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Identify and value antiques quickly and easily with the clearest price guide on the market. With this book assessing the value of antiques has never been easier. Featuring the expert advice of internationally acclaimed specialist Judith Miller, this book contains the latest prices, market trends, and tips on where and how to buy and sell. With over 7,500 antiques profiled and specially commissioned full-color photographs, Antiques Price Guide 2003 is an easy-to-use practical guide for interested in buying, ...
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Identify and value antiques quickly and easily with the clearest price guide on the market. With this book assessing the value of antiques has never been easier. Featuring the expert advice of internationally acclaimed specialist Judith Miller, this book contains the latest prices, market trends, and tips on where and how to buy and sell. With over 7,500 antiques profiled and specially commissioned full-color photographs, Antiques Price Guide 2003 is an easy-to-use practical guide for interested in buying, selling, or collecting antiques.
B&N.com: You present a breathtaking array of objects in this latest edition of your Antiques Price Guide. How did you go about finding them and ascertaining their value?
Judith Miller: The world of antiques is vast, and hence our decision to produce a completely new price guide every year. I spend a great deal of time at auctions and with dealers in the U.S. and Europe, and the guides reflect what is in the marketplace. As to prices, we gather in prices realized from auction houses and get realistic prices from dealers. We then, in consultations with our consultants, create marketplace prices. As we state, these are "ballpark" prices, which are there to help the reader.
B&N.com: This is the first time your price guide has been published in full color, and as you mention in your introduction, color can be an important aspect in collecting. Can you explain how color might affect the value of a particular piece?
JM: Good-quality color is essential when looking at an antique or collectible. Density of tone can change the valuation considerably. In Oriental porcelain, collectors look for a strong cobalt blue; in many areas of glass collecting a deep amethyst color can fetch double that of a pale amethyst. In rugs and carpets it is essential to know whether the vegetable dyes have faded. Even with furniture, the color of the piece can have a vast influence on what a collector will pay. In any collecting area, it can be the color that will determine whether a Dinky Foden truck made for the U.K. market will sell for $450 but the one made for the U.S. market is $4,500.
B&N.com: How does the antiques market here in the U.S. differ from those in other parts of the world? What are some of the trends you've observed?
JM: The interesting point about the antiques and collecting world is how it has "globalized" over the last 30 years. A piece of Meissen porcelain will sell for an equivalent amount in Sydney, San Francisco, and Munich. However, many collecting areas are quite country specific. Americana -- everything from American paintings to country furniture to American art pottery -- will fetch far more in the States (which is why our edition produced for the U.S. has sections devoted to them). Interestingly, American 20th-century furniture by, e.g., Charles and Ray Eames, is highly collected in Europe.
B&N.com: How collectible is Americana in other parts of the world?
JM: As I suggested in answering the last question, my advice to anyone in Europe who finds a good piece of Americana is to either get it onto the Internet or ship it to the States.
B&N.com: How has the Internet affected the antiques and collectibles market?
JM: It has assisted the globalization trend. When the idea of bidding/buying online was first mooted, there was a certain reticence amongst traditional auction houses and dealers and a feeling that traditional buyers would still prefer to view the lots. However, the effect has been monumental. In 2001, brick-and-mortar auction house sales represented more than $11 billion in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. accounts for more than 60 percent of these sales. More than 5 million Americans are considered active collectors (those who buy more than five items per year). In the past year it is estimated that more than 20 million Americans purchased a piece of art, an antique, or a collectible on the Internet. eBay has nearly 50 million registered users, mainly in the U.S. All auction houses are reporting a significant increase in the numbers of people bidding. And the average dollar amount of the average bid is increasing. On any day there are 10 million items on offer on eBay. Many of these entrants on the Internet are not the traditional buyers and hence have even more need of a comprehensive full-color antiques price guide!
B&N.com: What are some of the most unusual pieces you discovered while researching and putting together this book?
JM: It is still a treat to find quality early American furniture. See highboy P193. Wonderful Queen Anne, with great provenance and dating from 174050. Even though this piece is a marriage (the top did not originally belong to the base) it is still worth $2025,000. Also, some wonderful American paintings, particularly the Western Art -- artists such as Charles M. Russell selling in excess of $1 million. Also the Pennsylvania Impressionists like Edward Willis Redfield sold for in excess of $500,000. Another area of great interest are pieces from the American Arts and Crafts period; ceramics from Fulper, Grueby, Newcomb College, Rookwood, and especially the work of George Ohr, "the mad potter of Biloxi." And the furniture of Gustav Stickley, his brothers, and Charles. P. Limbert. And from later in the 20th century, Charles and Ray Eames and George Nakashima. But, not to ignore my own favorite -- the wonderful pieces of costume jewelry by Joseff of Hollywood, Stanley Hagler, Trifari, and Miriam Haskell, and look out for unusual Christmas tree pins. Search through those drawers!
B&N.com: Did you notice any regional strengths or specialties in the U.S. antiques and collectibles market?
JM: Again, the whole area is becoming so national and international. Of course, there are areas that are great for Americana -- New York and New England -- and if you collected "holiday collectibles" you would definitely attend the "Atlantique City" fairs, but the field is more interesting. I have seen the best collections of French furniture in New York and Los Angeles, the best collections of 19th-century British majolica in Texas, the best cowboy memorabilia in Denver, and Victoriana in a guest house in Hannibal, Missouri. We collectors are everywhere.
B&N.com: Flea markets are always a popular place for collectors to hunt for antiques. What are some of the things shoppers should bring with them to flea markets to help them make smart purchases?
JM: The most important thing is good and educated eyes! Do some research, learn about your chosen subject, look at good collections, and buy a full-color price guide! A good magnifying glass can also be useful.
B&N.com: What is the best way to care for a valuable collection? At what point should collectors insure their valuables?
JM: Find out how best to store and display your collections. Strong sunshine is usually a problem for anything pre20th century, and even some textiles and certainly furniture more recent than that. Also think of yourself as a custodian of a little piece of history. Treat things gently. Most ceramics can cope with a gentle wash in distilled water -- one at a time to avoid chips. Also as soon as you begin to collect, take photographs of each piece, with description, date, marks, price, etc., and keep receipts. Send a copy of the above to your insurer.
B&N.com: Have you ever been duped? How can buyers protect themselves against fraud?
JM: No one likes to admit being duped, but in the early days I certainly sold things too cheaply. Also, at auction, at times I didn't view properly and missed the damage on some pieces. Condition of antiques and collectibles is vital; e.g., rubbing of the gilding on an 18th-century Worcester plate will halve the value.
To protect yourself, buy from a reputable dealer or auction house or a good Internet site, and get a full detailed description. But the best advice is to buy what you like and the best piece that you can afford and be prepared to learn. A dealer friend once said to me if you spend $100 on something and find out it is only worth $50, think of the other $50 as experience.
B&N.com: I love blue-and-white dishes, vases, and bowls. Can I mix Chinese blue-and-white, Dutch Delft, and Worcester porcelain, or is mixing collections a waste of time?
JM: Look at any Dutch Old Master and you will find wonderful collections of Delft and Chinese blue-and-white in 17th- and 18th-century Dutch interiors. As I sit in my dining room writing this, I am surrounded by Dutch Delft, English delft, French faience, Worcester, Liverpool and Bow porcelain, and Chinese blue-and-white porcelain from the 16th to 19th centuries. It looks fabulous!
But then, other collectors would prefer one factory, one type of object -- say, jugs -- different objects from one place. The choice is limitless, but as long as what you look at gives you joy -- go for it!
B&N.com: You showcase quite a lot of furniture in the Antiques Price Guide 2003, from Oriental pieces to Shaker. What is your opinion about antique furniture -- should it be used or is it for display only?
JM: This is very much a personal point of view but to me, love it, care for it, use it. Obviously 18th century pieces from Charleston, Shaker chairs and anything by Frank Lloyd Wright are very valuable and it would not be advisable to let an overweight friend swing back on the legs but sensible use cannot harm great craftsmanship. I have brought up three children, dogs, cats etc in a house with too many antiques and the antiques and family have survived.
B&N.com: What do you collect? And if you could advise a novice in antiquing, what would you suggest they collect?
JM: As I said, blue-and-white pottery and porcelain, Monart glass from a Scottish glasshouse made in the 1920s and '30s, treen (small turned wooden objects, mainly late 18th and early 19th centuries), and costume jewelry, mainly Joseff of Hollywood and Schiaparelli from the 1950s, and some Christian Dior from 1960s. However, my favorite piece at the moment is a Lea Stein red-and-black plastic fox, with gold inclusions, from the late 1960s, which was specially chosen by my nine-year-old son, Tom, and given to me on Monday for my birthday.