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Author Topic:   books

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 01-02-2008 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the books for beginners (The SSF Library Project needs your help!!) thread in the General Silver forum. I look forward to chasing down some of the recommendations there this winter.

A question, addressed primarily to those who recommend the Kovels' American Silver Marks 1650 to the Present: What does it offer that Rainwater's Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers does not?

The local library had Noel Turner's flatware book, which to me is the single most useful all-in-one volume imaginable; I'd make it my top recommendation to any beginner (particularly now that there are so many good photo images on the web for a better look at patterns). The Rainwater book was also indispensable. But, having it, I found the Kovels' book next to useless. What was I missing?

What I'd like to read next is something that focuses on hollow ware over time. There seem to be several good choices, increasing the chances of locating one. I'll also be ordering some back issues of Silver Magazine.

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Posts: 2124
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 01-02-2008 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The revised fourth edition of Rainwater and Redfield is an excellent book with original research by the authors. The fifth edition is not as good to my thinking as it appears to leave out the contribution of Redfield. Perhaps copyright ownership played a part in this as someone else is listed as a co-author in the fifth edition.

Kovels' book covers a larger time period than Rainwater and Redfield, but does not have any original research. It appears to be a compilation of what other authors have researched and it simply repeats what others have said. As a result it contains quite a few errors. That said, I find Kovel useful and a good book to annotate as one finds better research.

Both are inexpensive and I believe should be in your library.

[This message has been edited by ahwt (edited 01-02-2008).]

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Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 01-03-2008 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Turner's book is wonderful, but ellabee, try to find a copy of Silver in America by Charles Venable. It is a terrific read, and the pictures will take your breath away! If your library doesn't have a copy, try an interlibrary loan.

After I checked it out 4 or 5 times, I realized I needed my own copy.

[This message has been edited by rian (edited 01-03-2008).]

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 01-03-2008 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just saw your post. Kovels seems to get some recommendations with reservation. I gave my copy away years ago as there are more than a few errors. In addition to the errors the marks are line drawings. Line drawings are subject to any number of flaws as some marks are similar. Even if not similar the visual sighting of an actual mark is far more useful. As the saying goes, save your money for the best. Invest in the best references and save all that anguish when you realize - O' my gosh, that is not the mark I thought it was. Clarification - the better, and more expensive, references almost always have photos of the actual mark versus line drawings. Happy hunting.

[This message has been edited by argentum1 (edited 01-03-2008).]

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Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 01-03-2008 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that recommendation, Rian. Will move it to the top of the list.

I do want to get my own copy of the Rainwater 4th edition, as I can see it would be handy forever. And I'm already planning to make the Martins' book my birthday present to myself, because I agree that nothing is as helpful as photos.

But I don't have the money or inclination to become any kind of serious collector. For now, and for the foreseeable future, I'm a knowledge collector -- and will be relying on inter-library loan rather than book buying.

I'd welcome any other suggestions like Rian's -- books that stoked the flames of your passion for silver!

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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-03-2008 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See this thread ( Books: questions, mentions and reviews.) for more forum discussions and opinions about silver books.

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Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 01-04-2008 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a note to say how much I'm enjoying Martha Gandy Fales' Early American Silver for the Cautious Collector. It's exactly what I needed, full of information and with many, many excellent pictures illustrating points in the text.

The quality and sophistication of some of the earliest pieces illustrated is instructive; nothing 'frontier' about the houses of the elite in Boston, even before 1700...

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