I have two words for you: Antiques Roadshow. If you accidentally started watching this show while channel surfing, your surf probably stopped there. Why? Because it is part fascinating, part suspense, and part history. This television show has been running since 1979. People line up with family heirlooms or thrift store/garage sale finds and wait patiently for an antiques appraiser to share information about their item’s history and worth. Sometimes they find that their item has little monetary value, but it still makes their heart swell; other times, the monetary value is mind-boggling and leaves the owner with the difficult decision of whether to keep it or sell it.
Just yesterday it was shared in the news that someone found an Egon Schiele sketch in a thrift store in New York. It could sell for $100,000! A couple of years ago, someone found a Maud Lewis painting in a thrift store. It sold for $45,000. And did you ever hear about the man who bought a chess piece for $6, only to later find out that it was worth $1.2 million dollars? $1.2 million dollars!!
There’s something about these stories and the Antiques Roadshow that leave you wanting to visit the thrift stores and garage sales to hunt for the ultimate treasure, or wondering if you already have one in your own home. Read on if you want to learn more about collectibles, have a precious heirloom that you need to care for, love reading Antiques Roadshow-type stories, or are intrigued by the darker side of this world (yes, it exists!).
We have Collectibles Guides. These provide you with visuals for many types of collectibles and how much each can sell for. There are guides for stamps, kitchen wares, action figures, cards, coins, and more.
Tricks of the Trade
We have books by individuals who have learned the tricks of the trade and are happy to share them.
- Flea Market Secrets by Jonty Hearnden shares hundreds of popular collector items and the author explains how to spot the hidden treasures, spot fakes, date objects and compare pieces.
- The garage sale gal’s guide to making money off your stuff by Lynda Hammond shares advice on organizing and profiting from your own garage sales, how to successfully buy from other garage sales, and the value of appraisals.
- Tales from the attic: practical advice on preserving heirlooms and collectibles by Colleen Wilson will help you keep those precious items that you already have in great condition.
If it’s the stories that draw you in, check these titles out:
- The antiques magpie: a fascinating compendium of absorbing history, stories, facts and anecdotes from the world of antiques by Marc Allum. You’ll “go in search of stolen masterpieces, explore the first museums, learn the secrets of the forgers and brush up on your auction technique. Meet the garden gnome insured for £1 million, track down Napoleon’s toothbrush, find out how to spot a corpse in a Victorian photograph – and much more.”
- The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr recounts the journey in the discovery of a Caravaggio painting that was lost for almost 200 years, and explores how many others likely remain lost to time in a storeroom or basement, or are being mistaken as a copy.
- In Priceless, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team offers a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair. The son of an antique dealer, the author went undercover catching art thieves and black market traders of priceless art and antiquities: golden armour, Geronimo’s headdress, and a Rodin sculpture to name a few.
- Caveat Emptor by Ken Perenyi is about his life as an art forger. Self-taught, he confounded experts and became wealthy by forging masterpieces for 30 years!
- The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey tells the story of Gilbert Bland, Jr., an antiques dealer who stole centuries old maps from research libraries in Canada and the United States. He was referred to as the “Al Capone of cartography”.
We have all that you’ll need to keep up the excitement, the mystery, and the learning around antiques and thrift store treasure hunting. Enjoy the adventure!