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Top 10 Antique & Collectible Reference Books

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

I know, i know....books you say? Just hear me out. I am not trying to return to the dark ages or kill a bunch of trees. The fact is, there are times you just can't beat a book for quick reference and research. A quick thumb flip search can beat the best googler in many instances. Especially in these genres. Plus, I bet if you peruse thru a few of these, you'll learn something new. Something that you wouldn't learn by googling "cool antiques that are worth something." Or, hey Alexa, "tell me something I didn't know about antiques." BTW, I am going to go do that right after I am done.

So, that all said, I am going to give you my opinion of 10 Antique & Collectible Reference Books you should have in your Arsenal...that's means "in the trunk" if you are a yard sailor or thrift store shopper..."in the office" if you are an appraiser or auctioneer....or just at home, if you have "the bug" or the collectors gene. So here we go....

Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide

Often called the best-selling price guide in North America, Antique Trader's Antiques & Collectibles is a great source of information. It includes expert advice, market trends, historical info, values and so much more. With 4,000+ color photographs, you will enjoy the mental download. Lots of diverse genres to soak up. I like to think of it, like the college crash course of Antiques, book.

Miller's Collectibles Handbook & Price Guide (CHECK IT OUT)

This is the most up-to-date guide to the collectibles market. Miller's been around a long time and is a must have for the dealer, picker, and will see this in most estate auctioneers offices too. This edition features 4,000+ goodies in full color, with descriptions and current price ranges and best, what they call "what those in the know look for." Its no wonder this series has been a hit for decades

Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2020-2021 Anniversary Edition

Just think of this version as the "deluxe" version. Much more comprehensive. This is your masters program general antique studies. Detailed sections cover ceramics, furniture, glass, silver, jewelery, clocks and watches, books, Oriental antiques, textiles, toys, decorative arts and more. Even has a "how to" value an item and teach you to be your own estimator.

Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide (CHECK IT OUT)

An industry trusted antiques & collectibles price guide. It features 16,000 listings and approx. 2,500 full-color photographs. There are collectibles, furniture, jewelry, toys, glass, and much, much more. Excelent for the novice and expert collectors, alike. Actual prices and exceptionally well-organized. The book also includes tips, marks, and logos. Kovels' boasts prices based on actual sales from the previous calendar year, never estimates. Unlike other guides, Kovels' includes reasonably-priced items, as well.

Miller's Antique Marks

Whether you are at an auction, estate sale, flea market or antiques shop, this is a must have book. It can really help to identify and date those treasures you find. 6,000+ marks are well organized for a quick reference. Silver, bronze figures, ceramics, glass, costume jewelry, toys and dolls have full-color sections.

Now here's a few very specialized but great to have and better than the net tools for the most part.

A Guide Book of United States Coins 2021 (CHECK IT OUT)

The Official "Red Book" of United States Coins and I think it's the #1 Antique Reference Book on all the Best Sellers lists. Collectors love the book's grade-by-grade values, auction records, historical background, detailed specs, high-resolution photographs, and mintage data. 32,500+ prices with coins, tokens, medals, sets, and other like collectibles. Also, a quick education on commemoratives, Proof and Mint coins, error coins, Civil War Tokens, Confederate coins, private gold, and so much more. Even how to detecting fakes & counterfeits.

Also, going to throw in, if you haven't seen my entertainingly educational video on the might give it a watch. Who knew coins could be so fun.

It's called Pocket Change: The History of American Coins. I think you will enjoy it. If you like History, mixed with Fun Facts, there's alot in there. You will learn how to identify, find values and much more. You might just come away, a coin expert, or…a little geekier than yesterday.

Who knew coins could be so interesting...

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

If you run in to a cool, old stack of comics, this is a must have. I find the internet searches will leave your head spinning and be very confusing compared to this trusted series. Known as The Bible for serious comic book collectors, dealers and enthusiasts, it always features the latest prices, market reports and more. This market is hot and you should be watching.

Toys & Prices

Toys & Prices has an easy-to-use format and awesome information. Features 35,000 listings and more than 100,000 values. It is from 2015 so you want to double check prices, but this book makes up for it's age with its tips, expert advice, and a massive assortment of post-World War II toys. Mark Bellomo has several great toy books if you want to drill down and specialize. Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers and so much more.

How To Date Furniture: An Easy Reference Guide

This is a quick and easy reference guide with all the information you need to help you date furniture. The book reviews most prevalent furniture design types, illustrating form, style and the woods used. Tudor period through the Art Deco years. It highlights all the key details and what to look. Significant furniture designers and their importance is also discussed. If you always wanted to know your periods of furniture, this is the book for you.

Also....i took a stab at the subject in a YouTube Video "I Like Furniture, Period" that might gauge your interest level in the genre. I will tell you we've finally started to see antique furniture show signs of rebounding. It's been a buyers market so long you can pickup up some great investment deals if you like that sort of thing.

Beckett Graded Card Price Guide

Just like Overstreet is to Comic Book Prices, Beckett is to Sports Cards. This is the yearly updated Sports Card Value Bible. This book includes vintage and modern day graded card pricing for Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey and other sports, as well. Getting you hands on the latest is a good idea as there is flux in this market. A 10 year old copy will not help much. Just like the Coin and Comic Reference Books, these are so much easier to flip and find vs the internet searches on values.

Warman's Costume Jewelry: Identification and Price Guide

This is an often missed opportunity in the collectible world. An opportunity to make money. Originally created as an inexpensive accessory to be worn and then discarded, costume jewelry is now considered an art form worth many times its original purchase price and most people don't know it. The give it away at yard and estate sales, or auction sell in large lots. Great for the treasure hunters and yardsalers. This book covers the Victorian era through the early part of the 21st century. With images, histories, profiles, and current market values, I think it will be a valuable asset in your reselling life.

I hope you find these helpful and let me know your favorites. I am always try to update my subscribers to the latest tips, tricks and trends. Plus, I want to know about any big scores. Feel free to share !



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Michael Busick
Michael Busick
Jul 22, 2020

OH! Add to that Will Anderson's "The Beer Book." An early, absolutely stunning collection of beer cans, bottles, signs & other breweriana & ephemera.

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