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What is an Antique?

Updated: Jan 30

Antiques are objects that are considered valuable and collectable due to their age, rarity, historical significance, craftsmanship, or aesthetic appeal. The general definition of an antique is an item that is at least 100 years old.

Antique edwardian side table


Here are some key characteristics and categories associated with antiques:



The primary characteristic of an antique is its age. Typically, an item is considered an antique if it is at least a century old. However, in some cases, the term may be applied to items that are 50 to 75 years old, especially in the context of certain collectables and vintage items.



Antiques are often characterised by their rarity. Items that are scarce or have limited production numbers can be more valuable to collectors.



High-quality craftsmanship is a significant factor in determining the value of an antique. Items that showcase exceptional skill and attention to detail often command higher prices.

compact antique mahogany chest of drawers


Historical Significance:

Some antiques gain value due to their historical importance. Items associated with significant events, people, or periods may be highly sought after by collectors.


Aesthetic Appeal:

The visual appeal of an antique can greatly influence its value. Fine art, furniture, ceramics, and other items with artistic merit are often considered valuable.

Antique inlaid sunburst demi lune side table console


Categories of Antiques:

Antiques can encompass a wide range of categories, including furniture, paintings, ceramics, glassware, silverware, textiles, clocks, scientific instruments, and more.



The condition of an antique is crucial in determining its value. Items in well-preserved, original condition often command higher prices than those with significant damage or restoration.




The history of ownership, or provenance, can impact the value of an antique. Items with a documented and illustrious history may be more desirable to collectors.

Decorative antiques, antique statue, antique parian statue hunting dogs



Items that are actively sought after by collectors, whether due to trends or specific interests, may be considered antiques. The demand for certain types of items can affect their market value.


Terms like "vintage" and "collectable" may be used to describe items that are not quite as old as antiques but are still considered valuable or desirable by collectors.

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