Which antique price guides etc would you recommend?

rjingaDecember 17, 2009

I'm getting ready to buy myself an early christmas present, well maybe not so early with shipping it here.

What books would be considered the MUST HAVES, for someone starting out, to get ideas for list prices, identifying pieces etc.

I'm getting Kovel's 2010 guide,

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Kovel's is a start...but to look something up, you have to know what you have...like trying to look up a spelling when you can't spell the word.
It all depends on what area you are looking at....there are books and price guides on everything from
coke bottles to furniture, Avon bottles, Jim beam bottles, farm primitives and old kitchen ware.
The best way to know pricing is to go to a million of auctions and hang around the completed sales pages on eBay.

Oh....and don't EVER take that Kovel's price guide to a sale! It points you out as a rank amateur to the "
old pros" and opens up to any kind of scam they can think of
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 9:50AM
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ha ha lindac you must be reading my mail ;) I had that VERY thought yesterday, thinking, IF I go to a sale/auction, I'll have to do like a cram session on the "books" and hope I'll remember what I saw and what they have and how to tell the difference, and NOT bring the book with me, but have it somewhere handy, so that I could go hide somewhere and look things up if need be.

Well, I do understand that there is a book for everything I guess I was hoping (initially) for some overall good books covering the more common things. Books that help you identify different pieces like Depression glass, china, pottery, bottles, etc. What the markings mean etc.

I'm not planning to get a library of books til I find my niche, but til then, I'd like at least to have well a "guide" line of what's what.

I will be going to sales etc. but I dont think I have time to get a million under my belt.. ;)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 10:44AM
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I have Kovel's, Warman's, Schroeder's, Several Gene Florence books on glass-depression, elegant glassware, kitchen glassware. Then there are Fenton books 1,2 & 3 with price guides, Ruby glassware, Nippon, Old Buttons & so on. I got interested in antiques years ago & ask for the books for Christmas, why, I can spend an entire evening enjoying 1 book & learning. I like history & many things I had seen in my elderly relatives homes. So brings back good memories.I know what to look for at yard sales,mostly like little things. I think you have to either look at your stuff & decide if you need a glass book, pottery book, etc. Then you will still find that lot of things you have arn't in any book. I have handles, metal & wood, that went on paper bags in pricey stores in NY such as Marshall- Fields & either don't know where to look or they arn't in any books. Some books are mostly for making money ,lovely to look at but little value & sometimes no pricing, some jewelry books are someone's collections or include only 6-8 jewelry makers, others are more general & include all makers & go by decade. Best if you have book store or library nearby to check out antique section & glance through books. Miller books are printed in England & there are a lot of them, I've never seen a single thing at estate sales or antique stores that was in them(library had several) so useless unless you bought huge estates in an area like NY or Boston where people may have brought over all their English stuff. So book on New England Furniture wouldn't be helpful to a Ca. person as little of it gets here. I did go to a huge antique mall in Santa Ana yrs ago & see some of those bedroom sets that would take a 20x30 ft bedroom with 10-12 ft ceilings as the wardrobe alone would have taken up 1/2 of my bedroom. I really like a book like 'toothpick holders" or "Ruby Glass of the 20th Century" by Naomi L. Over as both books are loaded with different patterns & pics of everything in color. Can't find the toothpick book this morning. Anyway you need to decide what kind of books you need & Kovel's is good general book. Also keep in mind a furniture book will only have pics of what the author's could get permission to include or stuff from their collection or from researching other books so harder to get a good one & even if you have several might not find your neighbor's grandmother's Boston curved front shell design bedroom set!!!(We tried) Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:05AM
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Forgot about Warman's...I recommend that over Kovel.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 11:41AM
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Fori is not pleased

I wonder if any of those are available on Kindle or other e-book readers. Then you could be sort of subtle looking stuff up!

An internet-enabled phone could be useful for sales. (Or Linda's phone number.)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Take a look at various auction house sites. Bonhams, etc.--very often you can see (for free) what things sold for at auction. If you have a local auction house that has a website, take a look there, too. Here in LA, Abell's is a local outfit with good information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abell's

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 4:56PM
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Well I remember being at a sale that had fabulous stuff you don't see at just any sale any more....and asking some one who was about the same age I am now...and had been collecting for years..."How do you know it's old if it's not marked?" And she said "you just feel it..."
And that's very true....you just need to handle old stuff to really know. Find a dealer that will teach and let you tough. The weight of old glass and china and old stoneware is different. The feel of the frosting in old Frosted Stork Glass feels more satiny than the repro...old furniture is different...some old glass feels "oily" for want of another word...
Hit the good shops and touch and feel everything you can! that's better than anything you can learn from a book.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 7:11PM
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I urge you to stay away from price guides until you have a grounding in antiques! Price guides tend to prevent people from learning, thus are inadvisable until later. Stick with identification guides. I don't know any general id guides-they're mostly focussed on one area-but if you already have an interest start with that.

Like lindac stated, you have to handle stuff. Find a reputable dealer and learn what you can. A good dealer will treat you very well, and never make you feel bad for not already knowing stuff. If a dealer acts suspicious of you or is secretive, find someone else. A truly reputable dealer is happy to help you learn. This dealer will be able to suggest references that support your interests, too.

Join an antiques association. Local groups are often open to collectors and are a nice way to network and get the chance to handle antiques. These people will be a better source of price information than price guides. They already know the local market, which may be quite different to a price guide's mid-range figures taken from selected venues covering a huge territory. Subscribe to trade publications. If you're lucky there is a trade paper in your region or locality. Read it. It doesn't hurt to read some of the national and international publications either. These are your sources of current information.

Learn about not just what you like, but know the social, political, and economic climate of the time in which it was made. The history is vital to understanding just why this was made with this material-for example, the history of porcelain manufacture in Europe began with a young man who'd marketed himself as an alchemist. He was taken to Augustus and kept under a sort of house arrest until he produced gold from base metal. Of course he didn't! The king's fancy turned to the porcelains imported from China-and wanted porcelain. Our alchemist now made effort to produce porcelain. Several years later, after trying and discarding many mineral additives to various mixtures of clays, he found the very substance in the earth that gave clay its rock-hard, vitreous, and translucent properties after firing-porcelain. These early porcelain objects gave rise to Meissen porcelains, still some of the world's most sought after antiques. Today, those earliest fired objects are worth tens of thousands! True porcelain was not manufactured in England until rather later-and its own story is nearly as fanciful.

You won't get that information from a price guide. Learn to authenticate first, then worry about values. Another concern that price guides fail to address is your local market. You need to know just what your market is-what does your region demand in antiques and collectibles, and how much are people willing to pay for those items?

Honestly, this all sounds like a lot but it's far more enjoyable to stroll into the saleroom with a practiced eye and pay what you're comfortable paying than it is to not know what's on the block and fearing that you'll pay too much or that other people will be laughing at you for bidding!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 7:50PM
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