If you're buying a Christmas gift for a collector, you still have time. Terry Kovel suggests a "go-with." If you don't understand much about the collection of mechanical banks, paperweights, or toys prized by the collector on your gift list, here are some helpful ideas:
1. A small magnifying-glass pendant that can be worn on a chain will delight a collector looking at hallmarks on silver or identifying names on pottery. Many maker's marks are very small and often impossible to read in a dingy corner of a shop.
2. Does the collector on your list go to flea markets or shows that are far away? Think about a GPS device to help with directions, or an app that helps locate a car in a huge unmarked parking lot.
3. Everyone needs a small flashlight to closely examine antiques and collectibles. There are many small and very bright lights on the market, some that look like credit cards and some that are on a keychain. Both are small enough to keep handy in a pocket or purse.
4. Help a collector learn what's selling these days by giving a subscription to a collector newsletter like Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles or to one of the many collector newspapers, magazines, or newsletters published by a collector club and devoted to a special collection. Find many listed in the Kovels.com Directory.
5. Best of all, give the best-known book of prices for average collectors, Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide.
One last suggestion: Put a dollar bill in the package with any gift you give, along with a reminder that the bill makes a perfect 6-inch ruler.