Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide
, in a marketplace where print-based books on collecting topics are quickly becoming a thing of the past, offers an alternative to antiquers who still value a desk reference a guide covering an array of topics. And speaking of topics, this book’s about as comprehensive as it can be from year to year considering how many different categories it covers. Touting 40,000 “real” prices based on sales records, there’s a massive amount of information crammed into this 721-page book with a suggested retail price of $27.95.
Is the Book Worth the Money?
In a word – yes. Anyone with a general interest in antiques will get a knowledge boost paging through this guide. And if a guide that’s well-organized and easy to peruse is one of your pet peeves when it comes to books on antiques and collectibles, you won’t be disappointed there either.
With alphabetic listings ranging from A. Walter glass to Zsolnay pottery in the 2012 edition, chances are you’ll find at least a tidbit or two about what you’re researching in this guide. There are more generic listings for items like copper, dolls, Depression glass and napkin rings, among a bevy of other examples, featured as well.
Added Extras That Come in Handy
While color photographs in a book like can be viewed as optional for the most part, that's a little bonus this guide provides to make it not only informative but fun as you flip from page to page. But other than just looking good, the color photographs make it much easier to see the nuances in colorful items like glassware and pottery or furniture finishes described in the guide.
Additionally, most every topic area begins with a highlighted sidebar of sorts providing interesting and valuable details pertaining to manufacture dates, collecting terms and other useful facts. This ranges from information on specific companies like Florence Ceramics and Phoenix Glass to broad areas of interest like Christmas collectibles and political memorabilia. Where applicable you'll also find mini-sized marks for each category. While these might be a bit more useful if they were a tad larger, they're big enough to give you the gist of the marks for pottery and porcelain among other wares. And, frankly, if you're looking up an item in this guide they're probably only going to serve as alternate examples or confirmation of what you already know anyway.
Another little something extra is a nine-inch ruler printed thoughtfully inside the front cover. Does it make or break the usefulness of this reference guide? Not really. But it's a nice little gesture most collectors, dealers and appraisers will surely appreciate nonetheless.
One Drawback to the Book
Some areas are a bit too broad. Let’s take Bakelite
as one example. Instead of having Bakelite in its own category, items made of this old plastic are distributed among the jewelry and radios, and perhaps other categories. And, there’s no entry for Bakelite in the index pointing you to those sections to find information on those objects.
Of course, once you realize that’s how some of the areas are organized you can navigate appropriately. But at first glance you might think Bakelite didn’t make the cut for this version of the guide knowing it could never be completely comprehensive.
Some areas point you in the right direction off the bat, however, like folk art. When you arrive at the Folk Art heading, a note reminds you that these types of antiques and collectibles are also listed under specific areas such as cigar store figures, paper, and weather vanes. Keep this in mind and you should find using this guide to be fairly intuitive.
Can These Books Be Valuable from Year to Year?
Unlike some guides where only the values are updated from edition to edition, Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide
boasts documenting completely new items in each yearly volume of the book. This means that you can keep old guides indefinitely and refer back to them. The values may be outdated five or ten years from now, but the information contained within can still serve you well when doing research for years to come.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy