As a designer, you are always looking for fresh sources of inspiration, it seems sometimes that I spend my life poring over magazines, looking for a fresh idea, or an interesting piece of furniture. The former is often easier to find than the latter, magazines are shot to create great images, not necessarily to totally document a project. So if it is great images of furniture, or artwork or rugs etc, I turn to Auction Catalogs. These guides have proven time and again to be amazing resources of information, they talk about style, what makes the piece unique, value and also give great images so you can clearly see the price and learn from the descriptions.
Catalogs are very easy to come by, regardless of the style you are interested in, whether it is European Antiques, American Pieces or even 20th Century Modern, you will find that some of the best examples of the style have gone under the auctioneers hammer. A lot of people who read this blog are not from the U.S. so don't have the option to attend some of the amazing auctions in New York at Christies or Sotheby's, but by visiting their websites regularly, you can order copies of past or upcoming auctions.
Here are a few sites that provide catalogs that you might want to visit: