Pull those old toys out from under the bed. Grab the toaster tucked in the back of the kitchen cabinet. Gather up your old china and Christmas ornaments -- just don't throw them out! In Treasures in Your Attic, Joe L. Rosson and Helaine Fendelman, professional antiques appraisers and hosts of the popular television show, aired on PBS stations across the country, explore the valuable objects found in most ordinary American homes and learn that frequently the most valuable items are the ones you've overlooked.
Joe and Helaine give you an inside look at how the antiques market really works, how value is determined, how to "talk the talk," and where to go to research your "treasures." Then they take you on a room-by-room treasure hunt of an ordinary home -- and they talk prices as they examine the discarded toys in the children's room, the costume jewelry in the bedroom, the old gadgets and appliances in the kitchen, the furniture tucked into the attic, and even the concrete garden ornaments in the backyard. Finally, they'll help you figure out the best way to sell -- or buy -- antiques and collectibles at auction or on the Internet.
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For once, here's a book whose contents live up to its (very long) subtitle; it's a smart and straightforward amateur's guide to the basic valuation factors of everything from china, crystal, and glassware to furniture, figurines, Barbie dolls, and old garden tools. It kicks off with a blunt rundown of the main elements that determine an object's value (and contrary to popular belief among the antiques laity, mere "oldness" isn't necessarily one of them), and then provides a fun and detailed glossary of key words, styles, and makers in seven main areas of collecting: pottery and porcelain, glass, silver and other metals, furniture, paper, textiles and needlework, and "catch-all."
Then the book walks you through a room-by-room assessment of your own house (including, yes, the bathroom, attic, and tool shed), helping you get a sense of whether the family china or that so-called Biedermeier sofa is really worth anything, or if there's currently an eager market out there for those old straight-edge razors, Timex watches, Star Wars action figures, animal-shaped cookie jars, or back-issues of Life. However, the authors stress that this is not a guide to accurate do-it-yourself appraisal, and that only a legit appraiser (and not an antiques dealer) can give you a true retail value on an object.
The overall tone here is notably generous and uncondescending, and even when an air of barely repressed disdain for the myriad know-nothing civilians they've encountered sneaks in, it's more amusing than off-putting. (When they plead, "Please, do not call a lamp a 'Tiffany' unless it was made by that company and bears its trademark," you can almost hear their aggrieved sighs of schoolmarm exasperation.) For wannabe collectibles pros, weekend flea-market prowlers, or anybody with a houseful of intriguing junk, this plainspoken, substantial guide is a keeper. --Timothy MurphyAbout the Author:
Joe L. Rosson and Helaine Fendelman are the host of the popular television show seen on PBS stations nationwide Treasures in the Attic. Helaine writes the "What is it? What is it worth?" column for Country Living magazine and Joe is the antiques columnist for the Knoxville News-Sentinel. They both write Scripts Howard weekly newspaper column "Treasures in the attic".
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