In my first several months of antique collecting, I discovered — looking back with that inevitable 20-20 hindsight — how much money I actually wasted on what I thought at the time were quality antique pieces.
Finally, I was able to stop, take my blindfold off, and just digest the hobby a bit by bit. And that made all a world of difference, as I saw later. The next antique furniture that I bought was a consequence of deep research. Antique info that I gathered during my first investigation was life saving. From that inspirational search I started my voyage into beautiful world of antique. From that point on I was the maker of my own destiny.
By now you are probably wondering what did he found and exactly how do you spot that antique in the field? Some individuals — usually those who know the least about antiques — are quick to answer that. They readily spout off that an antique is any object that is at least XY years old.
And, as I might add to a certain degree, these folks are absolutely right. They just don’t go quite far enough in their definition. Just because an object happens to be old, doesn’t automatically make it an antique. Just because an object is from Antique Rome or Antique China, has immense antique impact. Well, it doesn’t make it a valuable antique — one you would desire to own. By the way, this is one of the most rewarding facts in antiquing.
The antique “connoisseurs” argue that age alone can’t define value. You must also look a little farther, especially toward the quality of an object, whether it is furniture, glassware or pottery. As one expert told me recently, “An item that was ugly and lacking in quality more than 100 years ago, is probably still ugly and of poor quality today.”
Generally speaking, when an antiques expert examines an object, he scrutinizes it in regard to four different areas. These four are not only legitimate categories, but really, if you think about it, are very practical as well: Quality, condition, rarity and demand.
Quality is often viewed as degree of excellence.This means excellence not only in the conception of the piece being reviewed, but also in the design, and finally, in the execution, or the production, of the final product.
Antique table or desk that is well crafted is readily recognizable simply by its stability and how well it performs the function for which it was made. You will know it immediately. Not to mention the intricacies that make it an example of great carpentry are still in place. Thus, quality implies that it was made with a certain level of caring and not just slapped together.
Many people tend to confuse rarity with age. And you can easily see why. As the age of the object increases, it also increases the likelihood that fewer of them survive throughout the years. But this isn’t always necessarily the case.
I always like to point individuals to the example of coins from the Early Roman Empire. These objects are nothing if not literally thousands of years old. Yet, few historians — and fewer antique collectors — consider them “rare”.
Why? Because of the vast numbers of coins that were originally minted (probably in the thousands) as well as the high number of them that have survived and surfaced through archeological excavations and other means.
Now something about demands. Actually as you may know already, antique is valued only if someone is willing to pay that price. If there is no demand for a rare item of high quality in great condition, then it’s likely that the item is not worth (at least at the moment) much at all.
What, you wonder, dictates demand for an object? No single answer can adequately explain it. Several reasons may go into that explanation. First, it may be that the current state of the economy is poor. People just don’t have the disposable income to spend on an item.
It may also be that some segment of the population doesn’t appreciate its value and therefore has no interest in it. Or for one reason or another, it might be that a social or political stigma is now associated with the product.
This article was aimed at covering some basic antique info, and probably answering your question when something should be considered as antique.
Always bare in mind that antiques are your connection to history.