Dick Johnson forwarded the following thoughts about Ralph Kovel, coauthor of the famous series of antique and collectible price guides. -EditorRalph M. Kovel had a life-long interest in antiques, and, along with wife Terry, turned that interest into a cottage industry of publishing articles and books on antique prices and ultimately into a career in TV broadcasting. This week that interest halted as the 88-year-old Kovel died.
The couple's first book, on porcelain and pottery marks, was published in 1953. They feared not to enter a field already filled with published antique price guides, but it was the nearly yearly series of the "Kovel's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide" that earned their reputation. From that they added additional closely related books on furniture, bottles, pewter, silver and silverplate.
In this capacity they compiled the one book of greatest interest to the numismatic field, a book on limited editions. Following the popularity of the Franklin Mint and numerous imitators who issued medals, ingots, bars, plates and similar objects in limited editions, it was only natural for them to gather the prices of these objects for their 1974 book, The Kovels' Collector's Guide to Limited Editions.
In addition to gathering price data from flea markets, dealers, advertisements, and numerous contributors, they also visited many of the firms that manufactured limited editions. In 1973 Terry Kovel visited Medallic Art Company for a day gathering the most reliable information at the source. (I mentioned this in a previous E-Sylum, vol 9, no 44, art 24, October 29, 2006.)
Ralph and Terry Kovel authored a weekly syndicated newspaper column "Kovels Antiques and Collecting," in 150 newspapers. The pair also produced several programs for public television, Discovery Channel and HGTV (Home and Garden Television Network) and won two Cleveland Emmys for their television work.
For the Kovels the Limited Editions was their eighth book. Next week their 97th book, their Antique Price Guide for 2009, will be released.
For the local story in the Cleveland paper, see: To read the complete article, see: Ralph M. Kovel, expert on antiques wrote, taught (http://www.cleveland.com/obituaries/index.ssf/2008/08/
To read Dick's earlier E-Sylum article mentioning the Kovels, see: A HALLOWEEN PENNY PUZZLE (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v09n44a24.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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