Sunday, January 13, 2013

Outdated Price Guides and Reference Books

Have you ever passed up an old price guide or reference book just because the information was outdated?   Even when they're new, the published prices become outdated almost overnight and can vary from one region to another.   You can find current information on just about any antique or collectible online, but how do you know what to look for if you don't know what you have.  I've been able to identify several unmarked mystery items just by flipping through the pages of some of my thrifty outdated reference books.

These are seriously outdated as price guides, but will always be a good source for identification and interesting information.  Some are even good for a few laughs, and most were picked up for next to nothing at yard sales and library book sales. 

Several years ago I found this set of Time Life Books at a garage sale for $3.00.  Fifteen volumes (only one missing) of Encyclopedia of Collectibles books published in 1978.  They're full of great pictures and information on everything from advertising giveaways, buttons, folk art, quilts, typewriters, and more.

This 1975 edition of Pottery and Porcelain by the Kovels has come in handy several times, and well worth the $1.00 price at our local library book sale.  

It's broken down alphabetically and by a few dozen different 
symbols such as crowns, lines, flowers, and shields.

Kitchen Glassware of the Depression Years price and reference guide published in 1983.  This one was .25 cents at a moving sale. 

A great book for identifying these fun collectibles.

This one is my favorite...Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles; 254 pages of advertisements
 and vintage kitchen gadgets.  I bought this one new in 2003 and actually paid the full
price of $24.99.  Gasp!!  I love all the entertaining advertisements.
 An automatic butter curler.  How spiffy is that?

Do you remember these?

I bought one of these at a yard sale and had no idea what it was until I found it listed in this book.  

It's digestible too.  That's good to know.

If you win, be sure to wear your highest heels.

In 1956 a family of four could enjoy dinner and dessert for $1.00.

My dough bullets never produced pretty cookies.

These old glass rolling pins are a great way to display buttons and other trinkets.

Why?

What can I say?

Keep your eyes open for inexpensive old reference books and price guides at yard sales and library book sales.  They may be outdated, but they're full of helpful information and nothing beats the feel of a real book in your hands.


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Ivy and Elephants

33 comments:

JunkStuffTreasures said...

Good point! I'm on the lookout for a set of the TIme-Life books. Someday, I'll find them at a garage sale or thrift shop.

Anne said...

Great tip Betsy! I will have to keep my eyes open to finding those books! So true to prices as far as value is outdated.But still lots of useful information.So many times I find something and don't know what it is.Great to have a book for reference.
xx
Anne

Michelle L. said...

Hilarious ads, what a fun post. I have several of those cool rolling pins. And the mayonnaise maker - I have one and honestly didn't know what it was, so thanks for the identification!

The Joyful Thrifter said...

I always pass up these books up. Thank you for the reminder.

Smiles,
The Joyful Thrifter

Paulette said...

You are absolutely right old guides are a marvelous resource. My knowledge base on vintage items is limited but because of my old reference guides I have gained a few tidbits of knowledge.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

You have some great sources of info. A lot of the old advertisements are so funny. I had a a few that I got rid of in one of my "declutter fits" several years ago. :-D

Mad Maine said...

Great post! I have a few old reference guides too, and I still use them much like you do. Also, as much as we use the internet these days, it is nice and quite relaxing to sit down and look at all the fun stuff in a REAL book :-)

Art and Sand said...

I laughed when I saw the peanut butter in the cut glass jar. I remember my mother buying that brand until we had a set of glasses.

Marsha @ Tattered Chick said...

What a fabulous collection you have Betsy!!! I braved the 25 degree temp this morning and went to the flea!!!!! Should have read this first and kept an eye out for any like this! Xo

Jill said...

I don't pass these books by either - Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles looks like a good one, I'm going to order it!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I always try to get these books when I find them cheap. Great references for info like you said. I also love to look through them and it helps me spot good items sometimes.

marie said...

Great idea! I never thought about picking these up as a source of identifying items. That's WAY easier than searching the internet for photos! Thanks for sharing!

PS. Love all the cute ads too!

Trisha said...

Great post. Good advice. I always keep antique price guides, the only time I let go of one is when I get a duplicate. Sometimes I just like to sit down with one and look through the pages. Looking at antiques on the web is just not the same. Have a Blessed day.

~ Liz ~ said...

I never looked for them before, but I certainly will now. I could really use one right now too. I've been trying to find info on something online with no luck. Love the ads you showed us. Too cute! What a great collection.
Liz

Diane Writes said...

"They may be outdated, but they're full of helpful information and nothing beats the feel of a real book in your hands."

I super agree with this statement. Nothing beats the priceless information given to us by books. No matter how outdated they are, they will remain as priceless pieces that are worth for keeps. Great post Betsy!

Kathy said...

Oh good grief, I'm still laughing! I love those old ads and I have a set of those peanut butter jars. Mine are the short version that my mother always served pudding in - real COOKED pudding.
I, too, find the reference books helpful in spite of the out-dated prices. I once auctioned a great old pharmacy bottle instead of listing it in my etsy because a book made me realize it was something special.
I have never seen those Time Life books and would love to have a set. I have the gardening ones and didn't even know they made a collectables set. I will have my eye out for those!
Thanks for sharing a great post!

Ivy and Elephants said...

You are so right, and I wish I'd have found that set of "Time Life".
Great find! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs,
Patti

The Polka Dot Closet said...

What a fun post, that Spiffy book is fabulous!! I still go to my old books once in a while too, especially for china marks. Some times I like to just sit and go thought old books in hope that I will remember and item when I am out thrifting!

Carol

Jean @ www.thebackyardbungalow.com said...

Good idea. I honestly never pay any attention to books at sales. My husband is the bibliophile, so I let him buy the books. I'll be keeping my eye out from now on!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love the illustrations! And I love books! What fun finds...I'll look for some! Happy thrifting!

Oklahomaredhead said...

Wow, I just found out I had a glass rolling pin. I had bought it at a garage sale for $.25 (I think) and wondered if that was what it was supposed to be. Don't know if it has any worth but I use it for decoration on my bakers rack! Thanks for choosing that picture to show.

Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

Great post, Betsy! I love to find old reference books. They DO really help identify those "whazzits" that I discover occasionally and they're fun to browse! Love your collection!!!

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

This is a great idea, not only for vintage home decorating but also if you do any creative writing, as we do, to give accurate prices from different time periods, as well as what items were available in particular years. I'm going to have to start looking for some of these when I'm out thrifting!

UPON A HILL said...

So that is where those glasses came from??? Big top peanut butter. Someone in our family line, ate a lot of peanut butter, because I have a few of those. thanks for sharing!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

PS: Adorable new profile picture!!

Carol

Betty Smith said...

Thank you for reminding me why I should hang on to the outdated price guides I was thinking about sending to Goodwill.

Little Miss Maggie said...

These photos are so much fun to look at. They take me back in time and I actually remember some of this stuff from when I was growing up. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Blue Creek Home said...

Dang, I need to raise the price of my old glass mayonnaise jar!!!! Thanks.
Rhonda

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I keep many outdated books, too...they really are good guides for identification! I love your new profile photo, Betsy...you are so pretty!

Sue@House Pretty said...

Hi! I found you through your guest post! Very informative, thanks! Then I decided to stop on by, and the bling, oh, the bling! Old, and vintage, love, love, love!!! And, I just became your newest follower, yay! Would so appreciate if you would follow back! Again, love all the eye candy!

Peggy said...

You're right, they may be out of date, but they are so much fun to look at! It's easy to find something and say "oh, I remember that!" They are definitely worth looking out for.

Denise at PinkPostcard. said...

I just love all those old ads!!! crack up! One of my favorite books is "the Gallery of Regrettable Foods". It's a look at all the old post war cook books and recipes. I cry laughing so hard! The guy who wrote it does his own commentary through out and it's a hoot. anyway, thanks for sharing this. I also thoroughly enjoyed your post at Polka Dot Closet. Very insightful, and I agree!

Karen Bates said...

I had a good laugh at some of those photos. I have several of these old antique books and just keep them for references. It was great to make a meal for 4 in 1956 for $1 but the mayo would have been $25!