Antiques and Collectables
Judith Miller

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FAQs

Find out more about the Miller's website, as well learning more about antiques and collectibles in our 'FAQ' resource. Check out the menu on the left for more in-depth information about specific subjects.

When will the next editions of the Antiques Handbook & Price Guide and the Collectibles Handbook be available?
The 2012-2013 editions of Miller's price guides will be available from the following dates:

  • Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide: 5th September 2011
  • Miller's Collectibles Price Guide: 1st March 2012

Can you recommend a good book to start out with?
Depending on what you want to collect, a copy of the latest Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide or the Miller’s Collectibles Handbook is an excellent start. For more in depth information, try the Miller’s Encyclopedia of Antiques & Collectibles. If you’re looking for a pocket-sized guide to carry around with you, try the Miller’s Antiques & Collectibles Fact Book. All are available now by clicking on ‘Books’ in the menu bar above.

How do I use your site?
First, register to become a member of the Miller’s Club by clicking on the link at the top of the page. Membership is free, and you’ll find plenty to entertain and interest you, whether you’re a new collector or a seasoned connoisseur. Also read through the 'Tips For Using This Site' page, accessed from the menu bar to the left, to learn how to get the most from our website.

What makes Miller’s different?
We try to make the often complex world of antiques and collectibles accessible and understandable. We want to empower you to buy, sell and collect confidently. To do this, Miller’s website combines informative and approachable articles and videos with a fully illustrated catalog of antiques and collectibles, each with its own price range.

Can you help me understand some of the specialist terms used?
The Miller's team aims to keep use of specialist terms to a minimum, but uses the most commonly found ones as you'll encounter these frequently. If you come across a term, or a designer or factory name, that you want to know the meaning of, or more about, then become a Miller's member to consult our free, comprehensive illustrated Dictionary of Antiques & Collectibles by clicking here.

How do I start buying or selling?
Read our practical introductions, found on the menu to the left. These give advice on both buying and selling at auction, with dealers, and online.

What does the 'value' or 'price guide' mean in your Catalog?
This is a general guide based on the selling price of that particular object at auction, or the ticket price of that item in a dealer's store. It is an indication of the sort of price that you are likely to have to pay for a similar item. The great joy about antiques and collectibles is that there are no recommended retail prices.

What do the names after the price guides in your Catalog mean?
These are the names of the dealers, auctioneers or private collectors who contribute information to Miller's. Every item shown in the 'Catalog' has been specially photographed. We select all contributors ourselves to ensure that you receive accurate, useful and up-to-date information across the market. You can contact and found out more about our contributors by searching for them in the 'Dealers & Auctioneers' section of the site.

What makes something valuable?
A number of factors contribute to make something valuable. The simplest way of thinking is to bear the ‘C.A.R.D.’ principle in mind:

  • C - Condition. An item in excellent condition will always be worth more than one in bad condition.
  • A – Age. Antiques are typically over 100 years old, but this doesn’t always mean something old will be valuable. A glass vase made last year may be worth more than a Roman glass bottle.
  • R – Rarity. Rare items can be valuable. However, see ‘Desirability’.
  • DDesirability. This relates to supply and demand. If an item is desirable to a large number of people it is more likely to be worth more, particularly if demand oustrips supply.

Are bargains still out there?
Yes! Thousands of discoveries are made every year. An item may have been badly described, or simply lie unrecognised on a shelf. Sometimes the right buyers may not come to an auction or show, meaning that something sells for less than it should. Building up an in-depth knowledge of your chosen subject area is vital in helping you spot these.

What should I invest in?
The greatest rule about collecting is that you must buy what you like. Although you will no doubt have some interest in the financial value of your collection, this should be seen only as a bonus. Just like any market, fashions and tastes change over time. This means that something that is not valuable now may become so in the future, and vice versa.

How do I recognise a fake?
This isn’t always easy. Experts with years of experience can still get caught out. Arm yourself by doing research, using books and by reading articles and viewing videos on this website. Also handle as many pieces as possible – both authentic examples and fakes.

Does condition matter?
Yes, it does. Something in excellent condition will always be worth more than something in poor condition. Collectors and the antiques trade use terms to describe different levels of condition. Find out more in ‘Definitions’ on the menu on the left. Also view our videos and read articles for tips and tricks. For example, a restored part of a ceramic vase may feel warmer than the rest when held to your lips.

What’s the best advice you can give me?
Firstly, get out there and learn about the objects you want to collect. Read articles on our site and look at examples in our Catalog. Visit dealers’ stores and auction houses to see examples first hand, and carefully handle them. It’s also a good idea to make friends with a dealer or auction house specialist, as they can help you build your collection – and your knowledge.