Among the dust-covered shelves of antique stores and various spaces with antiques, some connoisseurs manage to find real treasures for their collections. However, how to determine the price of an old object and what defines it as “antique” or “vintage” is sometimes a difficult and rather subjective question. Read this article to know more about antiques and their recognition.
Humans are unique in the way they collect items, purely for the satisfaction of seeking and owning them. The thirst to collect only became realizable about 12,000 years ago, once our ancestors gave up their migrant way of life and settled down in one place. There is also a phenomenon known as the endowment effect, which describes our tendency to value things more, once we own them.
These collectibles are an inheritance from the earliest eras that had their own artisanship. The beauty,
rarity, age, and high quality of these collectibles are combined in one word that is antique and defined as that in the Cambridge English Dictionary.
What is the Difference Between Antique and Vintage?
These definitions are similar, it is often difficult to draw a clear line between antique and vintage, yet they vary.
This article considers the most important criteria in greater detail.
The key contrast between vintage and antique is Age.
The word vintage literally means “of age”, and is defined by the period of time something has existed. It doesn't come as a surprise that the term vintage was originally used as a reference to the year or place in which wine, especially wine of high quality, was produced: "1982 is one of the best vintages of the century".
Today, Items can be considered Vintage when they have existed for more than 40 years, and “Vintage” became a trend, a fashion, and even a movement where people identify themselves as less materialistic and more into the recycling and reuse of older items. Vintage became an identity associated with a certain lifestyle.
Although many vintage items are sentimental, they are desired for a variety of reasons apart from their age. This involves adorning and collecting. Also, since so many of these items are still usable, they are pragmatic pieces with a unique style. Vintage items are often viewed as a demonstration of the stage they are from. These more well-liked vintage products include https://thebookheritage.com/the-library/:
Antiques on the other hand are at least 100 years old, making them automatically more precious and valuable than vintage items. This includes furniture, artwork, jewelry, accessories, and other collectibles all of which can be antiques. And because old is just not enough, antiques are considered of high importance when they are rare or have a certain artistic value.
The Value of an Antique
There are several factors to consider when determining how much an antique is worth.
Original maker's marks: Items stamped with a manufacturer or designer's mark are often worth more than identical pieces with no signature.
Item condition: One of the most important factors to consider when placing value on an antique is its condition. Even if an item is located in a price guide, the item must be in comparable condition. Flaws that devalue an item can include chips, cracks, excessive wear, tears, stains, and missing components. Also, how flawed is it? A minor nick might be negligible, meanwhile, a major crack is a dealbreaker.
The rarity and thus the value of an antique is due to the fact that it was created in a previous era and is no longer manufactured, either the brand has ceased, or the production technology has passed. On the other hand, Vintage items are not very old and are easier to find. But with each passing day, some antiques and vintage items are becoming exceptional, rare, and expensive. Vintage or antique items will gradually increase in value over time, making collecting them a great investment for many people.
Being old does not mean it's valuable. An item's value lies in demand. For instance, there are many items more than 100 years old and not in high demand with collectors however, a hard-to-find item from the turn of the century is likely to be worth more.
If an item comes from a questionable flea market, it should be authenticated before being able to truly determine its value. Buyers should look for telltale signs of wear and age, and scrutinize it closely for discrepancies in marks and signatures.
Professional restoration can add value to a rare antique, but amateur repairs can affect value negatively. It's important to evaluate a piece to discern whether it has been haphazardly repaired or if the original value-adding patina was removed through improper cleaning. Some minor repairs may not affect the value of a piece at all, but that is mainly dependent upon rarity and market demand.
The disadvantage of using a price guide or a recent selling price from auction results is that it reflects a price from another time. Prices for antiques and collectibles can fluctuate widely and quickly, depending on current demand.
5 hints for Identifying True Antiques
The first step in identifying authentic antiques is understanding how to distinguish antique from vintage. Here are a few more pointers to help you determine genuine antiques from simply old things.
1. Look for hints that show whether the object was manufactured by a machine or by hand. Antiques are mainly manufactured by hand. Some indicators for some handcrafted furniture are minor flaws, unevenness, or hand saw marks.
2. Try to identify the varieties of wood when inspecting a piece of furniture. Because furniture builders didn't want to throw away more expensive wood in locations where it wouldn't be seen, the majority of antique items will feature different types of wood, such as the bottom of a drawer.
3. Think about whether the product or comparable variations are still in use today. If the response is "no," you are probably looking at an antique.
4. Look for markings or stamps on the item that identifies the creator or the year of production. These labels are typically located inside drawers, along the furniture's back, or on the underside of the piece of furniture.
5. Look for wear and tear. The wear on genuine antiques will vary, with some places appearing more distressed than others. The wear will appear more even on more recent damaged furniture that was made to look old.
The next time when you find an old and dusty book in the attic or a painting, don't rush to throw it away. Dust off and take a close look at the antique item - you may own a true work of art. Such is the story of a $33 million Faberge golden egg that was discovered in the kitchen of a scrap metal dealer. The owner bought it a decade ago at an antique market for $13,500. He figured he could make a thousand dollars by melting down the gold and selling the diamonds and sapphires decorating the egg. Unable to find a buyer, however, he held off on the project for a decade. It turns out the ornament was a $33 million lost Faberge Egg. He found an article about Fabergé eggs on Google and found a photo of the egg he owned. Such a valuable antique may also be sitting somewhere in your home, waiting to be discovered.
In general, buying an antique or vintage item should not be rushed. If you've only recently become interested in buying antiques or vintage items, it's best to take your time and seek experts’ advice.