Read our more comprehensive guide to what makes something antique, collectible or vintage here.
There has been a debate over what an antique is for years. Some say an Antique is:
An object of considerable age valued for its aesthetic or historical significance. In the antiques trade, the term refers to objects more than 100 years old.
Some dealers are attempting to lower the standard of an antique. They believe that items over 50 years old should be considered an antique. Those who are reputable antique dealers say the 50 years definition lowers the standard to a point that dealers can sell collectibles under the name of antiques.
This leads us to the word Collectible. A collectible is a term that describes valuable objects less than a hundred years old, often distinguished from antiques, which as a rule are more than a hundred years old.
Then we have the word vintage which originally applied to the age of a bottle of wine. This term was hijacked and is now used to describe item that has 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 both these terms can be applied to items less then 100 years in age.
However, it should be known that the label “antique”, “vintage” or “collectible” has no real effect on the value of an item. The value of an item is determined more by whether there is a demand for it. There are very rare antiques which are sold for much less than a newer collectible, but this is because there is no demand for the rare antique and a high demand for the newer collectible.
When it comes to purchasing items on the antique or collectible market, the buyer should do a lot of research before handing over any money. Flea markets with antique stands, antique shops, and antique malls are plentiful, so dealers have a lot of competition in stocking their shops. This can lead them to price their items much higher than their true value, which is a bad investment for you. Why buy an antique or a collectible for more than its value?
So, when you compare antiques to collectibles, antiques stand the test of time. Their value remains stable. Collectibles, however, are priced more on a whim and their long term value is highly speculative. Implement caution when investing in collectibles as opposed to antiques.
Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.
Hi I have a China hutch that my dad passed to me. He remembers seeing it his whole life at his aunts house she gave it to him. How can I tell what time period it was made? Please let me know .Thank you kindly Dava
Top article! I had no idea of the difference of terminology. Your writing makes me think a lot more about the ‘antique’ or ‘collectible’ market and the how I’ve been swindled a time or two just by the misinterpretation.
I agree with Allen, your writing is solid and I’ve also signed you into my rss feed.
I didn’t either I have a table about 70 years old very good condition
Really Nice post.
Really enjoyed your writing style and putting the term vintage, antique, and collectible in their true form. Thanks
What if I have a iteam that is only 3 or 4 years old, but there are only 2,000 of them made in the whole world and production of making anymore is over. Those who collect this cant find that one because only 2,000 were made in 2013. P.S. I have two of them.
That’ll be considered vintage still!
How could that be vintage? The term was broken down and you’re still botching it. That would be a collectible
At what point would they be considered “rare”?
I would say it would be termed “limited edition” since the production run was small and will not be repeated.
Love this article! I always follow Antique HQ for all my questions. Thank you guys for being awesome!
I’m so glad you broke down the periods of time that each label comes from! It’s interesting to know that these words have an actual specific meaning. I absolutely love vintage and retro things because the styles are so pretty! I wonder if they will have a word for the 2000s in the future.
Q. I have a blanket from the Faribo company, the blanket is believed to be 70 years old. Would it be considered vintage, or collectable?
Using these cookie cutter definitions as standard would mean there is no such thing as antique radios. I define vintage as 20-40 years old and antique as older than 40 years old—but clearly it is item specific (e.g., radios, cars, etc.). Collectibles can be anything collectible.
You are right about “value”, which is refreshing. There is no need for complex arguments about it: something is valuable if two wealthy people both want it. 😉
Hi I found a ceramic statue or figurine at a thrift store and I’m trying to learn more about it …it is a 2′ tall knight with a shield kind of bronze or gold in color and the only mark I can find on it is on the rear of the base the word mexico is engraved in it