Antique furniture is a popular area of antiques because furniture has obvious practical uses as well as collector value. Many collectors use antique furniture pieces in their homes, and care for them with the hope that the value of these items will remain same or appreciate. This is in contrast to buying new furniture, which typically depreciates from the moment of purchase.
Antique furniture includes dining tables, chairs, bureaus, chests etc. The most common woods are [[mahogany, oak, [[pine, [[walnut, and [[rosewood. Chinese antique furniture is often made with elm, a wood common to many regions in Asia. Each wood has a distinctive grain and color. Many modern pieces of furniture use
A true antique ( la|antiquus; 'old', 'ancient') is an item perceived as having value because of its aesthetic or historical significance, and often defined as at least 100 years old (or some other limit), although the term is often used loosely to describe any object that is old. An antique is usually an item that is collected or desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era or time period in human history. Vintage and collectible are used to describe items that are old, but do not meet the 100-year criterion.
Antiques are usually objects that show some degree of craftsmanship, collectability, or a certain attention to design, such as a desk or an early automobile. They are bought at
An antique shop (or antiques shop) is a retail store specializing in the selling of antiques. Antiques shops can be located either locally or, with the advent of the Internet, found online.
An antiques shop can also be located within an antique ...
s, estate sales, auction houses, online auctions, and other venues, or
inherited. Antiques dealers often belong to national
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association particip ...
, many of which belong to
CINOACINOA (''Confédération Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d'Art'', or International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations) is a Brussels-based international federation, founded in 1935, of antique and art dealers, representi ...
, a confederation of art and antique associations across 21 countries that represents 5,000 dealers.
The common definition of ''antique'' is a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age, but it varies depending on the item, its source, the year of its creation etc. The customary definition of antique requires that an item should be at least 100 years old and in original condition. (Motor vehicles are an exception to this rule, with some definitions requiring an automobile to be as little as 25 years old to qualify as an antique.
In the United States, the 1930
defined antiques as, "...works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or ...
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble is typically not foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term ''marble'' refers to metamorphosed limestone, b ...
Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. Terracotta is the term normally used for sculp ...
, pottery, or
Porcelain () is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including a material like kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between . The strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from v ...
, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830." 1830 was the approximate beginning of
Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of large amounts of standardized products in a constant flow, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch product ...
in the United States. These definitions were intended to allow people of that time to distinguish between genuine antique pieces,
''The Vintagers'', after a miniature of the "Dialogues de Saint Gregoire" (thirteenth century)—manuscript of the Royal Library of Belgium
Vintage, in winemaking, is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product—wine (see Har ...
items, and collectible objects.
The alternative term, ''
struggling with a Lapith on a metope from the Parthenon, in the British Museum (London), part of the Elgin Marbles
n lamassu in the Louvre
Antiquities are objects from Ancient history|antiquity, especially the civilizations of the Mediterranean: ...
'', commonly refers to the remains of ancient art and everyday items from
Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to
Historical objects or periods
*Antiquities, objects or artifacts surviving from ancient cultures
Any period before the European Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries) but still within Western civ ...
, which themselves are often archaeological
. An ''
's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655
An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: ''antiquarius'', meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the t ...
'' is a person who collects and studies antiquities or things of the past.
Traditionally, Chinese antiques are marked by a red
Seal may refer to any of the following:
* Pinniped, a diverse group of semi-aquatic marine mammals, many of which are commonly called seals, particularly:
** Earless seal, or "true seal"
** Fur seal
* Seal (emblem), a device to impres ...
, known as a 'chop', placed there by an owner. Experts can identify previous owners of an antique by reading the chops. The pre-revolution Chinese government tried to assist collectors of Chinese antiques by requiring their Department of Antiquities to provide a governmental chop on the bottom of a Chinese antique. This chop is visible as a piece of red
Sealing wax is a wax material of a seal which, after melting, hardens quickly (to paper, parchment, ribbons and wire, and other material) forming a bond that is difficult to separate without noticeable tampering. Wax is used to verify something such ...
that bears the government chop to verify the date of the antique. The
government of the People's Republic of China
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state.
In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a ...
has its own definitions of what it considers ''antique''. As of the
The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a violent sociopolitical purge movement in China from 1966 until 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC), its stated goal was ...
and China's opening trade to other countries, the government has tried to protect the definition of a Chinese antique.
''Antiquing'' is the act of shopping, identifying, negotiating, or bargaining for antiques. People buy items for personal use, gifts, or profit. Sources for antiquing include
A garage sale (also known as a yard sale, tag sale, moving sale and by many other namesSome rarely used names include "attic sale," "basement sale," "rummage sale," "thrift sale," "patio sale" and "lawn sale.") is an informal event for the sale ...
s and yard sales,
An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sale or auction to dispose of a substantial portion of the materials owned by a person who is recently deceased or who must dispose of their personal property to facilitate a move.
Reasons for an estate s ...
s, resort towns, antique districts,
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together to achieve a common objective. Collectives can differ from cooperatives in that they are not necessarily focused upon an ec ...
s, and international auction houses.
Note that ''antiquing'' also means the craft of making an object appear antique through
Distressing (or weathered look) in the decorative arts is the activity of making a piece of furniture or object appear aged and older, giving it a "weathered look", and there are many methods to produce an appearance of age and wear. Distressing ...
or using the antique-looking paint applications. Often, individuals get confused between these handmade distressed vintage or modern items and true antiques. Would-be antique collectors who are unaware of the differences may find themselves paying a high amount of money for something that has little value in the antiquing industry.