Fascinating snow globes

Fascinating snow globes

Snow globes fascinate not only children. Even the adults are thrilled when they can take the fragile structures in their hands, shake them and then enjoy the wintery, snow-covered landscape. But there are not only christmas motifs, the choice of motifs is rough.
Who knew this better than josef kardinal, who owns the world’s largest collection of snow globes in his house in nurnberg?. He owns over 8800 different objects. A selection is on display at the henneberg museum in the castle.When you drive up to josef cardinal’s house, you are briefly taken aback – his house is decorated with the motif of a looting cheetah. Inside, there are numerous contemporary paintings, mostly inspired by pop art. This seems unusual for a snowball collector. The way in which the financial officer came to this rather rare hobby is also unusual. "In 1984, i received my first snow globe from friends who were on vacation. These were quite proud of their gift, which was a mountain motif. At first I thought: they’re trying to make a fool of me. Actually, I have more of a soft spot for modern art", cardinal remembers.
He did not want to throw away the somewhat kitschy piece, however, so he placed it on his piano. Friends who were there for a visit thought: he collects snow globes. And from then on the friends of josef cardinal brought snow globes with them. And he got a taste for it and started bringing back snow globes from his travels himself.
At some point, the collector also became interested in other themes: sacred motifs, animal motifs, comics and more. The collection grew unstoppably.
In the early 90s, cardinal had about 1000 snow globes and contacted other nurnberg collectors. One of these was an editor of the nurnberger nachrichten, who was himself a collector, but far less avid than cardinal. After the newspaper report, which was distributed by the german press agency – about 200 newspapers printed it at that time – josef cardinal became known overnight as a collector. "My fate as a collector was thus sealed. I could hardly save myself from parcels and packages, with and without invoice", the collector remembers with a smile.
Cardinal was then also offered an exhibition at the schwabach city museum. He gladly accepted the offer and so came into contact with other collectors, but also with german manufacturers such as walter and prediger, koziol. The visit to walter and preacher was something special for him. "For me, this was a rough honor, since factory visits to snowball companies are not usually offered."
In 2001, he even made it into the guinness book of records thanks to his collection, which at the time numbered 4820. In the meantime there are more than 8800 copies. "In the meantime, I am so well equipped that I am only missing a few balls. But you’re always on the lookout", says cardinal.
He browses the internet and the markets, and is always in souvenir stores and gift stores, especially on vacation. "My wife always says that the vacation only starts when I have bought my snow globes", says cardinal. Always on the hunt for rare specimens. But the full materials do not always have to be made of artificial snow: sand and gold leaf can also be used for this purpose. Snow globes have started their triumphant march around the world.
Of course, such a rough collection also means a lot of work. Every five months, josef kardinal starts a replenishment campaign. "It’s always a rough timeline, but it’s a lot of fun for me. I then spend three weeks in the evenings in the cellar to refill distilled water". 20 liters of liquid are then refilled with the sprayer, the balls must also be shrouded so that the snow inside remains free-flowing. "You have to be a little crazy", says cardinal "when you collect snow globes. But it’s also nice to have a little microcosm to sink into. For me, the snow globes are art: to recreate a place on a few square centimeters, which can then be easily assigned by the viewer, requires special talent."

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