One of the most asked questions in the world of antiques is quite simply – what can be classed an antique and indeed, what makes something antique?

To be fair, it is quite a sensible question, as for those of with children, to them, our old and trusted Nokia 3410 would seem antique, or the pictures of the first car we owned would be, as the new generation have seen so much evolvement in terms of technology and products, that even things we used 20 years ago, to them, are antique.

There is a really good article regarding vintage and antique and the differences here, but from inside the industry, for an item to be considered antique it should be at least 100 years old. However, there are many in the antiques world that think anything over 50 years old should also be fitting of this label as well.

According to sources on the Antiques Roadshow, “an object of considerable age valued for its aesthetic or historical significance. In the antiques trade, the term refers to objects more than 100 years old.

There is the rule behind the term, but is it always the case and can it always be applied so literally?

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Well, it seems, not really. For example, anyone looking here – http://roccoborghese.com/crystal-chandeliers/borghesina-classica/ would say that these antique crystal chandeliers are indeed that, antique, but if they don’t cross the 50 or 100 year mark, would they be? For most, it is in the eye of the collector. So, someone collecting clocks could consider a clock antique as there are only 20 of them made and 10 left in the world, even if they were only 40 years old. But another collector of tables might not consider them to be antiques unless they were from before the first world war.

And indeed, can every product be class as antique based on age? Generally in the UK yes, as you get antique clocks, antique cars, antique furniture etc and the list goes on and on, but for some things, you might not be able to assign the word antique. As we looked at above, quite often it comes down to the person concerned, whether they are happy to call something an antique, as there seems little “regulations” that govern the word being applied to product or item.

In America, antique items are not taxed, so they do have regulations and laws that cover what can be considered antiques, but in the UK and the rest of the world, the word antique really does seem an big label that is open to interpretation.

 

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