Antique, Vintage or Collectible: What Is The Difference?

People often use the words antique, vintage, and collectable interchangeably. However, did you know there’s an interesting difference between them?

Learn the distinctions between these three terms in this article!

The Difference Between Vintage and Antique

Have you ever wondered about the distinction between antiques, vintage, and collectables? Antique specialist Florence Martin of Westland London guides us through the differences.

What Is an Antique?

Many specialists consider antiques as items that are at least 100 years old. Reputable dealers value them according to their condition, aesthetics, rarity, or historical significance.

Antiques, Vintage or Collectible?
Image: Chandelier – Westland London

How Can You Identify if an Item Is Antique?

Learning how to identify each era and period style is a good place to start. You can browse auction houses and antique fairs and study catalogue descriptions.

Visiting architectural salvage specialists is another option. You can get their advice for identifying items from specific periods.

For example, furniture from the Victorian age will often feature carved embellishments. They’re also commonly made of dark wood, like mahogany or walnut.

A reputable dealer can describe items they sell with accuracy. They’re a valuable source of information for antique lovers.

Image: Antique Mantel Clock – Westland London

The more you look, the better you can discern the difference between period styles. You can then increase your awareness of whether something is antique, vintage or a reproduction.

In short, practice makes perfect. Eventually, you’ll learn how to tell whether an item is Georgian (1800-1830), Victorian (1830-1890), Art Nouveau (1890-1910), or Art Deco (1920s and 1930s).

Image: Candlabra – Westland London

What Is Vintage?

Vintage items are those that are between 20 and 100 years old.

Anything can be vintage, whether clothing, furniture, or lighting. What’s important is the item should also be characteristic of a particular fashion from a specific. Simply put, it reflects the tastes of that era.

Vintage furniture and lighting are all highly coveted by people seeking to add a retro touch to their interior!


What Is Collectible?

Unlike antiques and vintages, collectables aren’t necessarily old or rare.

A collectable is a group of similar treasures people gather as a hobby. They can be anything from postage stamps to railway memorabilia, clothing, or toys.


Are Collectibles Valuable?

The value of collectables often depends on how sought-after the items are. Some collectables are hard to come by, increasing their value.

For instance, royal wedding memorabilia are pricey collector’s items because they’re no longer in production.

One of the most expensive collectables was a Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin from the 1930s. Because of its rarity, this coin sold for $18.9 million in 2021!


Best Tips for Buying Antiques, Vintage, and Collectibles

How can you ensure you get authentic antiques and vintage items? Here are my top tips!

  • Research the Item: When it comes to buying, do as much research as you possibly can. Researching can protect you from possible fakes and scams.
  • Ask Questions: It’s important to ask the right questions regarding the age or period of an item. Don’t be afraid to inquire about a piece’s rarity and condition.
  • Source Responsibly: Always buy from a reputable source, even if it seems more expensive. This can help you avoid counterfeits.
  • Forecast Values: Know how in-demand something is. Remember, items out of fashion today can become the collectables of tomorrow.
  • Check for Damage: A piece’s price goes down if damaged. Collectors place the highest value on items in good condition!
Image: Interior – Westland London

In Conclusion

A vintage is any item between 20 and 100 years old, and an antique is a piece over 100 years old. Meanwhile, collectables may be brand-new, antique, or vintage.

All three types have value in their own right, but expect to pay more the rarer it is!

Westland London : St. Michael’s Church, Leonard St, London EC2A 4QX.

Tel : 020 7739 8094

Further reading:

We chat to Guinevere’s Marc Weaver for his tips on buying antiques.

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One thought on “Antique, Vintage or Collectible: What Is The Difference?

  1. 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.

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