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Defining Vintage, Antique and Retro


Defining antique, vintage and retro can be confusing! Surprisingly, the dictionary definitions are quite similar. Antique is defined as “existing of belonging to earlier times”. Whereas vintage is “dating from the past”. Retro is usually a mimic of the past.

Usually, the term antique refers to something greater than 100 years or older. This can include furniture, jewelry, art, rugs and housewares. Vintage items are younger and typically prior to 1999. They date back to the 1930 s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. It also includes postcards, periodicals, photography, vinyl records, cassettes, tapes, electronics and gaming systems.

The age of pieces does not correlate value. Value is determined by history, origin, reputation of maker or artist, ownership and authenticity.

Determining a piece to be greater than 100 years usually requires the collector to recognize styles of particular periods in history, for example, Edwardian or Victorian. Vintage items identify style during a period of time such as mid-century modern.

Retro are current items that mimic old designs of the past. They are often reproductions or imitations. Often, they are less expensive and easier to find than the true piece they copy.




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