Any publication meant to serve as a resource for those interested in learning about or collecting a specific type of item is considered a collectors book. As long as people have been collecting, printed guides to popular items have been produced by a variety of sources, from major publishers to individual enthusiasts, detailing a particular subject’s history and common pricing. Many older, out-of-print guides are especially desirable because they contain images or information no longer covered in current publications.

By the late 19th and early 20th century, public interest in history and antique objects had grown enough to inspire a steady supply of text-heavy books on the subject, with titles like “Furniture of the Olden Time” or “The Practical Book of Chinaware.” Terry Kovel’s earliest price guide, “The Complete Antiques Price List” was printed in 1967, and became the first book to be compiled with the aid of emerging computer technology.

As printing machinery improved, collectors books incorporated full-color photographs instead of drawings, etchings, or textual descriptions of collectibles. Time-Life released its classic “Encyclopedia of Collectibles” in 1978, alphabetically covering the field in 16 volumes running from A to Z. The following year, Judith Miller published her first “Antiques Price Guide,” and has since expanded Miller’s Publications to a global brand, producing books on all major collectible categories. In the 1980s, the venerable Knopf publishing house began releasing its own series of “Collector’s Guides” covering everything from silver and pewter to toys and dolls.

Today, there are several prolific publishers, like Krause Publications, Schroeder’s, and Warman’s, who create in-depth collectible guides on disparate subjects ranging from jewelry to radios to tractors. Many provide minimal historical context, and focus instead on the details important to true collectors already versed in a subject, like an item’s production date, materials, and market price. While values in the real world may fluctuate wildly, these books are indispensable for collectors hoping to compile a reference library on their favorite collectible topics.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Want to do one quick search and pull up the mother lode of vintage books? Try Google Book Search, a database filled… [read review or visit site]

Bruce Black's gallery of paperback book covers from the 1940s and 50s. With help from numerous contributors, he's a… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Tiger Project Book Two: Schwere Panzer (tiger) Abteilung 505 - Schiffer - SuperbCollector's Guide To "tammy" Identification & Values Ideal Teen Soft Cover Book Army Group North: The Wehrmacht In Russia 1941-1945 - Schiffer - Excellent BookBeware The Thunderbolt! - The 56th Fighter Group In Wwii - Schiffer - Superb RefHard Rock Cafe Pin Collectors Guide First EditionJg54: A Photographic History Of The Grunherzjager - Schiffer - Fantastic Photos!Army Group Center: The Wehrmacht In Russia 1941-1945 - Schiffer - Excellent BookMesserschmitt Bf109 F, G & K Series An Illustrated Study - Schiffer - Excellent!Army Group South: The Wehrmacht In Russia 1941-1945 - Schiffer - Excellent BookCollectors! 1969 " Drag Racing Pictorial" #2! Mako Shark! Sox & Martin! Big JohnF Scott Fitzgerald This Side Of Paradise 1920 Hc Dj Sc Collectors First EditionLight Jagdpanzer - Spielberger, Doyle & Jentz - Schiffer - Really Superb Book!Operation Barbarossa In Photographs - Paul Carell - Schiffer - Scarce Classic!Panzer Truppen Vol.2: The Complete Guide To.. - Jentz - Schiffer - Superb QualiyVega Ventura: Operational History Of Lockheed’s Lucky Star - Schiffer - Superb!Attack & Conquer - The 8th Fighter Group In Ww Ii - Schiffer - Excellent Title!The 421st Night Fighter Squadron In Wwii - Jeff Kolln - Schiffer - Superb Book!Lockheed P-80 / F-80 Shooting Star: A Photo Chronicle - Schiffer - Fantastic PixThird In Line: 3rd Air Division Over Europe In Wwii - Mackay - Schiffer - SuperbHalftracked Vehicles Of German Army 1909-45 - Spielberger - Schiffer - Superb!Republic Thunderjet, Thunderstreak & Thunderflash: A Photo Chronicle - SchifferI'm The 82nd Airborne Division!: A History - Anzuoni - Schiffer - Outstanding!!Ho Slot Car Collector's Guide Cox Rokar Tyco-mattel Amrac Darda34 Shopkins, 1 Baskiet, 6 Shopping Bags Plus Shopkins List Collector's GuideThe Luftwaffe From Training School To The Front - Schiffer - Superb Book!Case Xx Classics Collectors BookEaston Press Leather Speaker For The Dead By Orson Scott Card & Collectors NotesLot Of 14 Vintage International Collectors Library BooksFranklin Mint Armour 2007 Catalog Die-cast Metal Aircraft Collector's Guide (jbErbookclub Collected 29 Book Collectors Ruscha Wil Van Iersel Abced PhotobookCollection Of Guild Publishing Collectors Books 1970/80s - Classic StoriesCollectors Book Of U S Quarters, 1946 To 1959 31 CoinsThe Hobbit By J. R. R. Tolkien ~ 1997 Boxed Hb Collectors BookCollectors! Vintage 1967! "hot Rod Pictorial" Issue #1! Back-up Pick-up!Vintage Jan. 1949 Hobbies Magazine For Collectors-occupational Shaving MugsEncyclopedia Of American Farm Implements & Antiques C.h. Wendell Machinery BookThe London Mystery Magazine .. Vol 1; Number 1; 1949 First Edition . CollectorsImperial Japanese Army Flying Schools 1912-1945 Schiffer LtdBoy Scouts Of America A Centennnial History Collectors Book W Cd Poster ReplicasVintage Hot Wheels Collectors' Book 1981 Catalog Of Cars From 1968-1981 MattelDigging Up Antiques Book By Edward FletcherNew! Antique Guns: A Collector's Guide By Steve Carpenteri [paperback] FirearmsVarious Classic Cars Magazines Lot Of 9 Racing Wheels Speedway CollectorsCollector's Guide To The Identification Of Colt Percussion AccoutrementsLot Of 4 International Collectors Library Decorative Books Lot Of 9 ~ Back Issues Country Collectibles Magazine ~ 1995, 1996, 1997 & 19981998 Mobil Collectors & Price Guide By Wayne Henderson & Scott Benjamin Sc1982 U.s. Open Golf Championship Collectibles & Memorabilia-pls. See The PhotosJanet Jackson Janet. 2 Disc Collectors BookCollectibles: The Greatest Historical Novels: The Robe 1984Antiques Interior Design & Decor Christie's Auction Catalogue Art Furniture RareLot Of 16 International Collectors Library Classics Decorative Bindings SetA Collector's Guide To German Ww2 Medals & Political Awards For Satellite StatesThe Standard Knife Collector's Guide, Very Comprehensive Guide To Many MakesThe Beatles: Set Of British Pop Rock Mini Cards-ready To Frame-collectors!!The Beatles: Set Of British Pop Rock Mini Cards-ready To Frame-collectors!! Nº2The Big Healeys - A Collector's Guide By Graham RobsonPotters In Paradise A Collector's Guide To Makers Marks Pottery Old Florida HbdjAntique Marcus Ward Great Thoughts Birthday Book Collectors Rare 1920'sAntique Reference Books 4 Volume Set Coca Cola Collectibles Goldstein