The new edition of America’s longest-running collectibles price guide is just in, and Antique Trader has the inside scoop with the editor of the new 44th edition of Warman’s Antiques and Collectibles 2011 Price Guide. See what editor and noted antiques expert and appraiser Mark F. Moran has to say about the new edition of this collectors’ favorite, and its place in today’s collecting community.
Antique Trader: Do you recall your first experience with Warman’s general identification and price guides? What was one thing that stood out to you about your introduction to this collecting legacy?
Mark Moran: I first came to rely on the Warman’s guides 20 years ago as an antiques dealer in Rochester, Minn. My specialties were folk art, Americana and fine arts, and the guides helped me to see beyond my niche, to discover the wealth of information that had been compiled on glass, ceramics, metalware and toys. As a dealer, you can only know so much about any collecting category, and the guides helped to broaden my vocabulary to other areas of interest.
AT: As we all know, much has changed in the world of antiques and collectibles over the years – what role do you see identification and price guides having in collecting/antiquing today?
MM: The new Warman’s annual guide to antiques and collectibles has evolved into a more in-depth examination of key collecting areas by bringing in new voices to entertain and enlighten readers seeking information about jewelry, fine art, couture and 20th-century decorative arts. New contributors from all over the country share their knowledge about the best places to invest in antiques and collectibles.
AT: What are some of the more interesting developments (price changes, discoveries, changes in popularity of categories) represented in this new edition?
MM: The new guide features emerging categories like illustrator art and space memorabilia, and offers fresh examinations of traditional areas like flow-blue china, Fiesta ware, majolica and folk art. In the category of flow blue, for instance, prices have declined in recent years, but this only reinforces the need to buy the best examples in the best condition.
AT: This edition again appears to have an exciting panel of advisors who provide “Future of the Market” reports. What are a few of the things you learned from their assessments?
MM: I’ve learned that in a global marketplace, unexpected categories continue to gain momentum. Toys expert Catherine Saunders-Watson opened my eyes to the world of collectible figural biscuit tins, which can sell for tens of thousands of dollars for the rarest examples.
AT: How do you select which categories will have “Future of the Markets” in each new edition?
MM: I look at auction results and select the most representative collecting areas. The 2011 guide now features an all-new section on tribal arts from around the world, not just Native American creations. It’s amazing to see the similarities in pieces created by cultures on opposite sides of the globe.
AT: As more people look for tangible assets to diversify their investments, are antiques and collectibles something to consider? How can the Warman’s guide help someone if that’s the goal?
|Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2011 Price Guide, 44th Edition
by Mark F. Moran
MM: I think people focus too much on the “price” component instead of the “guide” part. A price guide will get you into the ballpark, but it won’t teach you how to play the game. It’s just one tool to help collectors navigate the marketplace. Collecting is a process of education, acquisition and upgrade, until the eye is trained to spot the best examples in any category. Warman’s features some of the finest antiques and collectibles available with real-world values. Readers will learn that buying one great piece is more important than buying 10 mediocre examples.
AT: What categories of collectibles are growing in both diversity of available items and collector interest? Which are less so?
MM: Jewelry — especially 20th-century costume pieces signed by their makers — is among the hottest categories right now. The same is true for 20th-century photography, from both well-known photographers and the anonymous shutterbug. The best examples of the once-overlooked snapshot — or “vernacular photography” — have a growing collector base. Country antiques continue to be a soft category, along with generic glass and ceramics. In any category, no matter what the age, if it has good design, it’s a good investment, but it takes time to train the eye to spot the best.
AT: Some have said fakes and reproductions are the plague of the collecting community. How much impact do these less-than-authentic items have on the market, and what can collectors do to truly avoid being taken by a fake?
MM: It’s important to distinguish between fakes and reproductions. A fake is a fraud, intended to deceive, while a reproduction is merely a new take on an old form. Once a repro gets into the secondary market, it may be misrepresented as old. The quality of reproductions has risen dramatically, so that someone looking for style without age has a wealth to choose from. The problem arises when a seller doesn’t take the time make sure a piece is authentic.
AT: What makes this book something people can use, regardless of their collecting expertise?
MM: It’s a good, solid read, full of gorgeous images and fascinating back stories that go far beyond the old “picture-price” books.
Mark F. Moran is senior editor for Krause Publications antiques & collectibles books division. He has been a contributing editor for Antique Trader magazine, editor of Antiques Review East, producer of the Atlantique City antique show, and editorial director of F+W Media’s Antiques Group. He has also authored more than 25 books on antiques and collectibles.
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