Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
The A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets, 2004
“Are the suggested prices in your two trivet books still accurate?” I get asked this quite often, and it’s a valid question. Let me explain.
The publisher of both of my trivet books was Collector Books of Paducah, Kentucky. It wasn’t my decision to include prices; authors were instructed to include current values along with their images and descriptions. Collector Books announced their closure in 2010; The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets was among their last titles. I could never have afforded to self-publish these two books, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bill Schroeder and Collector Books for the opportunity.
So yes, the values quoted in each of my books were accurate at the time of publication. How did I determine those suggested prices?
● The prices of items I observed being sold in physical stores.
● Prices realized on eBay and other online auction sites.
● What I and other advanced collectors felt was fair and reasonable.
● What I personally paid for trivets.
The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets, 2010
For good or bad, by 2000 eBay had surpassed the antique store/mall as the favored destination to search for trivets. The eBay IDs of buyers and sellers in those days were recognizable and catchy, like junkyard_john (fellow trivet collector John Lidgard, who passed away in 2011) or tornado-lynn (which is still my eBay ID). That, plus eBay’s service commitment to collectors and sellers alike, made the online experience fun and rewarding.
Those were exciting years on eBay, with bidders closely monitoring their active auctions and manually increasing their bids. It wasn’t unusual to observe a bidding war in progress, with desirable trivets often ending in the $150 to $300+ range after a frenzy of last minute bidding. Don’t believe me? Check out the notations below. Those prices were not outliers; they were typical of prices realized during the years 2005-2010. The economy was healthy, purchases were considered an investment, and demand exceeded supply. It was a seller’s market!
A Collector’s Guide To Trivets & Stands, p. 147, with my notations.
The recession of 2008-2009 affected both the financial and collecting worlds. Sadly, values for antiques and collectibles have never returned to pre-recession prices. And now, with a worldwide pandemic and economic slowdowns in progress, we’re likely to see values stagnate or potentially drop even further.
Having said all this, the rarest, most unusual, and highest quality specimens of irons, trivets and sadiron stands have always held their value and, in my opinion, will continue to. But the bulk of the less unusual or ordinary irons and trivets sell today for 50% or less of the values quoted in my books. That’s no judgement on their appeal or collectibility; it simply reflects a buying public’s wariness about investing in a down market.
So when referencing my two books, or any other price guides, images and descriptions remain useful but prices most likely are inaccurate. If you’re considering buying or selling, eBay and LiveAuctioneers are among the best high volume selling venues to research prices realized for irons and trivets.
Here are four comments on this blog post from my Facebook group The Trivet Collectors Network.
● Unfortunately, a lot of sellers point to the values in these books and treat them as Gospel. Same happens with the red and blue books of the cast iron cookware world. I use the books as mainly reference material for identification and age.
● Thanks for saying that. I’ve wondered and Lynn has even said that the internet changed collecting.
● The internet exposed how incorrect the term “rare” is. Sure, it might be rare in my area but now I can search worldwide and see that there are many, many more out there.
● Prices depends on a lot of factors, so many I’m not going to list them.
My reply: You are all right. Most publishing contracts specified that the author must provide suggested prices. We (authors) would have preferred not to, knowing that prices would vary over time. And yes, the Internet changed collecting forever! It brought the world into our homes and made almost any collectible attainable. And one of the main determinants of value is condition, something many sellers are not prepared to evaluate.