Collecting Antiques for Everyone - A Beginner's Guide
Collecting antiques is a rewarding hobby available for everyone (depending on the type of items you are collecting the prices can be very accessible) and can improve your knowledge of history, culture, places, as well as provide decoration for your home, wearable jewelry and so on.
Before starting your collection, you should chose one or few types of item to collect.
Gather all the information about your chosen subject on books, articles, videos, TV shows, read about the types, styles, origins, times in wich it was produced. It makes it easier to make good choices and to evaluate the prices of the items you intend to buy. You can also collect many types of item, but it is advisable to concentrate in one kind of thing to later, as your collection is completed and your knowledge of the subject improves, to move on to other kinds.
The absolute beginner should also start with cheaper objects. This way you avoid being scammed by paying an enormous price for a falsification or something that is not really worth all of it. Only as your knowledge improves you should go on to more valuable items.
Vintage and Antique
There is some confusion about the terms "vintage" and "antique", as they are often used interchangeably.
Formally, an antique is an item produced 100 years ago or before. A vintage item is an item produced before 20 years and after 100 years ago. More serious collectors must to be aware wether an item is antique or vintage, as it will affect its price and value. But for someone willing to collect items for enjoyment, as well as the absolute beginner, it may not really matter. So there is much leeway in the definition, depending on the reputation of the seller.
The price of an antique depends on many aspects, and can vary from dozens to millions of dollars:
Age: The older the item, the greater the price.
Material: The more expensive the material, the more expensive the item.
Rarity: The number of items of the same kind remaining.
Condition: A chipped, cracked, faded or otherwise damaged item is worth less than one on good condition. Restoration can also affect the value, for more or less, depending on the average condition of most items of the same kind out there.
Procedence: Sometimes you are lucky enough to find a neglected valuable item in some flea market or garage shop. Shops that specialize in authentic items are far more expensive.
Belonged to some personality: An item that belonged to a Hollywood star or some famous
artist can be worth millions, while the same item can worth very little if it belonged to
Sometimes an item may be made from a very cheap material, but be so rare that it is worth more than some item made from an expensive material of wich there are many remaining. Sometimes an item was designed by some famous designer or fabricated in some reputable workshop, so it may add on the value.
So, wether you want to collect antiques for mere enjoyment, or for their value, the secret is to become familiar to the subject of your collection, its history, methods of fabrication and manufacturing, as well as style and manufacturers.