Wondering what the difference is between vintage vs antique? They’re two words often used interchangeably when describing old gems – so where do we draw the line between them?
Everything contained within the home, from the tv unit through to the art hanging in the hallway, will belong to a certain era of style. Sleek, modern homes tend to incorporate contemporary pieces. Funky 70s-esque styling is often referred to as retro. In the same vein, antique and vintage are used to describe a particular era in which an item was made.
Here’s the definitive answer on the difference between vintage vs antique.
What is Vintage?
Vintage is actually quite a broad subjective term used to describe old, or pre-loved items. It can be used to describe anything from vintage furniture to clothes and books, and of course, wine, where the term originated from.
The specific time period that the term encompasses is a contentious topic among experts. Some argue that an item must be at least 20 years old to be deemed vintage furniture, while others suggest it should more specifically be between 30 – 99 years old.
In recent years it has become a popularised marketing ploy to on-sell worn out, heavily used items with a ‘vintage’ label to attach a sense of rarity. When buying ‘vintage’ items, be wary that the term isn’t necessarily an indication of exclusivity or value.
That’s not to say these pieces are any less loveable than their antique counterparts. In fact, the ambiguity surrounding the term allows it to thrust so many interesting artefacts into the limelight. You might be able to get your hands on a genuine 1950’s band poster, a cosy 1990’s baseball crew, or even a 1970’s armchair.
What is an Antique?
In contrast, an antique is quite simply an item of furniture, artwork, musical instruments or ornament that is over 100 years old. That is, it was created before 1920.
Deeming a dusty, aged pieced of woodwork to be antique furniture stems purely from when it was manufactured. Sellers are skilled at seeking out tell-tale signs that reveal precisely when an item was created. They do this to determine the value of the piece.
Antiques for sale will typically fetch a higher price tag than vintage pieces. This comes back to their older age, which in turn makes them rarer and usually of superior quality.
How to Tell the Difference Between Antique vs Vintage
Understanding the definition of each is one thing. Knowing how to tell if the ornate silver mirror before you is vintage or antique, is another. Before you head to the counter, it can help to do some quick research on when your item was created. We know now that this directly influences whether it’s considered antique vs vintage. And, therefore, how much it’ll set you back.
The key to this is finding details that give away when it was made. If you’re lucky, this could be as simple as finding a manufacturers stamp on the inside, back or base of your piece. If not, you may have to get more creative. For a full rundown on how to identify genuine antique furniture, take a look at: How to Make The Most of Your Trip To Antique Stores: Tips For Finding Treasures.