|The Good and The Bad|
It's pretty hard for me to find a book I don't like. In fact, now that I think about it, I've probably been collecting books longer than I've collected anything else. I've always had bookshelves full of mysteries, novels, biographies, reference books, cookbooks, etc. It was only when the cookie jars started mysteriously reproducing that the shelves started being used for something other than books. Nowadays my book collecting is geared more towards collectibles and reference books. In a library of about 200 different resource and reference books, they range the gamut from the good, the bad to the ugly.
Whatever "treasures" you collect -- someone else collects them and they have probably even written a price guide for your treasure. So, you rush out to buy the latest "treasure" price guide and lo and behold, the prices are astronomical. Hmm, you could sell off your collection and travel the world on the proceeds! Son wants to go to Harvard, no problem -- there will be plenty of cash from the great Treasure collection sale.
As collectors, we've all been there, done that and now know better. Not all price guides are created equal and after you've been collecting a few years you'll be able to spot those inflated prices immediately. Unfortunately it usually takes a reality check for new collectors, a visit to eBay or trying to sell a few treasures to the local antique shop to realize a price guide in hand does not always mean cash in the bank.
THE GOOD -- General Price Guides
Instead of buying the next treasure you see, spend the money on a few books to learn more about your treasure and other fun stuff too. A price guide is like a good mystery novel to me, I can't wait to get comfortable with a pot of tea and spend an hour or two browsing the newest addition to my shelves.
THE GOOD AND BAD -- Specific Price Guides
Things to look for in a Price Guide book:
Some of the excellent specific price guides in my collection is Hopalong Cassidy by Caro, Don Winton Designs by Ellis and the Complete Cookie Jar Book by Schneider. These books are more than just "pretty" pictures and it is apparent the authors have spent much time researching and documenting facts. The Charlton Catalogues are all excellent and basically cover just about everything you could want to know. The only drawback at all is that the majority of the pictures are in black and white, which is understandable when realizing how many pictures are in each book.
The Official Coca-Cola Collectible Polar Bears book was also disappointing. When there are great pictures on the pages, I want to know what they are. Many of the pictures did not have a description and unless you were already a big collector, you would have no clue as to who made the item or when.
I won't mention other bad collectible books, but we've all seen them -- poor pictures, wrong information and ridiculous pricing. Although it isn't always easy to check out a book before buying it online, ask a few other collectors and see what they have in their library.
SPEND A FEW BUCKS!
If there is not a good specific guide for your treasure, check the big general price guides -- find out which one best covers your type of items. Also, keep checking the bookstores, there will probably be someone soon, who will publishing a book that covers your particular treasures!