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
antiques shop . 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 ...

antiques shop
s, estate sales, auction houses, online auctions, and other venues, or
inherited. Antiques dealers often belong to national
trade associations 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 ...

trade associations
, 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
Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
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 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 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 ...

terra cotta 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 ...

terra cotta
, pottery, or
porcelain 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 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 ...

mass production
in the United States. These definitions were intended to allow people of that time to distinguish between genuine antique pieces,
vintage ''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, ''
antiquities 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 Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to Historical objects or periods Artifacts *Antiquities, objects or artifacts surviving from ancient cultures Eras Any period before the European Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries) but still within Western civ ...

, which themselves are often archaeological
. An ''
antiquarian '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 Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * 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 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 ...

sealing wax
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 ...

government of the People's Republic of China
has its own definitions of what it considers ''antique''. As of the
Cultural Revolution 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 ...

Cultural Revolution
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
garage sale 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 ...

garage sale
s and yard sales,
estate sale 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 ...

estate sale
s, resort towns, antique districts,
collective 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 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.


280px|Furniture antiques from the Chinese
280px|Furniture antiques from the Chinese [[Liao dynasty
" >
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
laminate 250px|Laminate flooring Lamination is the technique/process of manufacturing a material in multiple layers, so that the composite material achieves improved strength, stability, sound insulation, appearance, or other properties from the use of ...

wood veneer In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood and sometimes bark, usually thinner than 3 mm (1/8 inch), that typically are glued onto core panels (typically, wood, particle board or medium-density fiberboard) to produce flat panels suc ...

wood veneer
to achieve the same effect. There are a number of different styles of antique furniture depending on when and where it was made. Some examples of stylistic periods are:
Arts & Crafts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity found in human cultures and societies through skills and imagination in order to produce objects, environments and experiences. Major constituents of th ...

Arts & Crafts
Regency A regent (from the Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin: 'for the time being') because the regnant monarch is a minor, is absent, abdicated the throne, is incapacitated or dead, or unable to d ...

, and

See also

List of antiques experts
List of antiques experts
Antiquarian book trade in the United States '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 ...

Antiquarian book trade in the United States
Antique toolAlthough an antique tool might be said to be one that is more than a hundred years old, the term is often used to describe any old tool of quality that might be deemed collectable. The use of tools is one of the primary means by which humans are dis ...

Antique tool
Antiques restoration Antiques restoration is restoring an antique or work of art to a like-new condition, or preserving an antique or work of art against further deterioration as in conservation. Restoration Restoration can be as simple as light cleaning to remove ...

Antiques restoration
Antiques Roadshow ''Antiques Roadshow'' is a British television programme broadcast by the BBC in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom (and occasionally in other countries) to appraise antiques brought in by local people (gen ...

Antiques Roadshow
Authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proving an assertion, such as the identity of a computer system user. In contrast with identification, the act of indicating ...

Del Mar Antique Show
Del Mar Antique Show
The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show ''The'' () is a grammatical article in English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite article in English. ''The'' is the most ...
* Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show *
Primitive decoratingPrimitive decorating is a style of decorating using primitive folk art style that is characteristic of a historic or early Americana time period, typically using elements with muted colors and a rough and simple look to them. Decorating in the primit ...
, a style of decorating using antiques *
American Pickers ''American Pickers'' is an American reality television series that premiered on January 18, 2010 on History, produced by A&E Television Networks in collaboration with Cineflix Media. Overview The show follows antique and collectible pickers Mik ...
Vintage (design) Vintage design refers to an item of another era that holds important and recognizable value. This style can be applied to interior design, decor and other areas. Vintage design is popular and vintage items have risen in price. Outlets of vintage d ...
Relic In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism ...


External links

* {{Authority control
Category:Collecting {{Commons category|Collecting Articles relating to collecting, a hobby which includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining items that are of interest to an individual ''collector''. Category:Col ...