Kovels Antiques, Inc
Kovels.com founders, Ralph and Terry Kovel (rhymes with "oh well") were first bitten by the antiques bug when they tried to furnish their first apartment on a budget. They bought porcelains at house sales and tried to decipher the marks on the bottom of each piece. The only available reference books were written for experts and were of little help. Ralph put together a list of the marks and makers they had discovered. The small list grew to the Dictionary of Marks - Pottery & Porcelain: 1650-1850, now in its 42nd printing.
"Neither of us was trained in art, antiques or writing," Terry remembers. "We came from nowheresville as far as the experts are concerned. Maybe that's why we can write what we write, because we think like beginners and write in plain language."
The Kovels took up the hobby with a passion. Their research led to a newspaper column in The Cleveland Press. Then, their weekly column was syndicated nationally. It is distributed today by King Features Syndicate. The column appears in more than 150 newspapers nationwide.
The Kovels first book was Kovels' Dictionary of Marks - Pottery & Porcelain: 1650-1850. They wrote Kovels' Know Your Antiques in 1967 and began their series of annual price books in 1968 with The Complete Antiques Price List. Now titled Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, the best-selling price book has sold more than 4 million copies since its first edition. Recent books include the 13th edition of Kovels' Bottles Price Guide, Kovels' Advertising Price List, Kovels' Depression Glass & Dinnerware Price List, 8th edition, Kovels' American Antiques 1750-1900 and Kovels' American Collectibles 1900-2000.
Kovels' books have had the distinction of being mentioned in an Elmore Leonard murder mystery, used by a character from the Northern Exposure TV series and pictured on Oprah Winfrey's desk. Publisher's Clearinghouse offered a shopping trip with Ralph and Terry as a prize. The Kovels have testified as expert witnesses in court cases and they have been quoted extensively in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Boardroom Reports and other papers. They have even been featured as an answer on the TV game show Jeopardy. They wrote the collectibles section for the Encyclopedia Britannica.
In addition to writing their newspaper column and 102 books, since 1974 the Kovels have published a national subscription-only newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, that has more than 100,000 subscribers. Recently the newsletter has gone digital and is available online with a Kovels.com Premium Subscription. They have also written articles for Forbes, House Beautiful, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, Town and Country, Giftware News and a host of other publications. The Kovels have appeared on many television talk shows. Their first TV series, Know Your Antiques, appeared on public television stations in more than 100 cities. They also did 26 Collector's Journal with Ralph and Terry Kovelshows for the Discovery Channel. The 78 weeks of Kovels' award-winning television show Flea Market Finds with the Kovels aired on HGTV (Home and Garden Television).
As you would suspect, the Kovels are avid collectors of all types of antiques, from a full "country store" filled with bottles, boxes and ads; to art pottery, silver and printed textiles; to Holt-Howard ceramics.