A Beginner's Guide to Antiquing
Antiquing can be an enjoyable and stimulating hobby, especially if you appreciate history and want to preserve a part of the past in your own home. But in the world of antiques, there are authentics and fakes, and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two. If you have a careful eye and a little basic education, you can find some great deals at estate sales, antique shops, flea markets and even second-hand stores. Many antiques can also be purchased through the mail on the Internet. As an initial matter, the term "antique" was originally defined by U.S. Customs to be anything made before 1830. This was later changed to anything over 100 years old. This hundred-year old criteria became a common standard to define something as an antique. Yet, most antiques shops and antiques shows, as well as high-end antiques dealers, today typically feature a significant amount of inventory made in the 20th century. Sellers consider the design, workmanship and rarity to define what "modern" pieces are appropriate for an antique shop. Examples of items in this category include pottery, glass, jewelry from the turn of the century through the 1940's, and Tiffany silver produced in this century.
Antiques should be distinguished from collectibles. The term "collectibles" is generally used to refer to more recent items, often associated with "popular" culture. Items that were part of everyday life in a bygone era are now fondly remembered. There are thousands of categories, but some examples include fountain pens, children's lunch boxes, old movie memorabilia and comics books. It can also refer to "limited edition" collectibles, which are items that are manufactured and marketed specifically as collectibles. These include collector's plates and Franklin mint dolls. Throughout the world, there are millions of collectors from all walks of life -- multimillionaires that collect Impressionist paintings to children who might collect anything you can imagine. There is a saying in the antiques and collectibles field that having more than one of anything is a collection. If you have a collector's personality, you may acquire one item because you like it. Then you find another in the same category, and buy it too. Soon, you will buy items that fit in your collection simply because you don't have one just like it.
Getting started in antiquing and/or collecting is easy. You can just dive in by
browsing online, attending antiques fairs, visiting antiques shops and flea markets.
Take some time and discover what appeals to you or strikes a chord of nostalgia.
lternatively, you can study up first. There are hundreds of books on antiques and
ollectibles available, offering basic surveys of the field, to very specialized
examinations of a narrow area. Some books are price guides and give you an idea
of what you can expect to pay, on average, for specific antiques. Other books provide
a great deal of information about antiques and their identification, but don't
provide prices. Both types of books serve an important purpose in a collector's