How old is something considered an antique?
When we are exploring the world of antiques, we may not always understand what the definition really implies or how old something actually has to be to be considered vintage or an antique. When you shop vintage shops, it is important to understand how old something is and what makes it old enough to be an antique.
The term antique is used pretty loosely. For example, a teenager may see an item from the 1980s as an “antique” while someone older may consider the same item as something they had during their teenage years and doesn’t consider it antique or even vintage. However, the official definition of an “antique” is considered to be an item with at least 100 years of age behind them. This means that each year more objects grow older and fit into that timeframe. Even so, this can still stir a bit of controversy among antique dealers and experts in the field.
Why the differing opinions?
You can ask a handful of antique experts what they think an antique is and you will get a bunch of different answers. When asked what an antique is, some experts look more at design and style when considering an object to be antique. They will see antiques as objects of the highest quality. This opinion, however, leaves out a lot of objects that, while not necessarily masterpieces, are in fact antique because of their age.
Other experts view items made prior to 1920 as antiques and new pieces as “collectibles.” This view is widely followed by those who trade antiques and vintage goods.
How should you describe items you are selling?
Even experts make mistakes once in a while when they are describing their antique items. They may get the year wrong and the item is in fact, not an antique. But it is very important to get your facts straight to the best of your ability. Identifying an item that is obviously less than 100 years old makes buyers wary of you. It can make you look very dishonest at what you are selling.
If an object is newer than 100 years old, you can describe it as a collectible or even vintage (a term used quite often with clothing and jewelry). However, if you do feel an item is over 100 years old, make sure you are certain before you describe it that way. You will do yourself and your buyers a favor by getting it right. Customers will come back to you if they trust you are selling legitimate antiques and do your best to offer them great merchandise that has been thoroughly researched.
Whether you are a collector or a seller, it is important to understand what makes an item an antique. Most people who interact in this industry are honest, forthright people and are genuinely interested in keeping the antique world alive far more than making money by whatever means possible. At Antique Allure, we are an antique shop that takes the integrity of our antiques very seriously.