If you’re curious about the history or value of some of your antique furniture, vintage toys, or just old stuff, the library has quite a few resources that can help.
Every year we get updated copies of price guides for coins and money, stamps, sports cards, and other collectibles. There are encyclopedias and picture guides for almost every subject too – toys to cigars to watches to clothing. Most of these are in the non-fiction shelves downstairs, and the Reference staff is happy to help you locate the right book.
Chelmsford residents also have access to an online antique pricing resource called P4A Antiques Reference (P4A stands for “Price For Antiques”) – it’s a quick way to check how much an antique might be worth, based on what similar pieces have sold at recent auctions.
The focus is on collectibles and historic Americana, including furniture, china, glassware, folkart, brass, silver, iron, artwork, and major antique collectibles, with complete information on when, where, and for what price the antique was sold. The database will also provide a little background information on each item, including date, maker, etc, based on the information that was provided at the auction.
Because antiques are described differently by different people, don’t give up after your first search. Try describing your piece in various ways, and also try the country of origin, material used, and maker, if possible.