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The Difference Between An Antique And A Collectible

Updated on May 2, 2017

Antique Or Collectible That Is The Question

By Sharon Stajda

What's the difference between an antique and a collectible, how old does an item have to be to be an antique? Finding a definitive definition for both an antique and a collectible is not possible. Just what constitutes an antique and what constitutes a collectible is determined by each individual antique dealer. Many times, the dealers will give varied answers to the seemingly simple question, "What is a collectible and what is an antique?" Most antique dealers will agree that historically an antique is any crafted or manufactured item that is at least 100 years old. Collectibles are items that are less than 100 years old. An Antique is generally rare, and in many cases hold a good monetary value. While collectibles' values are more speculative, and can change at a moment's notice. (This can be seen with items centered around popular television shows or movies. Some may become antiques, but normally they are collectibles that will only have value so long as that show or movie remains popular.)

Spotting A Fake Antique

Depression Glass Of The 1920s Verses Lalique Glass 1800s


Should The Standards Be Changed

Some antique dealers are attempting to lower the standard of an antique. They believe that items over 50 years old should be considered an antique. Those who are reputable antique dealers say the 50 years definition lowers the standard to a point that dealers can sell collectibles under the name of antiques. However, it should be noted that the label "antique" or "collectible" has no real effect on the worth of an item. The price of an item at present is determined more by whether there is a demand for a given item. There are very rare antiques which are sold for much less than a newer collectible, but this is because there is no demand for the former, and a high demand for the latter.

When In Question, An Appraisal Is Wise


Researching An Antique Is Very Important Before Purchase

When it comes to purchasing items on the antique or collectible market, the buyer should do a lot of research before handing over any money. Flea markets with antique stands, antique shops, and antique malls are plentiful, so dealers have a lot of competition in stocking their shops. This can lead them to price their items much higher than their true value, which is a bad investment for you. Why buy an antique or a collectible for more than it is worth?

The Antique Collector

Let's explore what motivates an antique collector? As a rule a collector of antiques do not limit themselves to one particular collectible. Their homes are filled with interesting antiques of every kind. Staffordshire figurines, silver, and a wonderful collection of antique furniture. Perhaps a stately Rosewood secretary by John Better or a Petit-point portrait adorning a Victorian fireplace? I have often pondered, what motivates a person to collect antiques.


What Motivates An Antique Collector

Practically everybody collects something, and all sorts of people collect antiques. Some antique collectors go on the assumption that if its very old, its wonderful, and well worth owning. This most likely answers the question of why an antique collector ends up going off in many directions with what they collect. However, what motivates an antique collector? I have a friend that started collecting antiques by wanting to add to a tea cup and saucer she had received as an heirloom when her Grandmother passed on. It did not take long for her to start collecting more antique tea cups and saucers. Which then to graduate into collecting antique tea sets, antique silver, and onto antique furniture. You see to display all these lovely antique tea services she need the proper antique tea cart. Which looked out of place with her d├ęcor. So she started collecting antique furniture.

Collectable Or Antique What's Your Passion

Do you collect antiques or collectibles or both?

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Antiques As Investments

Another type of antique collectors, collect antiques as investments. These investors purchase antiques on the bases that a given piece will appreciate with time. This type of antique collector takes the buying of antiques very serious. They are as a rule well educated in antiques, and have made sure to be well versed on the value of any given antique. The antique investor depend on the antique's they purchase to appreciate and show a profit in the future.

It is also apparent that many antique collectors are more dealers than collectors. The dealers search out fine antiques to sell to the serious antique collectors. Most dealers are in the business of making money, and the bottom line is a sale, with a profit. Unlike the investor, the dealer buys to sell quickly, at a profit. At no time in history has it been easier to search out fine antique' . This is mainly due to the Internet. The internet has expanded the ease of buying antiques for the avid dealer. The Internet enables one to be able to search the globe for desired treasure's, and purchase them from the comforts of ones own home. An antique consumer can find the rarest, and oddest of antiques, right at their fingertips. So to get back to what motivates an antique collector? We can certainly demise that it is not always the beauty of an antique that attracts, and motivates the collector? In some cases it is strictly business and purely financial gain.


Thrill Of The Hunt And The Comradery Of The Antique Dealer's

I have found that most antique collectors, weather in it for business or pleasure have one thing in common that clearly stands out. The love of the hunt, and the more rare the find the bigger the thrill. What can further adds to the thrill, is to find an antique that has a less than worth price tag attached to it. So is part of the motivation, the thrill of finding a great bargain?

I mentioned my good friend that collects antiques of every kind. When asked how she preferred to find her antiques? She claimed she prefer to "go out and peruse the antique shops." Claiming, "Its very accelerating, yet at the same time relaxing, going from shop to shop". She stated that she loves to visit with the many friend she had made through the years, that either work in the shop or own the shop. So is part of the motivation the comradely the collector finds in the friendships they acquire along the way? Do collectors have something more in common? After interviewing many antique collectors, I have found that most will admit to being drawn to, and loving very old things. Admitting feelings of familiarity with a particular antique. I have had a few antique collectors confide that they feel they may have lived other lives, in centuries gone by. That having antiques around them provides them with a sort of comfort, and brings peace into their homes. One shopkeeper explained to me. I look at a piece, and I wonder how many people have come and gone that have held, and used this? Who else may have enjoyed owning this? It became quite clear to me that some antique collectors are motivated by a deep-seated emotional drive. A drive to capture some elusive feelings of times gone by.

I don't know if anyone has or ever will be able to actually give a defining answer or the underlying motives to what makes a person a collector of antiques? Is it possible that it harks back to the most primal human impulse, which is desire. A desire for beauty, a desire for peace in one's surroundings or the desire to cultivate friendships. Perhaps the desire to connect with another time, another life. And finally, the desire for making a profit, and adding to one's wealth?


I would so appreciate it if you would sign my guestbook.

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    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Great information about antiques..what irritates me is when someone advertises an Antique, and it's not even as old as collections are going to be sold next year, but I keep anything that I have a personal connection to, like inherited items.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 5 years ago

      Great resource. Blessed

    • rayray131 profile image

      rayray131 5 years ago

      Really, enjoyed your lens!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Don't have many antiques, but I enjoy looking at them.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      Nicely done lens. Thanks for sharing this great lens.

    • profile image

      Bellwood-Antiques 6 years ago

      This is a very informative lens. It has some very good points about collecting and the motivational points, What make you start have a collection of any antiques. I hear a lot that "I remember that when they were young." That is kinda like memorabilia, and that's a good start for a collection!

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      Great lense lots of information. I love antiques

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens, you had provided us great information.

    • rdgubaten lm profile image

      rdgubaten lm 6 years ago

      Great lens on antiques. I liked it.

    • profile image

      BadSoulPhotography 6 years ago

      Very interesting

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I love antiques!!!! Cameos and furniture are the best.. but I also love Native American Jewelry!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I found the answer to my question. Your site is very informative. Thanks

    • profile image

      mitchdcba 7 years ago

      Great article. I am a used furniture junkie because I canât stand the smell of new furniture.The hunt is so much fun. What about antiques as well. Love 1930s and 1940s furniture.

      Antique Office Furniture

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 9 years ago

      Hi Shar, very nice lens. I love antiques and collectibles. I would love to be able to afford more. Nicely done - five stars to you. You might enjoy my lens: Treasure-Someone Elses. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Antique-Learning-Center 9 years ago

      Great info Shar. Keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      WorldTravelers916 9 years ago

      nice lens, i love these books!


    • profile image

      Keaka77 9 years ago

      Excellen Lens Shar...You always provide us with some good information. Keep up the good work...

      David Deangelo

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 9 years ago

      Very nice 5-star lens! World of Netsuke

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago


      I'm doing a report for a writing class on Antiques, would it be okay to use this information. Would you have more input. Really appreciate it.

      Thank you

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 10 years ago

      Excellent lens, Shar! You are welcome to submit this lens to my new group Antique Art. See link on my Kutani or Imari or Satsuma lenses. I voted 5*s for your lens and will lensroll it once you submitted it to my group. Take care!