antique or vintage

Is This An Antique?

September 10, 2023
Is this an antique
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Every day my customers send me pictures of items that they would like to sell. Very often they will classify what they have as an “antique” this or that. Sometimes they are accurate and sometimes not so much. How do you know how to answer the question though: Is this an antique? Well, first we need to define some terms…

Is this antique
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Vintage Vs. Antique:

A By-The-Book and By-The-Bob Definition

Merriam Webster defines an antique as “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.” At Consignments Ltd. we try to stick to this by-the-book definition when assessing and pricing our offerings. We don’t say ” an antique (fill in the blank)” unless we are sure. On the other hand, you can have a vintage item, that is highly sought-after and collectible but is not an antique. You can consider an item vintage, according to antiques expert, Bob Vila “…if it is between 20 and 99 years old.” Just about covers all the rest, except…

retro is not vintage
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Retro… What the Heck Is That Then?

You know you’ve seen it in stores and at shows and fairs: “Retro.” So many items are described as “retro” of late, and at my shop we definitely sell our fair share of them. But what exactly does that adjective mean? Retro is something that has the look of an older, vintage or antique piece. But retro items are not old. They are just borrowing the style.

antique or vintage
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Why Is It Important To Understand If You Have an Antique

1. The Price You Pay and What It’s Worth

If you are purchasing an item at a consignment shop, like Consignments Ltd., or at an antique shop or fair, you’ll want to understand age because age and the classification of “antique.” This is because this will affect value and the price you pay. But beware, vintage items can be pricey as well. Good, true antiques hold their value. Good vintage items become antiques and eventually do the same. Retro items are going to take more time than most of us have to appreciate in value. You are buying them for the look, not the value and they should be priced accordingly.

2. It’s Also Important When Assessing Risk

Insurance is also a consideration for true antiques. Valuable antiques should be scheduled on your homeowners policy, so they are protected against loss to the level of their replacement value. If you know what you have you will insure it properly.

shopping for antiques
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Get Out There and Go Hunting

Interest in antiques and vintage items has surged over the last several years and prices are only going up. It’s still a great time to buy, however, as prices are still down from the highs of the 1980’s. So if you’re thinking about adding some antiques to your home, get thee to your local consignment, thrift or antique shop whilst prices are still somewhat reasonable. And make sure, if it says it’s an antique it truly is.

For more on this topic, check out my previous blogs: Brown Wood Furniture: Hot Interior Design Trend For 2023, How To Indentify 5 Common Types of Vintage Glassware and Hot Trend In Interior Design: Vintage.

Happy hunting, my friends. Marianne

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