|Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM||comments ()|
When I first started collecting dolls I just bought what I liked, and what was available. What I didn't know was-- I didn't know squat about dolls. I thought I had a good collection until I hit the internet.
I went to the doll boards on eBay thinkin' I was all that, posting my dolls like they would be impressed. Oh looking back now is painful! There is no shame in being a doll dummy, well almost no shame. Don't go in there clueless like I did. I was the queen of the doll dummy's.
How could this be? I've been dealing in antiques from the time I was twelve! Well it's easy really. My choices in buying was limited, and I picked up what I liked and didn't really care what they were worth. Not to mention the field of doll collecting is massive!!
You have collectors that are prolific in one kind of doll, and most collecting for years and years. Until you real dive into collecting them it's really is hard to imagine just how many dolls were made, and by how many companies from all around the world!
You have your Barbie collectors. There are number one Barbies, two's, three's. There are so much to know, you have no idea! Then they know the clothes, what store sold them, what year it came out just at a glance. It's mind boggling when you find a collector like that, so much information inside their heads.
You have your bisque collectors. French, German the list goes on. They know just by a letter who that doll is. Open mouth, closed mouth, Bebe, Santa. Still floundering on this one.
You have Ginny collectors, Story book (NASB) Hard plastic, vinyl, composition, china, celluloid. The list just goes on and on. In the long run if you want to know everything about dolls get ready for years of study. If you get there let me know, because I'm far from it.
We'll just start with the basics, This will help you start out on your journey to doll collecting, and not look like the idiot I did when I got to the boards.
First lets start with the lingo, and abbreviations.
LAL-Look a like
MIB-Mint in the box
MIP-mint in package
IB-in the box
MNB-mint no box
HTF-hard to find
A/O- All original
BIN-buy it now
BN-bent knee, used to describe a doll with bent knees usually a "baby doll"
bkw-bent knee walker (commonly used for Vogue Ginny)
NFRB-never removed from box
OOAK-One of a kind
Toddler doll," meaning that she has the chubby figure and adorable face of a toddler
BEBE-Term used to describe French dolls representing small children.
composition- A mixture of wood pulp, sawdust, glue that is used to make dolls
celluloid - first plastic used to make dolls 1920's-1940's thin and fragile
china-Glazed porcelain used for making dolls heads, very popular in the mid 1800s.
CLOSED MOUTH: Doll sculpted so that the mouth is closed with no teeth showing
CHARACTER DOLL: Doll made to look like a living child or adult, also used for dolls who look like someone famous
CRAZING: Little crisis-cross cracks that sometimes form, with age, over the surface of a composition or china doll.
FLANGE NECK: A doll head where the edge of the neck flares out for attachment to a cloth doll body
FLIRTY EYES: Doll eyes that can move from side to side
FASHION DOLL: A French or German lady doll made, generally, with a bisque head, and dressed in fashions of the day. Also used for modern day dolls that are made to display clothing, such as Revlon, usually feet that fits high heels
GOOGLY EYES: Big, round, side-glancing eyes, very popular on dolls from 1910s through the 1920s
HARD PLASTIC (HP): Type of durable, very hard plastic used to make dolls in the 1940s and 1950s.
MOHAIR: Hair of the angora goat, used for antique doll wigs. Very desirable; very soft and natural looking wigs are made of mohair.
NASB; Nancy Ann Story Book
OPEN MOUTH: Mouth molded open to, generally, reveal teeth inside. Can also reveal tongues
OPEN HEAD: Doll head with the crown cut out so that eyes can be inserted; crown opening is usually covered with a "pate" so that the wig can be put on the doll
PORTRAIT DOLL: Term used for dolls late 1800s and early 1900s bisque dolls representing a person (early character)
POUPEÉ: Term used for French fashion dolls; also means "doll" in French
R&B; Arranbee dolls
SLEEP EYES: Dolls eyes that are open when the doll is upright, but close when the doll is put prone
VINYL: Plastic developed in the late 1940s that is the dominant type of plastic used to make dolls since the 1960s; can be hard or soft
MAMA doll: A doll with box that cries MaMa when moved around
SWIVEL HEAD: A socket head using separate shoulder plates
Reborn-the doll has been altered to look like a new born usually by a reborn artist.
Rooted hair: The hair is rooted to the scalp with holes going into the head.
Rooted hair is used by vinyl dolls.
Pate: a cardboard type material used to attach wig to doll
Jointed: Bends at the joints.
When looking at dolls the next thing you have to know is marks. This is also a learning process, and I suggest you go to my link page to find out dolls and their marks. I have excellent sites listed there. You can find most doll marks around the hair line of the doll at the back of their heads, some on their backs. With some dolls you have to take into count numbers on legs, some even on their feet. Now lets continue to what they are made of...
|Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM||comments ()|
What dolls are made of is one of the first things you need to know. Hands on is the best way to learn. I recommend going to a doll show, it's the best way to get a view of the entire doll world.
Bisque dolls are an unglazed type of porcelain. Although you may have new dolls today that resemble these dolls they are not called bisque by collectors. The mass produced dolls you buy today on QVC or gift shops are simply called porcelain.
China is a glazed material a fine usually white clay formed by the weathering of aluminous minerals. There are many reproductions out here and good ones. If you start collecting these do your homework carefully.
Composition. These dolls are made of a wood pulp material, made by many companies. Just because you found a composition doll does not mean it's worth a bunch of money. There are many unknown dolls out there, and some are more desirable than others.Composition dolls overtook the market for bisque dolls in the early 20th Century.Composition dolls were made from approximately 1909 through the early 1950s. The height of the market for composition dolls was the 1920s through the 1940s
In this group you have a painted eye, Flirty eye, fashion, cloth body.
Next we have hard plastic.Hard plastic dolls were first made in the late 1940s. Hard plastic replaced composition, the material that had previously been made to make dolls. Hard plastic dolls were much more durable than composition dolls, making them better suited for children's play, harder to break. Hard plastic was also better for creating fine details, such as the dimples on fingers and toes. Hard plastic can deteriorate, causing what we call "Hard Plastic Doll Disease". You should smell the doll inside the joints to see if this has happened. I don't need to tell you the smell you will know if you have ever smelled a rotten egg.
Then your vinyl dolls that are made today.Unbreakable and soft and more pliable then hard plastic, and inexpensive to manufacture. Also, vinyl dolls could have rooted hair instead of wigged, which greatly enhanced play value of dolls, making doll's hair sturdy and easy to comb and brush. Vinyl dolls were first produced in the mid 1950s. Many times you will find a doll with a vinyl head and hard plastic body or visa-versa. Not to be confused with "magic skin" that was the soft latex used for dolls in the 40's.
Metal Head and Celluliod
You also have celluloid dolls. I have no examples in my collection but it's a very thin type of plastic that is very fragile and flammable.
Metal dolls have been in existence since the mid 1880's. The dolls may consist of all metal or metal head only. Some of the metals used were aluminum, brass, pewter, silver, steel, tin or other metal alloys. Most of these dolls were produced in the United States, France and Germany.
Metal heads of course are easy, they have metal heads! Most come with tin eyes if they have sleep eyes. The older German made Minerva heads had glass eyes, and a cloth body. The larger metal heads were sometime sold separately, so they can have an all cloth body or composition arms and legs. The stuffing can be many things as these were sometimes sold in kits, and the bodies were homemade. The two above are my flirty eyed metal heads. The one below is Henry, American made metal
Cloth dolls well they are made of cloth. You have dolls like Lenci (pictured below) that are easy to spot, the older dolls may be homemade or printed cloth.
|Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM||comments ()|
~Yes that is me holding the doll while eye balling my brothers truck~
My Grandmother was the queen of pack rats. She had everything anyone could imagine. Heisey adorned the whole house. My Grandmother was friends with Mrs. Heisey, very good friends it seems.
Although I didn't know it at the time she had many items that never hit the market, and special made pieces for companies and elections.(Therefore my mother had gobs of the stuff. I am not a fan)
She had Weller, Roseville and tons of all the pottery that made this part of Ohio famous. Books, books, and books!
She had record players that us kids thought were awesome. Round records, thick small records (Edison's), and stacks of things our parents called Victrola records. Sometimes she would play them for us. It was a creepy feeling listening to scratchy music that would slowly wind down to nothing. At the same time it was exciting, and all of us were thrilled when she would play them.
She had small suitcase full of buttons, bunches of them. These buttons were me and my cousin’s entertainment. I had 20 or so first cousins, entertaining us all must have been a chore. What can you do with buttons you say?? Lots of things!
Button, button who has the button! We would start at the bottom of the steps, and every time we guessed where the button was we got to up a step. I think there were only four of five steps until the landing where she stopped, and never going beyond unless an older cousin would play. It was a race to see who got there first.
Then there was stringing buttons! Hours and hours of picking out the ones we liked best to string. She would save our button string for a day or two, and then back into the suitcase they would go.
She also had something that all us kids dream about even today. An attic, not just any attic a fantasy attic! Walking up the steps the adventure was only as good as our imaginations. Even the bare light bulb seemed to ooze magic from its dim light.
She had trunks of stuff, and clothes from the 1800's. Furniture that would make a cottage where evil witches lived or palaces made for a queen, or golden faeries. Old metal toys that gave joy to us girls as well as the few boys in our clan.
This was a place where several us could play at a time. When we had our family get 'together's' it was a big no. The very first thing our parents would say when we walked in, knowing how many of us were going to be there was, "Stay out of the attic!"
We were split up in two groups. The older cousins went to Grandma's room, and the younger ones, who were in what we called "Jackie's room keeping us from killing each other, and digging into things we had no business playing with.
Jackie was a cousin that lived there some years ago, but now the room was all but empty and kept us out of trouble. You were only allowed to be in the older group when the oldest of the cousins believed you to be worthy. As fate would have it I never got to the older group.
What's an adventurous mischievous kid to do? Peek into forbidden places of course. Down the long second floor hallway just before you got to the servant entrance steps to the kitchen, was a closed room that we were never permitted to enter.
It was tempting I have to say. Through the key hole you could see junk stacked to the ceiling. We would take turns looking in asking, "What did you see?" We never dared as a group to open the door. You have to remember this was the 60's, and punishment wasn't a threat...ever.
In those days my Grandma was my babysitter, some days my brother and I wandered through the big house feeling alone and bored. Sometimes we were split up, One going with a cousin one staying with Grandma.
One of those days someone got the bright idea to go in that room. Oh alright it was me. I think it took several days of going in a little at a time before I made it to the back. The very back was my destination after all. The grass is greener at the back of the junk room, didn't you know?
From the middle I could see this majestic marbled dresser, with great carved handles. I had to see what was inside no matter the cost. I was a fearless four or five year old. I was afraid of very little, even ending up falling into the bottom of the piles to be lost forever didn't bother me. Getting caught, that was another thing. I was determined, and I knew from the start I would go all the way to back one way or another.
When I made it there it was full of all the magic I knew was there. In the two small drawers on either side was full of makeup, and stale perfume. The main drawers had frilly dresses from the 40's and 50's! On top of the dresser was a grand old stuffed black dog that stood guard.
I named the dog on the spot, and declared the dresser and all its contents to be claimed by the kingdom of Lynda land! Many times I found myself alone playing dress up, and happily living in the world of my imagination. Like all kids it was only a matter of time before I blew it.
One day as my mother called me from the bottom of the stairs I forgot an important thing. My face, I walked down looking as innocent as I could manage with painted lips to eyes with old Avon makeup. Nailed!
Oh I was punished; there was no getting around the rules no matter how amused my mother was. The room was now declared with force no entrance. My heart was broken. You see I was one of those kids that thought everything was alive, and they were very real to me. I didn't pout to have these things, I liked them just where they were, and I missed my land, my kingdom!
One day Mom sat me down to talk to me about my great adventure. She scolded me again for breaking the rules. Then to my surprise she asked me if I were to take the dresser home would I promise never to go in there again. It turns out the dresser used to be hers. Of course I promised, and was thrilled to have the dresser that I Lemon Pledged until it screamed for mercy.
Hmm what? The dog? Oh yes the dog came home with me as well, and slept with me every single night. There was something missing of course. They still had the magic and I loved them dearly, but it wasn't the same.
What would I do now on those long days at Grandma's? My brother I was not allowed in the attic without our older sister or a cousin. There was another room blocked off for years that WAS strictly forbidden. It was off the main dining room, and us kids would peek through the keyhole. You could smell the mold wafting off the things in there. It was full of nothing but books, and it was nailed shut.
Well as luck would have it there were other places to investigate. In the entrance foyer under the winding stairway behind the telephone chair was a closet. Grandma might have thought it was quite hidden behind the chair, but she didn't know me.
I could pull the chair out just a bit, open the door a crack and crawl in, that is just what I did. Stacked along the back were dozens of framed prints. The one in front was one of three horses that seemed in fear of the approaching lightening. (The Pharaoh's Horses)
Right away they were my friends. Upon further investigation buried and alone was a doll. It was a beat up old thing with eyes that were too big her face. I felt her pain as she looked like me, and I had another friend.
One day under the stairs all of a sudden the door burst open letting in the offensive light. I looked up with such fear I thought I would burst into tears. Lucky for me it was just Grandma there. She looked at my new hiding place and grinned. "What do you have there? You found that old doll I see." So I asked Grandma why she was there. She smiled and said. "Cat got her tongue."
I didn't understand it of course, but she was an old talking doll that no longer worked (She turned out to be an Ideal Talky Tot)
Fate smiled upon me once again. When I went home that day, safely tucked away in the truck was my horses, and sitting next to me was my doll that the mean old cat had taken her tongue. Slowly for the next few years my magical items were all around me in my very room. My room was now the magic room. I was getting too big to hide without getting caught.
This was the birth of a pack rat Junker, but my new disorder was to be enabled even more.
I was around eleven nearly twelve when for some reason my Grandmother thought it was time to get rid of things. I'm not sure if she needed the money, or if she knew she was ill, but one day a plan was formed. Our property could be used for commercial use; they thought the best way to sell things was to open our own antique store.
So at that age I became aware of things Grandma had I had never known before. Heisey mostly, and apparently the very best of the stuff. It wasn't long before I could find Heisey without looking at it. Heisey has a feel that no other glass has.
She had all the Ohio pottery as well. It might not be something most can tell at a glance but I can. We’ll all accept the dripped brown stuff that McCoy and Hull used. Yuck. Yes I said yuck. I was sick of Heisey and drip ware, I still am, but I can tell you anything you want to know about it.
Long story short we did that for some time. Sometimes we went to auctions and sales to add to the inventory. I bid on my first thing when I was twelve. Mom had books out the kazoo, and slowly I learned about nearly everything.
This wasn't what added to my new obsession though it only made me appreciate it more....
Within that year was when my Grandmother passed. With six kids trying to clean up that massive house full of junk they got burned out. Everything began to look like junk to them, and things ended up in the throw away pile. My Uncle had a dump on his property and this was where they stuff was bound.
Even the nailed shut book room was opened up. We don't want to be too hard on our mom's and dad's at this point, there were thousands. They picked out the ones they wanted the rest thrown away.
How could you stand it you ask?? I didn't. My father had parked our car at my Uncles and always rode into town with him. When the trailer headed out to the dump, I sat in the trailer hitching a ride. When they would go into my Uncles to take a break or eat. I would grab what I could and hide it in the trunk of my Dad's car. I did this every day, several times a day for at least two weeks.
I ended up with tons of books, doll heads, pottery, and toys of all kinds, boxes, bobbles, jewelry, and broken little pieces of furniture that would fit snugly in the trunk. If I ran out of room I would simply hide it until the next day.
How did you not get caught you ask? Oh I did, but by the time I got caught it hardly mattered, it was already in my room. My parents might be able to throw it out at others request, not so much when it was home.
At twelve years old I had as many antiques as someone junking for years. There was no going back after all. I am proud to say I am not a hoarder though. I am well aware of my limitations. The things that always meant a lot to me I still have, even my dog and my Talky Tot. The other things I learned to let go.
Many, many times I'll pick something up just to sell it. Unless it's a childhood item if it's in a box out of sight for a couple of years I unload it. Besides how can I justify buying more unless I have room?!!
|Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM||comments ()|
Are you kidding me? If you read The Birth of a Junker you might already get it. It's about the thrill of the hunt! I know for a fact that if I hit the Mega Lottery I would still be digging for junk. There is a feeling you get when you find that lost treasure hiding in the bottom of trash that no money can replace.
You might have felt that as a kid finding that old bottle filled with mud and leaves in the woods, or even a $20 dollar bill blowing along the sidewalk. It's expecting nothing on a normal day and finding gold!
I've already told you my stuff isn't worth tons of money. That isn't to say I haven't found that item what is worth tons. The thing is it's not about MY stuff being worth tons; it's about finding that thing and turning it around to sell it for tons,or keeping it as your own treasure.
Even then it's not about the money, although money is nice. There is a high finding a treasure that buying it on eBay can't replace. It's this feeling that keeps you digging for that next treasure.
There are also lines I will not cross, and this I think is really important. I used to work at a consignment shop, or what you call a thrift store. This is where people bring in things and they get part of the money when it sells.
Many times we would get older people in there trying to supplement their income by selling off their things. So many times they bring in items and have no idea what they are worth. They say the price they want having no clue they just handed me something worth a hundred times what it's worth.
Hey I could let them put a buck on that piece of Heisey buy it and make a profit, but that's not me. I would show them the marks or how I know what it is, then tell them where to go to sell it for real money.
There is NO joy in ripping people off, and those that do are crap in my book. I've seen it time and time again at yard sales. There are even people that know what they pick up is worth real money and ask the person to take less. I just do not get this AT all.
Look I get making a profit, but if I see a piece of pottery at a yard sale and it's two bucks and I know it's worth a hundred or so, I grab that bad boy up and pay.
I'm guilty of one thing however. Sometimes I will tell the person what items are so they don't sell it for nothing. In these cases I know its people that could really use the money. It feels like going into Tiffany's and switching tags, you are paying for the thing, but not what you should be paying.
I found this really fantastic book in a free pile. I snatched that bad boy up cradling it like a baby. I knew what it was, and no one was getting that bad boy out of my hands. When I paid for my other things I handed them some money for the book. I can't explain why I do this other then I feel better knowing I didn't just take someone. After all it's about the hunt, not about hurting someone, even if they don't know they had been hurt. There is no thrill walking away from someone knowing you are making money off of their ignorance. Without that thrill it's no fun.
I’m not saying that I go around paying what things are worth, I don’t. I don’t even mind getting that thing for a buck that is worth hundreds. With dealers they should of have done their own homework, and it’s not my fault they didn’t. Its people that I know for fact need the money more than I do. If you have never gone without you may not get this, but I have seen it. I have watched older people that want to save their homes have shady dealers come in and rip them off. I hate this more than anyone can know. There is a special place for people like this, and I hope it’s eternal. Making money off of others misfortune is simply soulless.
When I was twelve and left at our parent’s antique store a man (and yes I remember you and still see you around town) switched tags on a rare cut Heisey bowl. My mother was so upset, and I felt horrible, but I also felt violated. You do, you were taken advantage of and it changes the way you feel about people. This is why I hate “wheelers and dealers.” Smooth talking jerk has his reputation now, and that my friends is Karma in the world of Junkers.
There is a profit margin that good dealers get. They pay you a fair price, to make their fair profit when they negotiate. Sometimes you will deal not knowing what the thing is worth, but you try to be fair. This is a hard thing. See you might give too much because you don't know, and sometimes your profit is larger then you expected. This is just part of the game.
The most important part is that people trust you. You want a name that is passed around so that when that person wants to sell, or they have that barn is going to be torn down, or first dibs at an estate sale, you are the one that is called. There is a pride in this that some dealers will never get. In my opinion if you will steal a candy bar, you will take a TV. There are no gray area's here, either you are honest or you are not. Some may say I take my honesty too far. Well that can't be helped, and I'm sorry to hear it, but it works for me and for those that trust me.
The second part of the thrill for me is doing the research. I know not everyone likes this part, but I love it. Part of the hunt for me is hunting for what the thing is, and how much it's worth. I like digging even if it's for information. Not only am I finding out about how much a thing is worth I am learning about all aspects of the antique or collectable. Next time I'll know enough to make an informed buy.
Gathering information about as much as I can is a thrill. I use my knowledge to help people too. I have a few friends that own stores that call me for help on some things. I do it and I do it for free. Oh it pays off trust me. This is how I get my leads to my next adventure! I love that call. "So in so is emptying a barn. Are you interested?" Well hell yeah!
Then the best part of being a Junker, and why I do it. The people! I love people, they are a hoot! I like teaching them what I know, or them teaching me. I like going through their things as they tell me the history, and yes their life. Many times they are so happy their things are going to someone that will love their stuff as much as they did the money doesn't even matter to them. I remember all of them.
So the next time that idiot is stopped at trash on the curb, or you spot their head in a dumpster, or they come to your yard sale covered in dirt, don't look down at them, they are part of the world of the great American Junker. It might even be me!
|Posted by L Abbott on January 7, 2011 at 1:10 PM||comments ()|
After my Grandmother passed we closed our store. By this time however my mother and I were hooked. We traveled some distances to antique stores and flea markets. At first the dealers were mean watching a little kid picking up a piece of pottery to find its mark, but it wasn't long before they knew me and trusted me, even teaching me things about antiques.
We knew all the dealers in a 50 miles radius. I have fond memories of those dealers that are no longer here. We had a place that was bustling in the day, called The Red Barn. (Not anymore, today it's a real junk pile) It was a massive place that also housed a car lot. I knew everyone there and it was a joy to see them. Sometimes we only went to visit as the inventory didn't change all that much.
This is how I learned to be a great Junker.
First get to know who you are dealing with. Or what you might call networking. They all knew what my mom and I collected and would hold things for us they thought we might like, or at times calling us before putting it out.
Mom had collected Political buttons from the time she was really little, and it over flowed to all pin backs, and all political items. She also collected hundreds upon hundreds of salt cellars, and butter pats.
I found myself to be a collector of dolls, even though I didn't know as much about them as other things. Alright I didn't know JACK, until I joined a doll board. Then I found out most of the dolls I had were "junk", Such is life, I still loved them.
I also had an impressive collection of bells and figurines of porcelain, bisque and well any material really. Oh help us all, books! Then I came to love Asian jewelry. And for some reason anything made of metal and wood and some pottery. I think it's because I was always surrounded by glassware. Today it's still not a favorite of mine.
So the first step is to network. It's really important to know your dealer. I for one will not talk to anyone that goes on about their crap like its gold, or talk it up to be something grander than it is.
This is what I call a wheeler dealer. Mom had one that drooled over her pin backs, and even lifted one from her collection. (I still remember your name buddy)
It's easy for me to know a wheeler dealer because we not only bought, but we used to sell.
If the person rubs you the wrong way, walk away. You'll find your item somewhere else. Unless you feel you can out bullshit them that is. Oh I might go visit to see if they have that one thing I cannot live without, or out of pure boredom, but networking, nope. That would be scraping the bottom, and they never "deal" with you. They are the "know it all's" of the Junker world, and never are looked upon politely in the circle of Junkers.
A real dealer deals! They know when they buy the overhead they want out of their item. They never try to sell you something for book price. Why? Because they wouldn't buy something for that price of course! They know the real secret to selling is, fast turn over at a reasonable profit. In these days of the internet there is no "book price" it's what people are willing to pay for it.
Gesh it's like walking into a used car lot and paying the marked price. Please tell me you don't do that!
The best of dealers when they see you trying to wrestle with yourself about buying an item will offer you a better price. I have a list of favorites myself. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price. Dealers that rent out space are usually allotted 10% mark down. Don't feel bad, when they mark it down, they know exactly how much they can go down and still get a profit. Don't be greedy either. Most will know what's its worth; don't push it, now you are becoming a pain.
There is another thing I have learned. I like to fix things, and uglier and more beat up the better. I have made a name for myself of trying to save things. I have also made a name to haul things away. So when a barn, house or garage goes down, I get a call. Most times these things are free. Not always, but the prices are always good. I am providing a service; I am cleaning out the crap they didn't have the heart to throw out. They also know I will do my best to breathe life back into the item.
I'm not sure how that began. I used to ask for beat up things for projects I know. Some dealers don't want to mess with bulky furniture that take up space, and don't give them a profit. This was not an overnight rep I got; I put the word out whenever I could.
I got the real rep by digging in the trash. I will climb in a dumpster at auctions to get that prized piece of crap. Then I wait for the question I always hear. "What are you going to do with that thing?" Fix it of course. Then I would go back with the fixed thing to show it off.
It's always a good idea to know prices. Look through completed items on eBay, get lots of books. You know those really old out dated antique books? If they have lots of pictures they are not obsolete. They have images of things you learn are worth something even if they prices are wrong. It's like a memory game. "I remember that chair from my books!" It's a buck or two and you know you have something! Also books supply names, dates, and important things to look up on the net to find it's real going price.
If you have or buy antique books remember this. You can NOT go by the prices in there. You have two things going on here. One. The high prices are usually documented by an auction where things go high. Auction prices you will not get, I can promise you that.
If you quote to a dealer, "This is listed in Kovels for X." A dealer is going to smile and walk (if they don't run) away from you never to return.
The second thing: In the books that list everything you have to remember one thing; There is not one single person on this planet that knows the price of every collectible and antique out there. It's just not possible. Always get a second opinion, look on line, and compare books. Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you read.
How much can you get out of your item? Only what a person is willing to pay. You will hardly ever get book price, and if they are a dealer you will NEVER get it. If you never get it, you have a nice item you can't sell.
What you all might find sad. My stuff really isn't worth that much one at a time. I get something worth a bunch, its outta here. Oh sure I have an item here or there worth some money, but it's not here because its worth "X" it's here because I love it. Such is the life of a Junker.
Here is another tip. Let us say you want to sell on eBay. Don't list your item high. Let the collectors make the price. This I see a lot with books. You go to the rare books sites and they say your book is worth $5000! Good luck with that! There is something either really special about this book, or they are out of their minds. There is always someone else out there selling it for a good reasonable price. Do your homework! There is always a small chance you have that rare high priced item. Find an expert and get it appraised professionally.
If you are afraid of not getting what you want out of it eBay is not the place for you.
The very last tip to being a great junker? Love people. All kinds of people, because that is who you will be dealing with!