Why buy reference books ?
Well when I left school I though I would never need to see a reference book again ! How wrong I was. When I first started buying and selling antiques and collectors items, I would often go with a “gut” feeling about an items worth. I soon learned that there were many variations to the same theme, make a mistake at your peril.
A good example of this is, say Beswick Beatrix Potter figurines, these were made from about the late 40’s up to few years ago. The early back stamps were in gold leaf, then came the brown paint. Several years ago I was sitting pretty on a little figurine called “Thomasina Tittlemouse” from the above range. It had an early back stamp which I could date to the late 70’s, not the most popular, so a little rarer than some. I paid the going rate then of about £10.00.
I kept it for a few years until a visitor to the house examined the figurine. She told me that she had the same figure, but with a different , newer back stamp. She wanted the early back stamp and offered to swap models as well as giving me £50.00, I said no thank you. What a mistake. The figure was later with a Royal Albert, rarer issue stamp dating from 1989. It was actually worth six times the price of my model…without the reference book I was lost.
Since then , when dealing with Beswick, wade, Royal Doulton etc I always keep up to date “Charlton Standard Catalogues”. Now these give a “Book Price” which is normally about twice the price you pay at auction or eBay. However they are an excellent aid for insurance valuation, assistance with listing items on eBay as well as being used to pick out a gem. I did just that at auction in a small village hall in Lincolnshire. I saw a Beswick “Duchess and the Flowers” under the hammer, it was being called a Beswick dog. I managed to get it for £35.00 plus commission, next week I sold it for £1,399.00 on eBay !
So be a bookworm