What Is Antiquing? Top 10 Facts About Antiquing

Beginning a collection of antiques is a straightforward endeavor that provides the collector with both personal satisfaction and the potential for financial gain. Collectors frequently specialize by amassing artifacts of a particular interest.

What Is Antiquing?

Antiquing can refer to two separate things. In the first sense, it is going out and shopping or seeking for antiques in a variety of locales. In the second sense, it refers to putting particular treatments to furniture to make it seem antique.

Given that the two notions have significantly distinct meanings, the purpose is typically evident from the context. In certain parts of the world, the initial sense of antiquing is quite popular. You may find antiques at estate sales, auctions, garage sales, and a variety of stores, some of which may specialize in antiques.

What Is Antiquing?

Some regions are renowned for their antiquing opportunities, such as the American Northeast. Where some individuals participate in antiquing excursions. Many individuals love the excitement of the hunt as they sift through a variety of things in search of beautiful or costly antiques; some people even make antiquing a business by searching for resalable antiques.

Antiquing involves a considerable degree of talent, since it is simple to acquire a fake, useless, or severely damaged antique if you are not knowledgeable. The majority of people acquire identification abilities via years of practice and by collaborating with identification experts.

If you are a novice in the area, you may choose to visit a library or bookshop and peruse literature on the identification and valuation of antiques in order to gain confidence in the subject. Consider specializing in a particular type or era of antiques, such as Victorian glassware or Shaker furniture.

Antiquing can be a lot of pleasure, particularly when you uncover a wonderful discovery. As a general guideline, search for objects that exhibit evident indications of decades of use and wear, such as discoloration, stains, rounded corners, etc. Avoid “antiques” with evident modern construction elements, such as particleboard, screws, etc., even if they appear to be in excellent condition.

In the second meaning, antiquing is frequently used to add visual appeal to furniture. Some furniture firms sell antiqued items to consumers who appreciate the style or need new furniture that would mix in with older pieces, and it is also feasible to antique things on your own.

Numerous books and do-it-yourself websites provide comprehensive antiquing recommendations for anyone who wish to learn about the numerous processes that may be employed to give furniture an artificially aged appearance.

What Is Antiquing?

Some older objects are not, strictly speaking, antiques. Vintage things are less than 100 years old, and antiques are older than 100 years. Typically, antiques are categorized as collector, investment, or ornamental.

Antique, Vintage, and Classic Cars

Automobiles are classified differently than the majority of other products. At the 20-year mark, a vehicle is considered a classic. At the age of 45, automobiles are considered antiques. Vintage automobiles were manufactured between 1919 and 1930.

Valuable Antiques Worth Searching For

You might enjoy antiquing as a hobby, just to see what you can find. However, if you’re more of an investment antique hunter, there are several potentially valuable items to be on the lookout for. If you intend to collect antiques for their value, be sure they are in excellent condition.

Depression Glass

Not every piece of depression glass is precious, but select pieces may be quite valuable. There are a few regularly sought-after patterns, including:

  • American Sweetheart
  • Sunflower
  • Cameo
  • Waterford
  • Royal Lace
  • Moonstone
  • Cherry Blossom
  • Patrician


Consider postcards with historical moments, seasonal themes, well-known figures, and matte printing. Also highly desirable are older cards that have advertisements.


Numerous antiquarians seek out ancient clocks that are either of a particular style or era. The vast majority of rare and significant clocks are housed in private collections or museums, making their discovery highly rare.

What Is Antiquing?

Rare Coins

Examine an antique coin collection for rarity and, consequently, value if you stumble upon it. There are lists of the most valuable coins, which include coins worth millions of dollars.


Even if they are older, most china sets have little value. However, china sets from prestigious producers may be rather valuable. The most collectible sets include pieces from Wedgewood, Meissen, Spode, and Royal Copenhagen.

Comic Books

Hundreds of thousands of dollars may be paid for really rare vintage comics. The most expensive items were stored in secure containers. These are uncommon discoveries, yet many are worth hundreds.

Those that originally debuted significant characters, Daring Mystery comics, and specific superhero publications are noteworthy. Many websites identify individual issues by name; therefore, if you uncover a comic that you believe to be valuable, you should compare it to a list.

Perfume Bottles

Historically, perfume bottles were frequently ornamental and even grandiose. You should seek for distinctive shapes, materials, styles, sizes, and qualities, such as glass stoppers. Bottles from certain manufacturers or periods, coming from particular nations, and commercial bottles with uncommon fragrances are also valuable.

Jewelry and Watches

When compared to other sorts of antiques, well-crafted jewelry withstand the test of time better. In a cave, 130,000 years ago, jewelry crafted by Neanderthals was discovered. Numerous graves of the ancient Egyptians contained loose stones and fragments of jewelry. While it’s difficult to find this type of jewelry at a garage sale, there are plenty of current jewelry items that are really valuable.

Today, beginning in 1714, artifacts from many historical eras may be discovered. It is difficult to locate jewelry of great quality from the Georgian era (1714-1837), although it is very simple to find Victorian-century jewelry (1837-1901).

Generally speaking, pieces created by certain jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. are a safe bet. Costume jewelry from renowned designers like as Dior, Miriam Haskel, Coro, and Weiss is among the most costly vintage jewelry available.

Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Tag Heuer vintage watches are among the most desired. Both wristwatches and pocketwatches might be of value.

What Is Antiquing?


If you seek in the correct areas, you might locate a large selection of antique furniture. The classification of furniture by style or kind of furniture.

Since 1685, numerous distinct furniture styles have been produced, including William and Mary, Queen Anne, Chippendale, Federal, Sheraton, Empire, Victorian, French Restoration, Gothic Revival, Rococo Revival, Elizabethan, Louis XVI, Naturalistic, Renaissance Revival, Neo-Greek, Eastlake, Art Furniture, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernism or Mid-Century, and Art Furniture, Arts & Crafts.

Many pieces of furniture from these eras, including chairs, couches, tables, desks, armoires, chests, sideboards, chess tables, bookshelves, and mattresses, are still in superb shape.

Antique Popularity

Collectors of antiques do so for a variety of reasons. Some people collect artifacts because they have sentimental worth, while others do it to enrich their lives with a feeling of history. To generate a profit, investors add artifacts to their private collections or sale them. Regardless of your motivations, antiquing is a popular and occasionally rewarding hobby.

Reasons for Choosing an Item to Collect

There are several reasons why certain artifacts are selected for collection. Some of the motives for collecting artifacts include:

1. Cost: The object’s real price falls within the collector’s financial means.

2. Desire: The collector’s interest involves a desire to acquire artifacts of a certain sort.

3. Passion: The collector has the desire to obtain the selected goods. Locating things may be challenging, and the collector’s love and interest in them fuels their drive.

4. Profit: The collector feels an object may be acquired at a price that will allow for a lucrative sale.

5. Space considerations: A collector may have limited or infinite space to gather and store artifacts.

6. Value: The collector feels that the objects may be acquired at a reasonable or practical price.

Each of these variables can influence a collector’s approach to assembling an actual collection. A collector may have a keen interest in flying, for instance. It might involve amassing a wide variety of aircraft-related items. The collection may comprise genuine aviation components or full aircraft.

What Is Antiquing?

The collector must consider if there is sufficient space to keep and exhibit the aircraft. Additionally, the collector must assess whether or not the acquisition of the aircraft is within his or her financial capabilities. These two considerations might impact the collector’s decision not to buy aircraft.

Alternatively, the collector may choose for related items, such as uniforms used by aviators. On the other hand, a collection of aircraft might be assembled by obtaining operation manuals and insignia patches. Both options would likely be less expensive to buy and require less storage space than full-size aircraft.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Antiquing

Antiquing may be both a pursuit and a surprise, depending on whether you’re searching for something so precise that it could take years to discover it, or whether you experience a moment of shopping serendipity in an unexpected location.

And for an antiquing enthusiast, nothing is more exciting than discovering a $2 curio and a valuable piece of furniture in the same location on the same day. Obviously, understanding how to ask for what you want and paying the price you desire may enhance the experience.

We’ve compiled a list of the top ten things you should know about antiquing so you may get the unique gems you seek every time.

10. Old School

There are standard terms for the used items we purchase. If you are a fan of vintage objects, you enjoy things that are often less than 100 years old, but can be identified by their decade or period style, such as a vintage automobile.

Collectibles, on the other hand, are collections of similar objects from the same time period or manufacturer, such as collector toys. Classics are examples of good design from a particular era or for a particular purpose. For example, a leather riding boot is a classic.

Occasionally, interesting objects such as agricultural or culinary utensils of unknown provenance are neither valuable nor ancient, but they are nonetheless old and intriguing.

9. Age is Good

Antiques have a history of around one hundred years; they might be older or fresher, but the century-old mark often qualifies anything as an antique.

The majority of artifacts that have been around for so long are recorded or cataloged by kind and have condition-based value assessments. Marks from the creator or manufacturer, as well as proof of high craftsmanship, can authenticate an item.

What Is Antiquing?

There is knowledge of history and values in books, on the Internet, and among local specialists. Once a buyer is familiar with an era or style, finding a fake amid legitimate items becomes virtually automatic — and a delightful game of investigation.

8. Valuable (or Value “Bull”)?

While the condition of antiques affects their worth, beautiful trash is still trash. If an object is precious, genuine, and well-preserved, it will be evident in both its quality and its details. Its past will be shown. If it contains tags or a sales pitch that use the phrases “in the style of,” “inspired by,” or “of the same time,” it is likely a copycat.

If you’re seeking for authentic antiques, inquire about the item’s provenance, as there are many reproductions available.

7. Haggle Friendly

While retail establishments often use percentage-based markup algorithms, antiques merchants typically do not. In the realm of antiques and collecting, pricing is determined by the item’s condition and comparison to similar objects.

Most sellers have put up their prices with the expectation that they would be negotiated down. Many even appreciate it as a nice and entertaining method to discuss their passions. You are not “cheap” if you negotiate the price of a valuable item that looks expensive to you.

It is part of the antique shopping experience to see how low the merchant will go.

6. Flea Markets vs. Antiques Boutiques

It is frequently more about the experience than the “finds” to spend a day or even a lengthy weekend road trip perusing major flea markets and swap fairs. This is due to the fact that the most popular locations typically have the largest markups and the most depleted inventory.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you won’t discover a precious artifact in the local thrift store. However, if you’re in a rush and searching for a high-end, specialized item, it may be more prudent to browse at antiques experts. Researching beforehand where to go and how much to spend is always worthwhile.

5. Appraise the Appraiser

We are drawn to exceptional antique stores by word of mouth, web presence, and street-level attractiveness, but the proprietor completes the antique shopping experience. Even if a store is clean and attractive, low-quality merchandise and aggressive or rude salespeople can diminish the shopping experience.

Given the abundance of stores, some of which are disorganized and dusty but stocked with the greatest items, it is not difficult to locate a devoted merchant with an incredible selection. What and how they sell may be more important than where they sell.

A willingness to offer thorough assessments and original receipts (akin to paper pedigrees) also reveals a great deal about the transactions and the dealer.

4. Le Shop Talk

Being a good listener establishes a strong negotiating stance. Learn the terminology of antiquing, but don’t necessarily utilize it. Before revealing what you know about the history and condition of the objects you’re interested in, allow the vendor to do the selling and explain how the items made it to the floor.

Knowing your thing but allowing the expert to show off his or hers provides for better negotiations, and afterwards you may discuss your passion for antiques as equals. On the other hand, if someone is trying to overcharge you, send them to school!

3. Artful?

Before embarking on an excursion, it is prudent to set a spending limit in order to keep extravagance in check. If you find anything you enjoy, you may want to consider if you’ll still be thinking about it in a week or two, or whether you might prefer something else. It’s one approach to eliminate costly impulse purchases.

Art and design may captivate us when they align with our lifestyle and preferences, but antiquing immerses us in a sea of “likes.” And if you’re unable to let go of the valuable item you spotted, return to acquire it.

2. Useful?

When you antique, do you seek something something helpful or something merely artistic? Whether you want to utilize an item, such as a tea set or a chair, check to see if it is durable enough to be used daily; otherwise, it might become another “beautiful but useless” addition to your house.

Do you want more decorative goods and potential clutter, or functionality with aesthetic appeal? Obviously, not all well-designed objects must be utilitarian, but well-crafted vintage and antique things can be just as functional now as when they were built.

1. Adore It?

Some of our favorite items are the most unconventional ones. Buying something you enjoy, even if it has little “worth,” is an investment, particularly if it has a narrative or mystery that will grow with you and your family. Paying a premium price for something that is beautiful and durable is undoubtedly an investment.

And if the original of something you adore is out of your price range, occasionally reproductions are of good quality and honor the original designers. Even egregious defects may appeal us to something, which is essentially what antiquing is all about.


The word “antique” usually refers to something old and valuable that people want to keep. People collect antiques because they are old, beautiful, rare, in good shape, or useful.

When something is called an antique, it is assumed that it has value because of how well it was made and how rare it is. There may be other things about an antique that make it desirable and worth collecting. There is often a personal or emotional connection between a collector and an old item.

It is fairly usual for collectors of antiques and collectibles to build several collections. Because of extra curiosity and the availability of artifacts that have aroused their attention, many establish a second or third collection after starting the first.

Occasionally the collections are connected, but frequently they are not. A collector may, for instance, begin by collecting antique furniture and subsequently transition to collecting political memorabilia.

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Pat Moriarty
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