An instructive look at the ""people behind the objects"" in the collector's world--how they work, and how the amateur too could turn his passion into a profession. Elyse Sommer (The Textile Collector's Guide, 1978) examines all aspects of the antique and collectible trade, from the dealers and the ""pickers"" who hunt for them, to the restorers and appraisers, chronicling the careers of today's professionals to illustrate her general principles. After years of collecting furniture and bric-a-brac, John Cummins began to supply dealers with his ""pickin's""; business grew until Cummins decided to set up shop on his own. Jane MacNeil's personal antiques led her into buying for resale at a local fair and finally to selling to dealers on consignment. The lesson: begin modestly and build up as profits and experience allow. As you gain expertise, parlay your skills into appraising, restoring, and writing for the trade papers. Sommers counsels beginners to work part-time with dealers or auctioneers, offers an extensive reading list, and explains inventory turn-over, the need for good bookkeeping, and the importance of shop names. She doesn't make the world of Chippendale and vintage comics sound like a quick kill, but she does show what avid collectors can expect if they turn their mania into a job.