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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Price It! An Antiques Database

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, December 30, 2007



The plastic library card in your pocket again has a new online product available to it at


Our library web site now provides access to "Price It!  Antiques & Collectibles," an online database for price searching.


Entering your library card number can access it; and as a library customer you can use the product online, just like checking out a book.


"Price It" has already done your research work.  It has searched various antiques auctions and sales, and found the prices paid for those items.


The online system has a search engine allowing the user to utilize keywords, categories, and prices to locate a comparable product.


It allows you to narrow a search, eliminating those 3 million hits you get on the Internet to just the usable information.


"Price It" also provides the user with articles about antiques and their pricing in a variety of categories from identification to restoration, glass to ceramics.


An interesting online article by Wayne Maddox outlines how to appraise an antique.


The artistry of an antique is important to its value, from form, materials, and color to their naivety and whimsical themes.


Workmanship impacts the value of an antique and can be a clue to its real age.


The age of an antique will determine if it fits into the proper age category for price.


Condition will determine if the antique will fetch "top dollar."  Refinishing, resurfacing, and restoration will establish its price.


Finally, subject matter will impact whether an antique is currently sought-after, or not.


There are also specific articles on antique candidates.  One article provides a background to Life Magazine.


The first Life Magazine appeared in January 1883, and featured cover art by the foremost illustrators of the period.


Today, the issues from 1883 to 1936 are valuable for their covers and the artwork.


Issues after November 13, 1936, the new oversized format were introduced for Life Magazine, which continued publication until 1971.


Those issues are valued by collectors only if they are complete, and in good condition.


Many post-1936 Life Magazines exist as people often treasured them, so only those in mint condition command top dollar.


While this online database is great, you will still want to research using the countless antique books in our library collections.


Those print sources will provide in-depth backgrounds to companies and products that created today's antiques.


In addition, the collections of the 73 libraries in our system will provide resources for other antiques and products manufactured by various companies.


So, if you haven't checked the library's online and print resources, make it a resolution for the New Year!