Staff Pick

Everything you want to know about antiques

Updated: 2013-08-11T00:49:22Z

By Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian

The Kansas City Star

Everything you need to know about antiques

As much as I admire antiques, I know almost nothing about them. But I felt a smidge smarter when the latest edition of Miller’s Antiques Encyclopedia ($50, Octopus Publishing) landed on my desk.

I can now inform everyone I meet that cooks and confectioners molded small, detailed figurines in sugar, wax or gum before the German company Meissen began to render them in porcelain during the 1730s.

I’ll be able to enthrall people at cocktail parties with historical tidbits such as how the British Parliament taxed clocks hanging in taverns for about nine months in 1797. And those who own bachelor’s chest will soon learn that the popular design was usurped by the more fashionable French commode during the mid-18th century.

The encyclopedia encompasses changes in the market since the 2008 edition. It covers a wide swath, ranging from Gothic sofas to 20th century Barbie dolls. According to Octopus Publishing, while it’s “indispensable to industry professionals and collectors, it is also accessible to beginners.” I’d agree with that.

To reach Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian, House + Home editor, call 816-234-4780 or send email to

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