An antique is an old collectable item. 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, yet it does in fact vary depending on the source, product, and year. Motor vehicles are an exception to the 100-year rule. The customary definition of antique requires that an item be at least 100 years old and in original, unaltered condition—which excludes most cars. Therefore, cars are generally considered antique if 25 years old or more.
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 sales and yard sales, estate sales, resort towns, antique districts, collectives, and international auction houses.
Note that antiquing also means the craft of making an object appear antique through distressing or applying an antique-looking paint applications. Often, individuals get confused between these handmade distressed vintage or modern items and true antiques.
The term vintage often suggest a specific year of creation, such as a 1968 Bob Mackie vintage gown.
Distinguishing between vintage and antique is not always as easy as one might hope, at least when it comes to collectibles. One difference between vintage and antique appears to be the perceived relevance of the item.
Sometimes sellers will use the terms interchangeably, which can lead to some confusion for potential buyers. The 100 year rule for antique designation is not always in effect, and the term “vintage” may be applied to almost any item past a certain age, whether it is considered valuable or not. A vintage toy robot from the 1960s is not the same as an incomplete board game from the 1980s, although the seller may describe both as vintage. Others may use the terms retro or classic to describe reproductions made to resemble actual vintage items.
Overall the difference between vintage and antique appears to be one of age and marketability. Antique furniture and other collectibles over 100 years old are generally handled by professional antiques dealers or history buffs, while vintage items are often bought and sold by private collectors or amateur enthusiasts.