Antiques and collectibles research guide

General Resources

Books

General books about antiques and collectibles can be found in the 745.1s in both the circulating and reference collections. Books about buying and selling antiques online are in the computer area in the 025.0638s. If you are trying to find local antique shops, the Yellow Pages remain the best place to look.

Magazines

Magazines can be found in alphabetical order in the periodicals area.

  • Antiques & Collecting magazine. Monthly. (NWL)
    Better coverage of popular collectibles than rare antiques. Articles cover a wide variety of items every month and advertisements can put you in touch with buyers and sellers.
  • Antiques Roadshow Insider Magazine. Monthly. (NWL)
    This monthly newsletter contains articles about proper care and storage of your antiques and how to identify authentic items from fakes and frauds.
  • The Magazine Antiques. Monthly. (OWL)
    The collector of fine arts and antiques will find informative articles, book reviews and dealer announcements.

General Price Guides

Bear two things in mind as you use these price guides: 1) People selling to dealers can expect to get prices below market value and 2) A multitude of factors affect actual prices. These sources can only give you a general sense of an item's worth.

  • Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide by Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel. Revised annually. [745.1 KOV]
    Written for the average collector, Kovels is one of the more extensive price guides. It lists items in alphabetical order and cites actual asking prices. You can also view prices at kovels.com, but the site does require registration.
  • Miller's Collectibles Handbook. Revised annually. [745.1 MIL]
    This photograph-rich volume covers items such as: dolls, toys and games, vintage fashion, pens, sports memorabilia, advertising, character collectibles, and much more! Like Kovels, Miller's also allows you to look up pricing information at millersantiquesguide.com. The site also requires registration.
  • Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide. Revised annually. [745.1 WAR]
    More than a price guide, Warman's provides other important information about the items it lists— bit of history, collectors' clubs, auctions and resources for future research. Values are estimates based on actual prices.

Specialized Identification & Price Guides

The Library has many price guides to specific antiques and collectibles. Unlike books that cover antiques and collectibles in general, which are in one place (the 745.1s), these specific guides can be found throughout the collection in relevant subject areas. Books about collecting jewelry are with the jewelry books, books about collecting religious memorabilia are with the religion books, etc.

Below, you will find a selection of specialized guides. To find others, ask a librarian for help or check the catalog by entering the subject heading, "[Topic] Collectors and Collecting." For example: Furniture Collectors and Collecting.

It is possible that you may not find an entire book devoted to your particular collectible. When this is the case, look in the indexes of more general books for pages or chapters devoted to your topic.

Books

  • The Official Price Guide to Collecting Books. 2008. [018 OFF (NWL)]
    In addition to listing values for thousands of first edition titles, this book contains advice on growing and maintaining your book collection, reviews the current book market and gives a history of the book trade.

Coins

  • Standard Catalog of World Coins. Revised annually. [737.4 STA]
    This volume helps the collector identify and evaluate coins minted throughout the world from the beginning of the twentieth century to today. Arranged in alphabetical order by country, values given are based on estimates.

Comic Books

  • Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Revised annually. [741.5973 OFF]
    Comics are listed in alphabetical order by title, but a "First Appearances" index helps you track down characters. Prices are estimates.

Furniture

Sports Cards

  • The Official Price Guide to Baseball Cards by James Beckett. Revised annually. [769.4979 OFF]
    This price guide covers several major baseball card manufacturers, including: Topps, Donruss/Playoff, Bowman, and Upper Deck, and Fleer.

Stamps

  • Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Revised annually. [R 769.56 SCO (OWL)][769.56 SCO (NWL)]
    A classic, exhaustive guide to postage stamps so widely used that it sets prices as much as it reflects the market. Six volumes cover the countries of the world in alphabetical order (with the exception of the United States, which is in volume one).

Toys

Care and Restoration

Books that cover care and restoration in general can be found in the 745.1028s. Books that cover the care and restoration of specific objects can be found throughout the collection in relevant subject areas.

  • Antiques Clinic. 1998. [745.1028 ANT]
    Not a guide for the home restorer, this title gives general guidelines about the proper care of various types of antiques and directs the reader to consult a professional for serious problems.
  • Care and Repair of Antiques and Collectibles: a step by step guide by Judith Miller. 2008. [745.1028 MIL]
    Illustrations and step-by-step instructions for undertaking antique repairs at home.
  • Caring for Your Art by Jill Snyder. 2001. [702.8 SNY]
    How to handle, display, photograph, store, transport and document art in various media.
  • An Ounce of Preservation by Craig A. Tuttle. 1995. [025.84 TUT (NWL)]
    Advice on preserving, restoring and caring for photographs and papers.
  • Repairing Pottery and Porcelain by Lesley Acton and Paul McAuley. 1996. [738.18 ACT]
    Clear instructions and information about materials used to mend broken, chipped and cracked ceramics.

Appraisers

Appraisers are another source you can turn to when trying to get a sense of an item's value. Some professional appraisal organizations maintain lists of members on their Web sites. Take a look at the home pages of the American Society of Appraisers and the International Society of Appraisers to find a local professional.

Appraisers can also be found in the Yellow Pages under "Appraisers."

Bear in mind that there are many different kinds of appraisers. Before you consult an individual, make sure she or he has experience with antiques and collectibles. And don't forget, professionals usually charge a fee for their services.

Additional online resources

Many online resources offer links to sites providing related information and are frequently updated.

  • Prices4Antiques
    Database of real market-based pricing from national and local auction houses. (Requires a valid library card for access outside the Library.)
  • Antiques Roadshow Online
    Archives of the PBS show and the Roadshow tour schedule as well as news and advice from experts.
  • Ebay
    This auction site can also be used as a price guide. Just click on category headings or enter a term in the search box to find items of interest to you and the prices people are willing to pay for them. You do not have to be a member of Ebay to view prices.
  • Northeast Document Conservation Center
    Look at this nonprofit organization's Web site for detailed information about the materials and techniques used to preserve books and paper documents.
  • Bookfinder
    What are booksellers actually charging for used books? This metasite allows you to search several online second-hand book databases at once.
  • AskART
    This Web site provides an abundance of information about thousands of American artists. You will find biographical information, magazine and newspaper articles, book references and exhibit information. For a subscription fee, even more information is available, including auction prices.

revised March 2010