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Tidbit Tuesday: Antique vs Vintage

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I often use the term “vintage” in my posts and thought it might be good to clarify the different between a vintage item and an antique one.  In everyday practice, these two terms are often used interchangeably, when in reality, they have very different meanings.  Yes, saying that an item is an antique sounds better than saying it’s used, but just because it’s old doesn’t make it an antique!

I found that Ruby Lane offers an expert answer to this age-old question:

Antique: “Most authorities consider the actual definition of the term ‘antique’ to mean an age of at least 100 years.  If an item is not definitively datable to 100 or more years in age, it should not be directly referred to as an antique.

Vintage: “Vintage is a term applicable to a wider variety of objects, including items that may or may not be ‘antique.’  An item described as ‘vintage’ should speak of the era in which it was produced.  Vintage can mean an item is of a certain period of time, as in “vintage 1950’s” but it can also mean (and probably always should) that the item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. In other words, for the term vintage to accurately apply to it, an item should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made.  As a general rule, ‘vintage’ should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old.

Based on these definitions, an antique item can also be vintage, but a vintage piece is not necessarily an antique.  And when in doubt, refer to it as vintage!

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and is too old to just call “used” but n but still in fashion, whereas often times, antique refers to something that is old

Dictionary Definitions

Antique: According to Merriam-Webster, an antique is “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.”

Vintage: The definition offered by Merriam-Webster doesn’t pertain to items, so instead, here is the defintion from

 

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