From high art to kitsch to kitchen appliances, the world of collecting is red-hot. But for the unwary collector, it can be a world fraught with peril. Is that a true first edition or a book-club copy? Was that art-glass lampshade really made by Tiffany, or is it a near-worthless imitation? Before you get out your checkbook, pick up a copy of Laurie Rozakis's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling Antiques. Rozakis has been an avid collector for 20 years and knows the market--and its pitfalls--inside and out.
Rozakis covers some of the hottest collecting markets, from costume jewelry to Pokémon cards. Each chapter has a brief overview of the market, the hottest sectors (at the time the book was published--rather risky in the fickle collecting world), price ranges, what to look for, and what to avoid. In addition, each chapter is liberally sprinkled with tips, hints, and Web sites for further research. Collecting glass? Look for condition, brilliance, and rarity. Don't worry if there is no manufacturer's signature on that Waterford decanter--only 10 percent of cut glass made between 1880 and 1900 was signed. Thinking of buying a first-edition Salinger? If the dust jacket is not in mint condition, you might want to pass.
Rozakis also provides information on cataloging, appraising, and insuring your collection--worksheets included--and suggests some future collectibles that you may have lying around the house right now (you might want to hang on to those Phantom Menace action figures for a while). --Laszlo Simonyi [via]