What is classified as an antique?
Technically 100 years old is classified as a True Antique.
An item which is at least 100 years old and is collected or desirable due to rarity, condition, utility, or some other unique feature.
Today we see the terms Vintage and Collectibles as well.
After 48 years in this business the 1920’s and 30’s catalogue furniture that we did not even consider selling in the late 1960’s has now matured into the vintage/ antique category.
Travelers from Europe are often amazed with the antiques here in the “ new world” because most items classified as antiques in Europe are hundreds of years old..
How does one start their own collection?
Usually a collection begins with single purchase or gift..Or perhaps from a memory of items found at the family homestead.
It can be a certain color or pattern or style or look. McCoy cookie jars for example. Since there were over 200 designs produced a collector might focus on a certain shape.. Such as the dogs
Persons with limited space might consider collection miniature items..
I myself collected from the time I was about 8 years old.. Vintage Fiesta ware.. Colorful tableware made by Homer Laughlin Fiesta® Dinnerware was designed 1936 and is now among the most collected china products in the world.
Why old when you can buy new?
Most modern furniture is mass produced and constructed of mixed/manmade materials that are not capable of surviving the next 75 - 100 years.
Whether they realized it at the time or not, Antiques Dealers that open up shops in the 1950s and 1960's are the original “recyclers”. Selling a pieces to a new home diverted them from the “burn pile” or land fill.
If we could only hear the stories some pieces have to tell.
The many layers of paint on a cabinet.. subjected to the yearly spring painting of the house.
When our ancestors needed something for their homes they made it. For instance a cabinet for storage, which may be unusually shaped to fit a specific location in the home, would start with the chopping of wood, constructing with hand tools and from then on annually applying a coat of paint.
Hand Forged tools could be used on the land or domestic application. From Rush lamps, crusees or betty lamps to forged tools for cooking.
These items that we classify as primitives and treasure were not made for their aesthetics but for practicality.
Stoneware from the general merchants contained everything from vinegar to molasses to moon shine in half gallon to 20 gallon crocks that made up the yearly supply of preserves.
Todays collectible stoneware or crockery usually bears the name and town of the merchant. The merchant would give these embossed and painted crocks to special customers during the holiday seasons.
Families with more affluence could order from the Montgomery Ward catalogue everything from clothing to furniture. After the depression most families could only afford to purchase 2nd hand goods to furnish their homes.
What kind of measures do you have to take when talking to dealers?
If you are buying an “antique” as an investment do as much research about the manufacture/craftsman before hand. Most dealers will allow you to put an item on hold for a few days.
The internet has allowed us to research more quickly and broadly. Previously, research was limited to reference books, trips to the library, letters or long distance phone calls to track down any providence.
And even today we discover that the early reference books have information that has been proven incorrect with more advanced global communication.