Price guides for any type of collectables seems to draw both criticism and controversy in equal measure. Some dealers bemoan the fact that Joe Public will use the printed prices as a means of pricing up the items they want to sell. On the other hand, a printed price does give some idea of value - especially if it is a category or item you know little about. In the UK, collectables price guides are available in High Street bookshops. Check them out and you will find just two companies dominate the market - Lyles and Millers. I checked out a copy of Millers Collectables Price Guides for 1996/1997 and found the following prices for bottles and bygones ;
Guinness Barrel Ashtray - £38-£45
Johnnie Walker Black Label water jug - £18-£20
Heineken Dutchman advertising figure £50-£60
Blackglass sealed bottle - Thomas Gerrard Gibbstown - £75-£85
Slab sealed flagon - Halls Oxford Brewery, Swan Brewery Oxford - £40-45
Transfer printed ginger beers £10-£15 each (only one pictorial in view !) PRICEY !!
In general I thought the prices were definitely over the top. Who has provided the information on prices ? Well, Below Stairs (BS) of 103 High Street, Hungerford rates a plain ordinary GB as highly as £10, while Patricia Harbottle (HAR) of Geoffrey Vann Arcade, Portobello Raod, London rates the Irish sealed bottle quite highly. I found no names of well known national dealers amongst the lists. In short, you could probably find all of these items at a lower price at most UK bottle fairs. I personally think price guides are fine if you use them as a guide to what is available but take the prices with a pinch of salt.Some items are now becoming so scarce that no wise person would try to put a price on them. How much am I bid for a fine example of a cobalt blue Gilbertson's wedge poison A definite plus for this book are the illustrations - over 6,000 of them and some in colour
Millers Collectables Price Guide is available in most UK bookshops. For those unable to find it here is the address of the publisher ;
Millers Publications Ltd.