Treasure Box Wednesday: Valuable Knowledge Through Collector's Price Guides

What do you collect? And how do you know you're paying a decent price for the items you love? Well, while collector's guides don't offer definitive answers to value-- after all, something's only worth what a person will pay for it-- it helps to think about them a bit like the Pirate Code: they're more like "guidelines."

But who can't use a little bit of guidance now and then? And collector' guides do more than assess value. They help you know what was manufactured and when. A good guide will share pattern names. And best of all, it will let you plan, so you can collect intelligently, as well as for your enjoyment.

Today, I thought I would share with you a few of the books that guide me in my thrifting and antiquing plundering (yes, we are still hanging on to that pirate theme-- it is, after all, Treasure Box Wednesday)... And perhaps these books will either assist with your own collections-- or just give you an idea of the sort of specialized guides available to support you in amassing the, er, booty you love.

In terms of Depression Glass, I've found the following three books extremely helpful...

They are:
  • The Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Revised Tenth Edition, by Gene Florence, from Collector Books, 1992.
  • Collectible Glassware from the '40s, '50s and '60s, by Gene Florence, from Collector Books, 1992.
  • Kitchen Glassware of the Depression Years, Fourth Edition, by Gene Florence, from Collector Books, 1990.
There are more current versions of these books available through Collector Books, and purchasable through the Collector Books web site. I got mine at Half-Price Books.

To inform my Pyrexia (addiction to Pyrex), I'm finding this book quite helpful...

It is:
  • Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, Revised 4th Edition, by Barbara E. Mauzy. Published by Schiffer Books for Collectors, 2008.
It's nice because it not only shows and names patterns and the colors they came in, but gives dates and also shows some lesser known types of Pyrex pieces-- such as coffee carafes, clear kitchenalia and other items.

Continuing on the vintage glass theme, this is my friend Scoobie's collector's guide to her Avon ruby glassware...

It is:
  • Avon's 1876 Cape Cod Collection Glass Dinnerware, by Debbie and Randy Coe. Published by Schiffer Books for Collectors, 2003.

Moving on to slightly older china, we have a few of the Victorian whiteware books which have been infinitely helpful over the years...

They are:
  • Decorative American Pottery & Whiteware, by Jeanie Klamm Wilby. Published by Collector Books, 2004.
  • Warwick China, by John R. Rader, Sr. Published by Schiffer Books for Collectors, 2000.

Now, in terms of finding Maxfield Parrish-styled prints, this book has been a big help to identify them...

It's called:
  • R. Atkinson Fox & William M. Thompson Identification and Price Guide, Second Edition, by Patricia L. Gibson. Published by Collectors Press, Inc., 2000.

And lastly, when I just want to get a little bit more information on a random, possibly-collectible item from the thrifts, I turn here:

  • The Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual (Fifth and Sixth Editions pictured here), Sharon and Bob Huxford, Editors. Published by Collector Books.
And if you collect something not shown within the books here? Well, likely they have it either through Schiffer Books or Collector Books. Check out their web sites where their whole range of collecting books are listed.

Collecting is great, but collecting while armed with knowledge is even better. Wishing you bounty in your thrifting and junking adventures, as well as the information you need to find those treasures at a price you're comfortable with.
  • If you have a moment and missed Sunday's post on some fun independent artists whose work really complements romantic decor, click here.
  • And while I have a chance, I'd like to thank both Debbie of Cozy Cottage and Carrie of Oak Rise Cottage for the Brilliante Blog Award. Thank you ladies a bunch for thinking to include me. I'll choose someone to pass this great award along to in a future post.
As summer begins to wane, I hope you all are able to wring the last bit of beauty and fun out of it. Thanks for stopping by!


Da Old Man said...

Collectors guides are a valuable resource. Unfortunately, some of the popular hobby guides (like for model trains and baseball cards) happen to mention prices in them. There is nothing quite like trying to explain to some doofus that I can buy the engine just like his for 20 bucks on ebay all day long, even though the price guide clearly states the current value as $140. Oy!

Sara S. said...

Cute website! I was browsing through your "sites you might enjoy" and saw you don't have listed! It has tons of really cute stuff. Here's what some other people said about it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Oh you're very right about the prices listed. Folks who expect to get that much for a piece will likely be disappointed.

It's usually what's considered the going rate for a pristine piece and only under the right conditions.

Plus, I'm cheap, so I never end up paying what the books say. I prefer them for their background information.

Sara S.- I actually didn't have Etsy listed because I'd never bought anything from Etsy until this last week, and couldn't attest to how the process, itself, was handled. I try not to recommend things I haven't directly used for purchasing. It seems more fair that way.

Amy said...

I'd personally be into the books about Pyrex and Depression Glass - great finds!

Wendy said...

I have read the Pyrex one and have been wanting to check out a few of the others. I happen to have A LOT of the Avon dishes. My mother bought almost the whole set for me when I was a baby.

Nikki said...

How exciting! I must get a hold of that Pyrex guide. I recognize the small friendship pattern casserole dish I just bought a few weeks back.
Only a $1.95 at the RW&B on 65.

So excited about the remodel!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Amy- They're good resources certainly. I don't know what I'd do without the Depression glass book.

Wendy- Oh wow, and those Avon dishes are getting harder to find-- and pricier-- so you're lucky.

Nikki- You did really well on your casserole dish! I found some nice Pyrex bowls in that Red White and Blue myself.

Carrie said...

A very useful post. I too enjoy refering to these guides, and try to acquire one for each of my collecting interests.