Here is my annual roundup of book selections for the antiques guru, history lover or architecture fan on your holiday gift list. I’ve also added some other ideas that act as perfect presents:
Have you ever wanted to live in a castle replete with a tower, or pass time in a cozy Hansel and Gretel cottage? “Storybook Style: American Whimsical Homes of the 1920s” (Arrol Gellner and Douglas Keister, Schiffer, 176 pages, $34.99) features pictures of residences some of us thought existed only at amusement parks — think Disneyland — or on movie lots. I don’t think I have ever turned the pages of a book with such delight
There are many price guides on the market, but the one often referred to as the industry bible is Judith Miller’s “Antiques Handbook and Price Guide: 2018-2019″ (Miller’s, 600 pages, $45). The hardback has over 8,000 photographs with descriptions and auction price ranges, and it’s peppered with in-depth features called “Closer Look” and “Judith’s Picks.”
Michael A. and Marla K. McLeod’s paperback, “This Day in Collecting History” (Schiffer, 272 pages. $24.99), is packed with a month-by-month cache of information — the kind we collectors and historians relish. Learn how much Jimmy Cagney’s suit from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” earned at auction, and the date Action Comics introduced Superman. This would make a terrific stocking stuffer.
Bay Area author Heather M. David takes us on a journey down Memory Lane with her latest splendidly colorful treatise “Motel California: A Pictorial History of the Motel in the Golden State” (CalMod Books, 184 pages, $45). Among the scores of photos are motels with tropical or seaside themes, beckoning swimming pools and signs promising free TV in every room. You may acquire the book at the Antiques Colony in San Jose or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gift shop.
The phrase “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” has been attributed to various folks, but there is no doubt that Victoria Ocken’s “Vintage Trailer Voyeur: A Peek Inside the Unique Custom Trailer Culture” (Schiffer, 208 pages, $34.99) will make scads of enthusiasts yearn for another era. Many of the 300 photographs were filled with retro furnishings that conjure up thoughts of simpler times. Remember chenille bedspreads, tin kitchen canisters and coffee percolators?
“Miller’s Antiques Encyclopedia” with general editor Judith Miller (Miller’s, 592 pages, $55) is a reference work every library should have. The weighty book is a source for data in nearly every category in the field of the decorative arts. The silver and porcelain heirlooms illustrated, in particular, made this collector giddy. This is the fifth edition in a series started in the late 1990s.
If one of these books won’t do as a token of friendship, consider an annual membership in a local antiques club. One I recommend is the Glass and Decorative Arts Club of Garden House Los Altos. The group meets about eight times a year and features a field trip, or guest speaker at the monthly meeting. It’s a delightful way to meet those who share your passion. Details: Donna Drako at 650-996-1964.
Honor a friend with a yearly membership to a historical society or community museum. These institutions are located around the Bay Area from Walnut Creek, Concord, Hayward and Pleasanton in the East Bay to Gilroy and Morgan Hill in the South Bay and across the Peninsula. They need your help to survive. If need be, write to me for a suggestion.
And if you want to give a unique gift, make someone a lucky recipient of a trip to an antiques show. In a card detail how you will drive, pay admission and treat the recipient to lunch. Idea: St. Christopher Church in San Jose will hold its yearly show and sale Jan. 26, 27 and 28.
For a present that doesn’t cost money, do what my friend Dan did one year. He gave me a handwritten note saying he’d perform a task few of us enjoy — polish my tarnished silver. I provided the cleaner and sandwiches, and he made those pieces gleam. I was tickled pink.
Contact Yvaska at [email protected]
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