Feb 16, 2011

Is Vintage Older than Antique?

I visited a craft-slash-antique store yesterday.  Although I love the Antiques Roadshow I'm not really an antique shopper.  I had another reason for going.  I am going to make a necklace holder.  My plan is to take a nice big old picture frame, the more ornate the better, and paint it gold.  Then where the painting normally goes I'm going to place a piece of  velvet lined cork board.  Either a bright green or deep purple velvet.  Next I'll add some ornate nails all over the board and then hang it on the wall.  Boom, necklace holder.  My current method is to drape necklaces over the edge of a picture I have hanging in my bathroom.  It's not very efficient. I'll post a pic once I'm done.

Anyway, I searched this craft/antique store and found nada, zilch, zip in the way of old frames.  All the frames had old timey paintings in them. I also saw a lot of the 3D String Art things everyone did back in the 70's.

I was almost tempted to buy two framed illustration pages from old encyclopedias.  One was a page of wild flower pictures and the other was garden flowers.  I resisted.  My next stop to find a frame is the Salvation Army.

One thing I noticed today is that many of the items I grew up with are now considered antiques.  Not only is the kitschy crap from my childhood fetching a pretty hefty price but so are ordinary mundane objects like corning ware.  Pretty ironic when you consider that not 15 years ago we were offloading this crap at garage sales at prices ranging from 5 cents to 1 dollar.  Now that Mork & Mindy lunchbox has a sticker price of $29.95 and that's with no thermos and rusted edges all around.  Imagine if it were in mint condition.

At first I asked myself why we didn't save all this shit?  We could be rich.  Then I remembered that we had to make room for all the new shit.  Here's a sampling of some of the items from my childhood that now populate the antique store shelves.

There's still hope for my box of beanie babies 20 or 30 years down the road.


  1. I see things in antique stores with big prices that are identical to the old stuff I am still using in my kitchen.
    I think I would prefer to be referred to as vintage than antique. Vintage sounds so much classier.

  2. Forget the antique shops, we get all our good stuff from Vinnies (Op Shop think you call them thrift stores?)
    I'm with Mom, I'd rather be Vintage.

  3. Your phrase about "Then I remembered that we had to make room for all the new shit" reminded me of George Carlin's bit about "stuff"--have you ever seen it? Hilarious! :)

  4. Mom - I agree. Vintage sounds better, no matter which one is older. I did notice a few things that my Mom still has being sold in the store. The best antique store purchase I ever made was a big cast iron dutch oven like my Mom's. Makes the best pot roast.

    Foxy - I agree, the antique stores charge too much. Awesome website called Etsy.com sells a lot of hand made items and also "vintage" at much more reasonable prices.

    MHP - I think I've heard that one before. But it's true. Back in the day we made chose poorly in the Sony Beta vs. VHS war. I sold that Beta machine at a garage sale for practically nothing. These days you can get a pretty penny for them.

  5. Typically, antique is older than vintage. When you look around on eBay, you'll generally notice that the antique items are older than vintage. Generally, items from the late 1960s-1980s (with the early '90s soon to take place) are considered vintage, with the 1920s-early 1960s a mixture of vintage and antique, the older you go the more likely it is to be considered antique (to me a sudden rise in value of those midcentury items is a sure sign of the transition from "vintage" to "antique" starting to take place. I also dig ephemera given that an enviornment before Adobe Illustrator will never happen again.