Antiques and collectibles are a subject that can bring you joy and even allow you to make money by turning your hobbies into a carrier. The prospect of working with the hobbies you love sounds too good to be true. It is, however, if you love antiques, you can learn to collect or deal with, and even make a good living, but it’s not that easy.
Antique identification and authentication can be difficult. There are multiple learning resources available. The best resource available to you will be reference books. There are educational films on youtube covering all subjects, and websites dedicated to helping or courses you can take.
In this article, we are going to look at all the learning resources available to you to assist your understanding of antiques and collectibles. It does not matter if you are a beginner or expert, there will always be something that needs research in antiques and collectibles.
Reference Books On Antiques And Collectables.
Reference books on antiques and collectibles are, in my opinion, the very best resource available to you. If you buy specialist books, the printing date a lot of the time is irrelevant. The information or facts on a subject very rarely change.
I am happy to put my money where my mouth is if you are interested, I have a video below showing the creation of my library of antiques and collectible reference books.
The printing date does not matter if you are considering buying books on specific subjects that are, very well documented, and understood. If we use books on sterling silver and the hallmarking system as an example, then the information within this book will be accurate if it was printed twenty years ago or yesterday.
However, if we look at the subject of understanding Chinese porcelain, there have been books written on this subject for over a hundred years. Chinese porcelain is a minefield of a subject. Some information and facts that many used to believe to be true even scholars have changed over the years.
Don’t be afraid to spend money on good books. I have just spent £500 on a single book on porcelain marks. I spent £150 on a specialist book on Whitefriars and similar on Nantgarw porcelain. Good books are not cheap, however, they hold their value so you can sell them on in the future and the information they hold is just gold.
Below you will find links to individual book reviews on every book in my library as I add them. I intend on doing in-depth reviews on each and every book, including images to show you what your buying and give my opinion if it is worth your money and time. (links will be added to this article as I create new book reviews.)
Links to follow as reviews are created.
Where to buy your books, learning resources for antiques and collectibles.
You can not always buy a brand new book when it comes to antiques and collectibles references. As we considered above, the printing year is not necessarily important. You can consider looking at second hand/used books. The information held within will be accurate, and the price will be great.
- Before you buy your book, check the prices on multiple platforms as the prices vary greatly. Some of the resources I use to buy my used reference books are.
- Amazon.com or co.uk
- Ebay.com or .co.uk
These are not paid promotions, and there are no doubt many other alternatives, however, these are companies I have used and trust. In addition, I have yet to fail to find the book I need on one of these options.
If you are learning Chinese porcelain here is a chance to buy a book for £60 that book dealers are asking 4.5 thousand on.
Using Free Online Learning Resources For Antiques And Collectibles.
If you are starting out collecting or dealing with antiques, Then you might want to consider online resources as they are free and very easy to access. There are dedicated websites on specific topics, However, If you can not find what you need, there is a Facebook group for everything,
I have created multiple films on youtube giving tips on different websites or channels to use for help. Here is the link if anyone would like it.
Here is a small list of the online resources that are available that I use. I hope you find them useful.
- Oldcopper.org Website for makers marks on metalware.
- Ddoty.com Website for everything related to carnival glass.
- Replacements.com Use this site for patterns on crystal.
- Gotheborg.com This site is not free but cheap and the best resource for Chinese porcelain.
- silvermakersmarks.co.uk British sterling silver makers and date marks.
- 925-1000.com/foreign_marks.html Use this for world silver marks.
- 20thcenturyglass.com/glass_encyclopedia_home.htm This website has an encyclopedia of world glass of the 20th century.
- the-saleroom.com This is not a free site, for a very small fee and you can see the sold prices of your searched item in all UK auction houses.
I will add websites to this article as I discover them. If they are worth you having I will add them here for you. If you own a website that you would like added here please get in touch through our contact us page.
If you really are struggling to find information about an object you have the final options left to you are.
- say what you see, describe your item in google search, and troll through hundreds of images looking for similar.
- use google lens, this searches the web for you using an image.
Della Robbia Factory
Here is a link to an article I have written on my website about Della Robbia Pottery from 1894 – 1906 at Birkenhead. hope you find it interesting and helpful. https://antiquesarena.com/the-della-robbia-pottery-at-birkenhead/
Facebook groups as a learning resource.
Facebook groups are a very cheap and convenient way to ask for help and learn. There is a group for everything from Paperweights, to Chinese porcelain and everything in-between. These groups are a great way to post images and ask for help.
If you haven’t started buying your stock or collectibles yet you can still join these groups for free and watch as others post images for their objects and ask for help and advice.
If you are using Facebook rather than a dedicated website be careful to check any information given. With websites, the creator will endeavor to research and try to be accurate with the information given. Because anyone can join a Facebook group for free, everyone will give their opinion right or wrong.
I am not advising you not to use these groups, I use them myself if all else fails. My advice would be to use these groups to guide you on the research journey yourself.
I have a Facebook page if you are interested, here is the link.
Using auction houses as a learning resource.
No matter where you live in the world you are likely to live close to an auction house. you can use auction houses as a great learning resource. In order to produce a sale in an auction house, the auctioneer will have already selected the very best for their saleroom.
The auctioneer will be required to, filter out any fakes and check the provenance of an item. They will photograph, describe and date their items which means, you can attend the auction preview and use their descriptions and handle the objects for free, with the added bonus you know you are not learning from a fake.
Most auctioneers will welcome questions about the stock within their sale. They will assist you in all aspects and you may end up finding that you become a customer of theirs in time.
Another very important element in an auction house would be the other buyers. Don’t assume they know what they are doing however talk to other buyers, watch what they pay for objects and how they represent themselves, observe their relationship with the auctioneer.
Use flea markets and antique fairs as a learning resource.
You can use flea markets and antique fairs in a similar way to auction houses. if you have a local market or fair near you then it is a very good idea to attend. Locate professional dealers (their stall will stand out), once you find a dealer just browse their stall.
Once you have identified a professional dealer, Make sure to handle as much stock as possible on their stall. Pay close attention to the variety of stock they offer. if they are selling something you are potentially interested in, then ask questions, note the price, and handle the object.
I used to work for antique dealers for free so that I could handle their object and read their price tag descriptions while they were not at the stalls. if you are interested in my creation story, how I learned antiques here is the link.
In the process of writing this article, I have realized that you can start to learn all about antiques and collectable for free. You no longer need to procrastinate if you want to learn all about antiques and collectibles, you have here, all the learning tools to help you.
It doesn’t matter if you are planning on becoming a collector, antique dealer, or somewhere in-between. You can start your creation story now. I look forward to hearing how I have helped to create the next entrepreneur.
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