Yes, the Internet is filled with resources to help you identify and value your heirlooms and flea market finds alike. But for many folks, there's still nothing more comforting than a bookshelf filled with reliable reference material.
Although there are many, many books on the market about antiques and collectibles that delve into specific topics, there are a few general guides that stand out for their ease of use, content and value in a reference library. Having at least one of these books within reach makes good sense.
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Warman's Antiques & Collectibles
Celebrating 50 editions with the 2017 version, this book has been educating collectors for half a century. The current versions are edited by Noah Fleisher, who is not only a respected author but he also works as the public relations director for Heritage Auctions. And if you've followed these books in the past but haven't seen a recent version, you're in for a treat.
Warman's Antiques & Collectibles is now filled with beautiful full-color images along with descriptions and prices, and the selections change from book to book so if you have the 2016 version, you'll want to pick up 2017 as well. Categories present include everything from tried and true antique glassware, ceramics, and furniture to more trendy pop culture collectibles and "mantiques."
Values are based on items sold through 70 different auction houses giving not only a variety of perspectives but up to date pricing information.
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Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide
Also updated yearly, this book takes its name from the popular Antique Trader magazine that has been around for decades. This tome of a book is edited by Eric Bradley, who served as the editor for the magazine for a number of years as well. He has carried over his dedication to providing useful, accurate information from one publication to another.
Old-timers will remember when this book was simply filled with categories and lists of prices. There were very few photos, and those shown were not in color. Those days are gone.
Each section in this book is filled with color photos and good background information. If you're looking for a book that covers inexpensive collectibles, this isn't the guide for you. But if you're interested in an all-around good resource that provides some meat with each category description then you'll definitely want to grab the latest edition.
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Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price List
If your preference is a price guide chock full of lists, like most general reference guides contained in days gone by, this will be your choice among those currently available to today's collectors and antiques dealers. The title boasts 32,000 listings, in fact, according to information provided by Kovels' on their website.
One update to this guide in comparison to Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price List volumes published many years ago is that it does have color photos. Those are limited to 2,500 in this volume, so a fraction of the items valued in the book are actually depicted. However, if you know your categories well and don't need a ton of help identifying antiques, then this book will likely serve you well.