Treasure: New books help antiquers stay current on past

Khristi ZimmethSpecial to The Detroit News

Knowledge is power, the old saying goes. That’s certainly true for the world of antiques, where the informed collector is most often the one who can separate the trash from the treasure at garage sales, flea markets and online.

Cultivating your “eye” can be done a number of ways, including museum visits, talking to other collectors and dealers and, of course, doing Internet research. One of my favorite ways, however, is to invest in books that help me learn more about my areas of interest.

Here are five new books on antiques that have recently caught my eye. All make great gifts for yourself or for other collectors.

Arts and Crafts: Living With the Arts and Crafts Style (Miller’s/Mitchell Beazley; $39.99). One of the most influential design movements, Arts and Crafts began in the late 19th century and is still a popular style today as well as an ever-growing collectible area. The queen of collector’s guides, Judith Miller, takes readers through the history of the movement’s philosophy and features approximately 1,000 photographs and information that includes jewelry, metal ware, glass, textiles and more. Designers profiled include William Morris, the Stickleys, Tiffany Studios, Rookwood and George Ohr. Eye candy, for sure. Deserves a spot on any Arts and Crafts enthusiast’s coffee table.

Mid-Century Modern Glass in America (Shiffer; $39.99). Some 700 photos in color and black and white take readers through the history of contemporary glass in America in this December release, authored by Dean Six with Paul Eastwood. Among the many manufacturers covered are Blenko, Fenton, Morgantown, Heisey; designers include Russel Wright, Eva Zeisel and more. Items included range from candy dishes and vases to ashtrays and drinkware. A must for the mid-century enthusiast.

Streamlined: Classic Cars of the 20th Century (Shiffer; $75). Based on an unprecedented exhibition at the Prototyp car museum in Hamburg, Germany, this book by Malte Jurgens spotlights 25 automobiles defined as having “aerodynamic rendezvous.” You may not be able to own any of them, but you can certainly ogle them in this tempting book, where you’ll find autos including a 1940 BMW Mille Miglia Touring Coupe, Porsche’s 356 Pre-A Coupe of 1950 and Petermax Muller’s 1938 World Record Volkswagen. A great gift for classic car buffs.

Step Right Up! Classic American Target and Arcade Forms (Shiffer; $45). As I write this, a large red roulette wheel adds color and form to my in-home office. So I was especially interested in this new guide to carnival and arcade collectibles, which continue to grow in popularity and price. Now considered folk art, target and arcade forms date to the early 19th and 20th century and were commonly seen on midways and in carnivals. This fascinating book by enthusiasts Richard and Valerie Tucker guides readers through some of the oldest and rarest and documents the difference between American and European forms.

Miller’s Collectibles Handbook and Price Guide, 2014-2015 (Miller’s/Mitchell Beazley; $27.99). Now in its 23rd edition, this best-selling collectibles handbook says it’s “the indispensable guide to what it’s really worth,” and includes an up-to-date price guide and more than 4,000 items from advertising to sports memorabilia. A hefty paperback, it’s more at home in your backpack at a flea market than on a coffee table, perhaps, but it’s packed with pictures and prices that make it well worth the cover price.

Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles 2015 Price Guide (Krause Books; $22.99). Author Eric Bradley is the former editor of Antiques Trader and the author of several books on antiques. This new edition includes more than 150 categories and more than 4,000 photographs and values. Tips throughout aim to help you navigate the ever-changing industry and be a better and more successful collector.

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Photos cannot be returned.