I've been a collector of American antiques for over 65 years starting at about age 13. My main interests were mechanical items, American glass and stoneware, Indian relics, early timbering tools, pocket and sheath knives including firearms. I've always had a job since that age and would buy what my savings would let me. Along these many years of buying, selling and collecting, the first thing I realized that printed guides are just that, a guide which is better used for identification than for value.  I quickly learned that the average person were using these guides as values, which cover almost anything man made (and some that aren't). These guides, even today, are created simply for the profit the writer could make. One day while attending a large American Art Glass show, I noticed a lady and a man stopping at almost every display and jotting down something about what they were looking at. It really wasn't my business but I went up to the lady and asked why she was doing so much writing about what they saw. She told me she was preparing for her next years guide in the field of early American Art Glass. What they were writing down was the asking price of specific items but her book specified this figure as value. The buyer of her guides were lead to believe what they saw in the guide was the value...no way!  eBay or other large venues of this type are much better guides to what one has than it value. Value is never set in concrete. Economic, Geographic and other factors will always influence values. Be a wise buyer and remember the seller wants as much as possible while the buyer wants it for as little as possible. Values are not set in stone so be willing to negotiate whether you are a buyer or seller....just my two cents worth.

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Comment by Michael D. on April 20, 2016 at 19:01

In today's age, the only value of a guide book is what's the value of the actual book itself. And this only seems to refer to guide books published 20-30+ years ago. Those who are heavily into their collecting interests would collect these guide books to get a rough idea of trends, especially corrections in trends, etc.

Aside from bidding sites the only other places that I can think of that will give a rough idea of the worth of an item would be on line clubs or societies that specialize in those interests. The values can be updated easier and quicker. And by sites I mean the ones that are narrowly focused and not “generic”.  Examples: Not antique tools but rather carpenters’ tools or better late 19th-early 20th century carpenters’ tools; not world coins but coins of the Americas or better Mexican coins; not fountain pens but Parker or better…

Other than eBay you can sometimes access other bidding sites (e.g. art dealers, gun brokers, coin dealers, etc.) that still have previous auction/sales accessible.Here again it a rough idea, e.g. you look at a bunch of "collectibles" and they're worth a nickel except for the one worth five dollars, then that one might be the one that's valuable.

In the end, if you have the rarest "ka-ka-poo" in the world and can't find a market for it, then dust it off and enjoy it!


In Memoriam
Comment by D ale on April 12, 2016 at 20:00

!!! .. Yuppers .. !!!

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