Newsletter gives good advice on collectibles

Newsletter gives good advice on collectibles

I always enjoy my Kovels newsletter. After 40 years of publication, its January edition contained a lot of viewpoints that I agree with wholeheartedly.

Among bad collectibles investments over the past 25 years have been Jim Beam figural bottles, Beanie Babies and Avon bottles. Add to those Hummel and Royal Dalton figurines and limited edition and commemorative plates. After 1950, almost all of these were overproduced — thereby destroying the market.

Terry Kovel has carried on after her husband Ralph's death. She has written a diary, "How to Settle a Collector's Estate," that you can buy for $19.95 plus $4.95 for shipping and handling at or via mail at Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

My experience makes me agree with most of her observations, including that men's clothing does not sell well; other things that are hard to sell are sets of dishes and china, plates, silverware and pianos.

She also says that when closing an estate, you should not attend the sale or auction where your stuff is being sold as it will probably bring too many memories. I will nod to that: You will be disappointed at what is paid for your items.

The January issue also implies that cast iron mechanical banks, Queen Anne furniture, old medicine bottles and vintage hooked rugs are popular now and are selling well. Kovel also points out that pie tins have been replaced with heavy tin foil, so the old tins — especially those with the raised names on the bottom — are becoming highly collectible.

Terry states that 19th- and early 20th-century Japanese porcelains have really dropped in popularity in the last few years.

Reworked jewelry is getting popular as it mixes old with new: adding coins and charms to costume jewelry or dismantling antique pieces to combine and make larger pins, bracelets or neck pieces. A number of artists and craftsmen have turned to this trade of reworking or changed the design of jewelry in the last few years, and it has been accepted by the collectible and antique community.

Majolica, tintypes and Kirk silver were popular purchases in 2013 and are expected to sell well this year, but all buyers are advised to keep their eyes open for reproductions. Remember: If it is popular and selling well, its chances of being reproduced are high.

Good antiquing!

Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be sent to Swisher by writing to The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-677 or emailing

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