Antique Collecting in Bucks County
The art of antique collecting
Antique collecting is defined as the assembling of items of aesthetic, historical and monetary value from earlier eras. The term antique initially referred only to the preclassical and classical cultures of the ancient world. It is now applied to old artifacts of all cultures. Legally and traditionally, an antique is usually defined as an object that is over one hundred years old. Before you visit your local antique store in Southampton, you should first understand the history and art of antique collecting. Antique Allure is one the the best antique shops in all of Bucks County!
The history of antique collecting dates from the preservation of valued religious objects in antiquity. By the 16th century, English and European private collections of rarities flourished. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, with the development of the art and science of archaeology, that produced the push for public and private collecting seriously. Items aside from religious were now being sought after because of their rarity and age.
In the United States, collectors, who have been seriously active since the 18th century, first focused on old books, manuscripts, possessions and mementos of famous people, and classical antiquities. State historical societies encouraged the growing interest in colonial history and its artifacts. In the late 1850s, an association was founded to restore and preserve Mount Vernon, the first museum in the country. Finely crafted household artifacts such as pewter and furniture caught collectors’ attention with the opening of the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia.
During the 20th century, many objects in addition to paintings, books, and furniture attracted the collector’s attention. Specialty collections included quilts, jewelry, glass, coins, postage stamps, china, porcelain, silver, needlework, lace, bottles, snuffboxes, fans, watches, clocks, postcards, photography, toys, military and political souvenirs, forms of transportation (including railroad and petroliana), folk art and memorabilia symbolic of the recent past.
Collectors range widely in their search for items that interest them. Normally the only value a popular object can have is that of scarcity but it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop anyone from collecting objects that hold interest to him or her. Certain items, like comic books, have become collector’s items due to their nostalgia more than fundamental value.
Antique dealers acquire not only antiques but also objects that are characteristic of a particular style, like art deco, that is experiencing a revival of interest. Such objects may be sold or traded at auctions, antique malls, flea markets and garage sales. Dealers often find items that are interest as well as popularity. The antique markets fluctuate so quickly that something you saw as valuable just a year ago could now be worthless. With demand comes the question of supply. If something is scarce and in demand, it will surely hold a high value.