Picks and Pans Review: Miller's International Antiques Price Guide

updated 02/24/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/24/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Judith and Martin Miller

Here are almost 700 pages of photographs and information about everything that's collectible. But what makes it fascinating is that it quotes current market prices. If you have a fortune in your attic, here is one place you can find out about it. Many of the objects and furnishings in this book are expensive beyond ordinary mortals: A Stradivarius violin is $135,000, for example, and a pretty little Queen Anne dressing table in tiger maple that would look nice in any bedroom is $120,000. But it's fascinating to see how time and the death of the creator make certain objects much more valuable: A side chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with an oak plank back is priced at $22,100. Not everything is priced completely out of sight. There is a pair of pretty little spotted ceramic dogs for $60 and a few Staffordshire figures at about the same price. But those nice jugs that one used to buy at county auctions for three or four dollars are now priced at $400 to $1,000. And there are 15 old creamers in the shape of cows that are ingenious and funny and charming, but are also priced at $400 up. The book includes a section on costumes. (A beaded dress from the '20s is $400, but a new beaded designer dress would probably cost a lot more, wouldn't it?) While there are nine pages of dolls (a Shirley Temple is $300), there are only seven Teddy bears—one that is "worn, with limp joints and patched paws" is priced at $1,200. There are chess sets, music boxes, posters, sheet music, old magazine covers (the January 1903 issue of Woman at Home is six dollars), jade, pistols, jewelry, photographs (sculptor Henry Moore's right eye by Bill Brandt, $700), and hundreds of other strange and wonderful things. Catalogs used to be called wish books; this encyclopedia is the most intriguing wish book of all. (Viking, $18.95)

From Our Partners