- Welcome to The Wise Collector
- Knowledge Changes Everything!
- Buyer Beware!
- Buyer Beware!: Part II
- Caring for Your Antiques
- Coin Collecting
- McCoy Pottery
- Chinese Export Porcelain
- Frankoma Pottery
- The Arts and Crafts Movement
- The Art Deco Period
- Susie Cooper Pottery
- Limoges China
- 18th C American Furniture Styles
- The Bauhaus School: Weimar 1919
- The Bauhaus School: Design & Architecture
- The End of a Century: Art Nouveau Style
- Biedermeier: The Comfortable Style
- The Souvenir Age
- A History of Ceramic Tiles
- Flow Blue China
- Collect Vintage Christmas Decorations
- An American Thanksgiving Through theYears
- How to Find an Antiques Appraiser
- Louis Prang, Father of the American Christmas Card
- Thomas Cook and the Grand Tours
- Harry Rinker's 25th Anniversary
- Mid-Century Modern
- Will Chintz China become Popular Again?
- Ireland's Waterford Crystal
- Vintage Wicker and Rattan
- Fishing Gear Collecting
- Bennington Pottery
- Identifying Pottery and Ceramic Marks
- The Art of Needlework in the Arts & Crafts Era
- The Delicious World of Vintage Cookbooks
- BLOG: RANDOM THOUGHTS
- E-BOOKS BY BARBARA BELL
- First Reader Consulting
Knowledge Changes Everything!
"Knowing Changes Everything” is the new catch phrase of a local hospital in central New York. It is striking, and is intended to stick in the consumer’s mind – even though it conveys nothing of substance about the hospital. Even so, it is a piece of truth that can be applied to just about any situation in life. To avoid duplication, I'll alter this to "Knowledge Changes Everything" - and you can acquire the knowledge you need (without spending a fortune on a college degree!)
Learning about your antiques changes everything, doesn’t it? Your great-aunt Mildred kept a ginger jar on her mantel for over 70 years. Why? To you, it was just something else collecting dust. To her, it not only represented the memory of her parents who brought it back from a missionary trip to China, but added to the beauty of her home. Neither you nor she knew much more about it.
But what if you learned through your efforts to know more, that this jar was actually a piece of Ming Dynasty porcelain, and its estimated value would finance a year of your oldest child’s college education?
A random visit to a neighborhood yard sale turns up several sets of modern looking chairs. You think their style looks familiar, and the price tag on each one seems reasonable – but how can you be sure? Are these mid-century Herman Miller plastic shell chairs, or reproductions? The former would be worth about $250 a pair – the latter about $50 apiece. How would you know?
That, my friend, is how Knowledge Changes Everything. There are at this website, the Wise Collector, a series of articles which will help you discover more about your own antiques and collectibles. You may already know something about the objects you collect. If you are determined to learn, you should be purchasing or borrowing books on the subjects in which you’re interested. Building up a reference library will enable you to identify marks, recognize the differences in periods, the kinds of materials your objects were made of and the methods by which they were made.
Finding old reference books is also a gold-mine of information since, by the nature of their age, the information about most antiques doesn’t change with the passage of time. It may be added to with continued research, and it may be corrected if there has been faulty information, but these are not as common events as you might think.
Wandering through the stalls of a flea market, or the back rooms of antique shops will often uncover very useful materials including old price guides and periodicals with great articles. You can pick up old magazines such as Architectural Digest and House Beautiful for a few dollars, and have authentic reference illustrations as well as timely articles about the period.
The Internet will bring you the most bang for your buck, however, in terms of time spent. And it’s a lot less dusty! Begin with such sites as The Antiques Road Show, Kovel’s, even Wikipedia, and follow the links you’ll find in most of the sites you view. This website, the Wise Collector, has an entire page of useful links which have been personally viewed and reviewed by me. With each additional article posted, I’ll add important links to the list.
If you have an area of collecting or antiques that you'd like to know more about, please contact me by leaving a comment, and I'll try to provide you with the information you request. I hope you’ll find that, for your own collecting benefit, Knowledge Changes Everything!
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