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Antiques in



What is an Antique?  Anyone who browses antique shops these days, the question "What is an antique?" seems to be confusing - more so when visiting a mall or antique flea market. Primarily because of the sheer quantity and variation of the goods being offered. It is safe to say though that most dealers are also collectors and not everyone has the same opinion as to what is appealing to their own eye. Once upon a time antiques were defined as objects made before 1830; however, this the age which defined craftsmanship from the machine age.  In 1930 the U.S. Government ruled that objects had to be at least 100 years old to be classified as antiques, so they could be admitted duty free into the U.S. But that was a legislative tax decision. Another factor in defining an antique is that the age of antiques seems to vary in relation to their environment. And so the perception of "What is antique?" changes from region to region and one part of the world to another. Craftsmanship is the defining asset of many antiques.

Antiques VS Antiquities?  American made antiques are are rarely called antiquities unless they are Native American or Spanish buildings in the Southwest - even then antiquities is a stretch. In Europe and other parts of the world, antique shops are often called "antiquities" shops.  An item from  the Roman era, or prehistory artifacts or other surviving artifacts from earlier ages of mankind do come on the market.

Antiques Vs Heirlooms?  A Heirloom is something we are personally associated with, inherited, handed down by a family member from just one generation or through many generations. This item may have no particular pedigree or paper, or just a story behind its background and why it is a family treasure. The truth is in the item itself and the workmanship and characteristics which identify the item where its value lies. If you have the pedigree and documentation as well will be what makes it valuable to someone else. Bottom line is that an antique is what the collector knows or perceives it to be and nothing more.

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