touch of rustic elegance to any space it is placed in.
However, it's not unheard of for some people to stumble upon an actual Old globe in the most unlikeliest of places. As unlikely as it sounds, there's a slim chance that you might come across one of these historical gems in a flea market. At the very least, it's likely that you can find a globe from the 19th century, which in itself is a good find.
Whatever you do, just remember to do your homework before buying a globe. When offered an antique globe for an exorbitant price, always be sure to have an expert to authenticate the globe.