What do taxidermy, the Olympics, and Queen Elizabeth II have in common? Sure, you’ll find them all in London this summer, but these disparate cultural touchstones are, according to British antiques guru Judith Miller, also burning up the current collectibles market. Miller has flagged each of them, along with Beswick ceramics, paperweights, and 20th-century design as this year’s hot items in Collectibles Handbook 2012-2013, her latest guide to the ever-changing world of antiques treasure hunting.
Written in collaboration with Mark Hill, Miller has produced another invaluable resource for anyone trying to navigate the world of collecting. Broken down into sections such as character collectibles, vintage fashion, and the aforementioned taxidermy – a shocking, new trend at the moment – she has included more than 4,000 items, all gracefully displayed and annotated in the full color pages.
The highlights by far, though, are “Judith Picks” and “Mark Picks.” These call-outs scattered throughout the tome have the antiques sage and her collectibles specialist taking a closer look at objects they find particularly remarkable. With a spotlight on Royal memorabilia, for example, Miller describes a Paragon 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation cup (Page 308) as being “one of the pieces at ‘the top of the three’ of Royal memorabilia.” With its elegant bone and china features and golden lion handles, these cups were produced in limited editions and can prove to be a difficult find. Larger cups, the most rare and desirable, have an estimated price tag of $500 to $700.
Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a novice of the trade, Miller provides a thoroughly detailed – and entertaining – reference. It won’t help sort the 400-meter freestyle from the shot put, but it sure will be useful on Portobello Road.
Collectibles Handbook 2012-2013; Miller’s, a division of Mitchell Beazley, imprints of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd; $27.99, soft cover.
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Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
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