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    

Lot Of 22 Volume Set International Collectors Library Classics Gilted EmbossedThe Montblanc Diary & Collector's Guide By Jens Rosler Fountain Pen PhotosCollecting Costume Jewelry 303 - 2009 No Reserve(7) Panzer Divisions Of The Waffen-ss New A Schiffer Military History Schiffer Publication Lot Of 4, Puma. Sturmgeschutz 40, Marder Iii, JagdpanzerClocks - Renovating Clocks /restoring Clocks & Old Vintage Antiques Schiffer Publication, Lot Of 4, Ar 240, Me 231/323, German Heavy Bombers, Bf 110Zippo / Wwii ~~~ 4 Lighter Collectors Book"just After Sunset" Hard Cover By Stephen King - New - Collectors Set !(6) Belgians In The Waffen-ss New A Schiffer Military History Book (9) Latvians In The Ordnungspolizei & Waffen-ss New A Schiffer MilitaryCollector's Guide To Antique Fishing Lure Colors Old Fishing Lure ReferenceLot (10) Schiffer Military History Collectible Armor War History Books Mint RareEleven Of Twelve, 2000 Victoria Magazines, Vintage Antiques Victorian Style HomeBook: Collectors Guide To The Nazi Party Awards & Collectibles - Medals BadgesLot (7) Schiffer Military/aviation History Rare Green Books Mint - Free ShippingAntique American Switchblades Book Switch Blade Knife History Id CollectingLot (5) Schiffer Military History Collectible Luftwaffe Profile War Books MintGone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell. International Collectors Library Book: Collector’s Guide To Battery Toys,by Don Hultzman/battery Operated ToysLot Of 13 Different International Collectors Library Books!Crossing The Threshold Of Hope Pope John Paul Ii Easton Press Collectors Ed.Fishing Lure Collectibles : An Identification And Value Guide To Antique LuresInternational Collectors Library Meditations Marcus Aurelius Dawn & Her World A Collector's Guide ~ Joedi JohnsonSafety Razors A Price Guide Book Id Collectors Shaving Barber VintageGoebel Salt & Pepper Shakers Mchugh First Edition Collectors Book Guide 1992 1993 Collector's Guide To Selecting Vintage Buttons Nancy Fink Color PhotosBook: 1998 An Unauthorized Guide To Godzilla CollectiblesZippo Lighter Collectors GuideBeckett Almanac Of Baseball Cards And Collectibles 15th Edition Ken Griffey Jr.Lot 10 International Collectors Library Mint Silver Chalice, Razors Edge, MoreVol. 2 & 3 Inside The Jewelry Box Collectors Guide Costume Jewelry I.d. & ValuesRare Bmw Z3 Collectors BookLot 5 International Collectors Library Mint Lust For Life John Browns Body MoreCollecting Case Knives : Identification And Price Guide By Steven Pfeiffer...Lot (5) Schiffer Military History Collectible Warships War History Books MintOil Company Signs Collectors Guide-standard Oil First 125 Years-firestone-gas Collector's Guide To Horsman Dolls & Effanbee Dolls That Touch Your Heart Books1941 Buttons Button Collecting Antiquarian Book Vintage Reference Pictures OldTen Of Twelve, 1999 Victoria Magazines, Vintage Antiques Victorian Style HomeZippo Lighters Collector Tin George Blaisdel With Collectors Guide *no LightersLionel A Collector's Guide And History Volume Ii Postwar Train Book * Rare " Betsy Mccall Collector's Guide " Book By : Marci Van Ausdall 2 Vol Red Book The Collector's Guide To Old Fruit Jars,douglas M Leybourne JrSchiffer Book: Crusader. By Paul Gillcrist. Vought F-8 CrusaderInside The Jewelry Box Vol 3 By Pitmen, Collector's Guide To Costume JewelryClassic Soda Machines - A Field Reference & Price Guide By Jeff Walters AntiquesSchiffer Junkers Ju-86 & Wudawnictwo Miilitaria Vol 142 Ju-861963 Tomkat Men's Adult Magazine Vol. 1 No. 6 Nudes Girlie Pin-ups Collectors EdGone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell - International Collectors LibraryCarol Nakamura + Hot Girls Sexy Magazine Brazil Collectors Ed Jan 2012 Sealed Storage Solutions 2015 By Country Collectibles Big Double Issue! Retails $9.95Bound Bulletin Of The Paperweight Collectors Association June 1956Gun Collector's Guide Antique Gun Collecting 1954 1st Ed 128 Pages + Dictionary.Bound Bulletin Of The Paperweight Collectors Association November 1955Wildfowl Carving And Collecting Magazines 1991 (2 Editions)The Complete Guide To Collecting Tomy Ho Scale Slot Cars By Robert BudanoVintage Hummel Goebel Collectors' Club Insights 1977 News & Hummel CalendersCollectors Guide To Thimbles By Bridget Mcconnel (1990, Hardcover)