A quick scan of online listings will quickly reveal that terms like “antique” and “vintage” are thrown around interchangeably and often illogically. Many people trying to make a buck off an old piece of furniture will label it an antique and hope you don’t know any better! Do you know the difference between antique and vintage? If not you may be getting fooled. Click To Tweet
The Difference Between Vintage and Antique
Whether you’re hunting through antique shops for fun, or surfing online listings for just the right item, understanding what is meant by “antique” or “vintage” will improve the buying and selling process.
Up For Debate
There has been a debate over what constitutes an antique. Some say an Antique is an object more than 100 years old, but some believe that items over 50 years old should be considered antique. For the purposes of this article, we will side with the trade experts, who define an antique as an item more than 100 years old.
A collectible is a term that describes valuable objects that are less than a hundred years old but still possesses value for their rarity or uniqueness.
Most authorities consider the actual definition of an antique to be an age of at least 100 years. If an item is not definitively 100 or more years in age, it should not be referred to as an antique. In the current year, this would mean that an item would have to be made before 1918 to qualify as an antique.
“Vintage” originally applied to the age of a bottle of wine. The term was borrowed and is now used to describe items that have cycled back into fashion or less than 25 years old. This term is generally applied to the time period 1960-1979. The time period 1950-1959 is generally referred to as retro, though the 2 terms are often used interchangeably.
Demand, Not Age, Drives Price
The value of an item is determined more by whether or not there is a demand for it. There are rare antiques which are sold for less than newer collectibles because there is no demand for the rare antique and a high demand for the collectible.
Pro Tip: The price of a piece of furniture isn’t always dependent on its age. High demand usually means high value.
Shop With an Expert
When it comes to purchasing antique, vintage or collectible items, do some research before handing over any money. Better yet, find a reputable antique dealer and let them give you tips and pointers for identifying the differences.