If you’re a passionate thrifter, scour the world wide web for collectibles, or frequent estate sales in hope of spotting something great for your collection, you should know the difference between the terms antique, vintage, and retro. After all, an item’s age is important, both in terms of its collectability and price range, and can make or break the deal. Whether you’re looking to sell or buy, knowing which time period an old item is from can make a big difference in the final price. 

When is an item an antique?

While the label ‘antique’ is frequently tossed around by sellers online, it’s not often that it’s authentic. Naturally, authentic antique items are worth quite the $$$, so knowing how to spot what’s “just” old and what crosses the threshold into the antique could make all the difference- especially for your bank account. According to experts, an item is considered to be antique when it’s aged 100 years or older. Yes, that’s right- anything younger than a century isn’t an actual antique! 

People often confuse antique items with vintage ones or do it on purpose, hoping to inflate the price. Unless you can verify that an item you have your eye on or want to sell is over a century old, you can’t command an antique-worthy price. As a result, not many well-preserved antique bargains can be found lying around, but if you’re lucky, you might just come across a valuable catch while thrifting or going through online ads.

When is an item vintage?

When it comes to collectibles and old items for sale online and in thrift shops, a good deal of them falls into the vintage category. However, this term has also been used loosely for years, so there are still some misconceptions about what are vintage items and what lack the age to be labeled as such. To be considered vintage, an item has to be 50 years old or older, all up to the 100 year mark that is reserved for antiques. Sometimes, people tend to label anything older than 20 years as vintage, and while some experts might frown at this liberal use of the term, for collectibles, clothing, and finds that are not going to be appraised, you can apply the vintage term a bit more loosely. For instance, ‘80s and ‘90s items are all the rage now, and if you want to find something cool from those eras, you’ll have more luck if you search for vintage items online than going for retro. 

When is an item retro?

Retro items are usually the least valuable of the bunch- but that doesn’t mean that they’re not popular. By definition, retro items don’t actually have to be old, they can be brand new, but the design has to resemble antique or vintage items. Usually, retro clothing, jewelry or home goods are those that can fetch a pretty buck in terms of its resale value.

Posted by:Angela Vuckovic

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