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the daughter of a well-to-do fami-
ly; he, an entrepreneur and
salesman who had dropped out of
Ohio State University.
They both liked antiques. But
"when we first started collecting,
as newlyweds," Terry says, "we
were considered eccentric. We
would go to auctions and shows
and be the youngest there.
Everyone else was at least 90
But the Kovels' timing, without
their knowing it, was on target. The
"antiques explosion," as another
article called it, was just getting
There are two types of
collectors. The first
valuables"; the second,
what they enjoy.
as a reaction to the
sterile design and poor quality of
mass produced goods, and also
as a desire to own something of
Terry says, "My father couldn't
understand why anyone would
buy 'old' furniture if they could
afford new. But it's roots — a feel-
ing of going back to your roots, of
having something from your an-
The Kovels started by collecting
porcelain. Most antique porcelain
have marks on the bottom identi-
fying factory and date; from the
marks, collectors can determine
the value. The only book then
available listed the identifying
marks in a hard-to-read manner.
Using their own collection as a
basis, the Kovels produced their
first book, Dictionary Of Marks,
which listed the marks in a more
convenient way and which has
since become a bible of the
What is an antique? According
to Ralph, "The U.S. Government
set the standard when, in order to
be duty free, it said an antique
must be at least 100 years old."