Our college-aged daughter has a growing interest in antiques. This grew out of her love of thrifting, which started in goodwill stores but has since spread the treasures found in antique shops.
For Christmas, we got her the 2023 edition of Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide. In an age of apps and data, this gigantic book (640 pages) may seem like an anachronism. But the Kovels' antique guide is a font of information, including more than 3,000 photos, 12,500 real sale and auction prices, and countless descriptions.
The Kovels website has even more extensive price data for antiques, as well as forums, blog posts, and other resources for collectors.
The 2023 guide is a joy to browse. Where else can you see a complete collection of sports memorabilia side by side, followed by listings of Stafforshire pots and figurines?
The book is also a labor of love. The Kovels are passionate about antiques, and it shows on every page. The authors compile the data using websites and auction houses as well as old-fashioned methods - visiting flea markets, talking with experts, and inviting readers to send in corrections or clarifications.
Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide was not created by a giant New York publishing house or faceless corporation. It’s a real family business, started in the late 1960s by Ralph and Terry Kovel (see photo below). On the website, Terry says:
“Neither of us was trained in art, antiques or writing … We came from Nowheresville as far as the experts were concerned. Maybe that’s why we can write what we write, because we think like beginners and write in plain language.”
After Ralph passed away in 2008, daughter Kim Kovel became the co-author of the guide with Terry, who is now in her 90s. This family is passionate about antiques and respect their readers - every edition of the book invites readers to reach out with questions, suggestions, or just to say hello.
The company was recently sold, so I am not sure if the guides will still be published, but the website will definitely live on. Regardless, the Kovels' drive and devotion is something that Nicole and I strive for in our own genealogy business. We hope that our children - whatever they end up doing - will find such passion in their own careers.
As 2023 winds to a close, we would like to thank all of our readers and customers for your continuing support. We welcome you to reach out if you have a question about our genealogy charts or are looking for a resource. We have lots of plans for 2024, including new fillable ancestry PDFs and charts for military service and immigration history. Stay tuned … and Happy New Year!