What is it about antiques that makes them so popular? Maybe it's the mysterious connection with the past - wondering where the antique has been, who owned it, what their lives were like. Maybe it's that an antique can be at once a beautiful decoration for the home and a lucrative investment.
Knowing About Antiques
Knowing about antiques is just the beginning of the journey. Whatever the draw, every year the search for an antique sends millions of people worldwide tramping through country shops and scanning websites with fingers crossed, hoping that the actual product really is as wonderful as it looks on the screen. In addition to all the articles we have here, we also offer a Q&A antique community called What's It Worth.
What Is an Antique?
Generally, an antique is more than 100 years old and items that are less than 100 years old, but not new, are referred to as vintage. The 100 year mark was set in 1930 by the United States government. At that time, antiques were exempt from customs duties when being brought into the country and many people had been trying to save a few bucks by calling anything that wasn't brand new an antique. After consulting several experts, the government decided that an object had to be older than 100 years to be considered an antique and that definition has been widely adopted by the industry. However, there are some exceptions to that rule - for example, there are very few automobiles that are more than 100 years old, so the oldest autos are called antiques, even though they may hail from the 1920s or 1930s. Also, some use 75 years as the cutoff point for an antique.