Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vintage or Antique?

I shop online a bit, Etsy being one of my favorite places and I find myself shaking my head at what some people consider vintage or antique.  Vintage in particular seems to have a different meaning everywhere you go.  Some folks are saying that items 7 years old or older are vintage and items 50 years or older are antique.  Others use vintage with the year: vintage 1973 or vintage 1980.
Well I beg to differ, I've always been told that vintage means at least 35 years old, otherwise it's just "used".
As for antique,  I use the U.S. government definition.  They say that for Customs purposes an item must be at least 100 years old to be considered Antique, and if it is, then it can be imported duty free.  We do most of our antique shopping in England and I'm careful about buying real antiques.

So Vintage = 35 years old or older

Antique = 100 years old or older

That means  I'm Vintage, but not quite Antique.


  1. Antiques are definitely 100+ years old. I've never been sure what vintage means but if pressed I'd have said 1950s or earlier.

  2. Well, Rowan's definition makes me vintage too.

  3. When first living in WY we went to a few auctions that listed antiques. What we saw was furniture from 60's era trailer houses--avocado green and harvest gold--yuk!

  4. A definition of vintage that I quite like is that 'I haven't seen one in a while.' Vintage can mean a whole range of different time frames depending on the product. A vintage car (e.g. Morris Minor) might go back to the 1960s whereas a vintage computer (e.g. ZX Spectrum) would only go back to the 1980s. Vintage wine can be even more recent than that. This is probably the reason why the distinction between the terms has been blurred somewhat.


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