For antique buyers antique hunting secrets are important. And if you plan to make Antiquing a hobby or business, and the first thing you need to be absolutely sure about, is what makes something an antique. Here are some of the questions beginners often ask on my online antique school courses.
1. How old does something have to be before it is a genuine antique?
In most parts of the world, the only definition of an antique is that it is not less than 100 years old. If you use this rule as a guide, you will avoid being drawn into buying items that have less value than a real antique.
2. How come I have seen articles made between 1900 – 1960 advertised as antiques?
In the U.S. some commercial dealers and collectors will try to convince you that articles from the Arts & Crafts, Art Deco and Art Nouveau design eras are authentic antiques. However, although many articles from these design trends are very attractive and can command high prices, they are collectibles – not antiques.
3. What is the difference between a collector’s item and an antique?
Items that are not antiques are often called collector’s items, ephemera and memorabilia and these articles may have a very high value in certain rare circumstances, but always remember that unless the article is 100 years old, strictly speaking it is not an antique.
4. What about numbered art prints and collector’s plates?
Anything that was mass-produced within the last 100 years is unlikely to have increased in value sufficiently to make it of equal importance as an antique. However, limited edition items such as art prints which have been signed by the artist and are numbered, as well as collector’s plates – if they are of a high quality to begin with – are likely to become antiques in the far future.
5. Why are antiques so expensive compared to modern furniture?
What really make antiques so attractive are their intrinsic characteristics such as the beautiful woods used and the high quality craftsmanship. The most common woods to look out for are mahogany, pine, oak, walnut and rosewood and if you want to know what makes something an antique, you need to learn how to identify each type of wood.
In addition, you need to inform yourself about the many antiques style periods that also help identify a true antique. The most valuable antiques have been made by very talented artisans and over time, as similar articles disappear through breakage and being discarded, the pieces that remain are steadily increasing in rarity value.
6. Where can I learn more about what makes something an antique?
The best advice I can give aspiring antique buyers is to learn as much as you can about your field of interest. When buying an item advertised as an antique, you need to check the provenance very carefully, as this is part of the proof of age. Try to attend a local antiques course, or one of the online antique school courses from a reputable website, in which an expert in antiques hunting secrets can give you the valuable insider information you need to know what makes something an antique.