Dear Lee,

The Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2019, our 51st annual price book, arrived last week. It looks amazing! The cover background is black – remember that when you go to the bookstore for a copy. The rainbow border is gone as we changed the book to a more modern, uncluttered look. New are the thousands of actual asked-for prices from the past year and 2,500 color pictures of pieces that sold.

There’s also new help for those looking for dates and history. (For sellers, that’s information that adds to the price.) This year we have included hundreds of extra marks that are pictured with the date right below the category paragraphs. And there is a special section listing the year’s record prices. Did you know Paul Newman’s Rolex sold for $17,752,500? And a piece of Fiesta pottery sold for over $20,000? We even included our comments on “what’s hot and what’s not” this year and perhaps next, and what government laws will make buying, selling or donating antiques more difficult and sometimes impossible. Of course, there is a full index and we have included information on each picture, where the antique was sold and how to reach the auction house.

I was thinking about Christmas gifts, so I looked through our new Kovels’ book to see what kind of dreamed-about gift I might have found for myself. How about a Deco Sparton Bluebird mirrored radio, $2,250? Or a Gallé pottery cat figurine like the one I first heard about in an abnormal psych class at college (yes, the artist had problems), $1,750? Maybe an iron cowboy with lasso lawn sprinkler, $1,430? Or the famous error – a Staffordshire figure, c.1810, that looks like Benjamin Franklin but is labeled George Washington, $780? And how can I forget the “one that got away” – a Martinware bird humidor that would probably sell today for $20,000? I tried to buy one long ago when it was about $1,000 and people thought they were “creepy.” We decided it was too expensive for an unknown piece of art pottery, so we kept looking for one that cost less. Looks like we should have taken the first one.