When I started this “business” I really got excited about so called price guides. I thought that they were like manufacturers cost books. Not hardly. The first reason a price guide is written, is for the author to establish they are some sort of expert. The prices for the most part are only a guess. The real value of an item is what you can sell it for. Price guides can be useful for learning about various topics of collectibles. The photos are important. If the author has described the items, and listed correct model numbers or names of items it is invaluable. If the writer goes further, and lists the variations, and tips, and warnings, then they are in fact experts, and the reference is important. Pricing changes and fluctuates often. Ebay and other online venues have been a major engine of change for all antiques and collectibles. Amazon, and other bookselling sites have rocked the bookstore business irreversibly. Even if you look at past auctions on ebay, you only get a very recent window of pricing history. There are tools such as Terrapeak and others, that can give you longer history information, but there is a price for this information.
What I like to do, is keep a collectibles journal. It’s nothing more than a small address booklet with letter tabs. I save a favorite search on many of the items I either wish to buy, or want history on. As an item comes up on auction, and I am notified, I “watch” the item. The closing bid amount is in my “watched items” list in My Ebay, and is kept there for as long as I wish. Once in a while, I will transfer the closing bid prices on these favorite searches, into my index, by brand and part number, etc. As more items come up for bid, I keep the journal going, until I have a REAL PRICE GUIDE. this is now a pocket sized spotter’s list for when I go picking for things. I am now the expert.