Antique and vintage are two of the most common terms that are confused and interchanged erroneously to refer to old or ancient things. However, the definition of vintage is not the same as that of antique. Therefore, if these two terms do not mean the same thing, what do they actually mean? We will look at what these terms represent and how best we can use them to our benefit, especially for those who want to sell antique coins.


For those who have taken their time browsing through the flea market to purchase an all-time material, it is clear that it can be a daunting task coupled with confusing and nostalgic feelings. The term antique refers to items that have existed for at least 100 years. This rule applies to all items made before 1922. Easily perishable items such as books and glassware are assumed that they should become antiques earlier because of their risk of getting destroyed. However, the 100-year-rule applies to all items despite the risk they carry.

Therefore, in the past, there have been several antique periods presenting several antique items. Since there is an item manufactured every single day, there are items that become antiques daily. However, the presentation of antique items varies depending on how old they are. For instance, the design and style of an antique desk created 250 years ago will not match the antiqueness of the same item created 100 years ago.

Antique Timelines Since the 15th Century

Here is a list of antique periods that have existed since the 15th century.

Between 1685 and 1720:  William and Mary

Between 1720 and 1760:  Queen Anne/Louis XV

Between 1755 and 1790:  Chippendale

Between 1790 and 1810:  Sheraton

Between 1790 and 1815:  Federal/Hepplewhite

Between 1805 and 1830: The Empire

Between 1830 and 1901:  Victorian

Between 1845 and 1870:  Rococo Revival

Between 1850 and 1914:  Naturalist/Aesthetic

Between 1855 and 1890:  Neo-Greek/Eastlake

Between 1895 and 1915:  Arts and Crafts

Between 1896 and 1914:  Art Nouveau

It should be noted that these periods overlap. Items that were designed over 300 years ago can be considered artifacts. For those owning antique furniture, it should be known that preservation is by far the most important thing. Antiques should be stored in rooms with optimal humidity and temperature. These items should be kept away from direct sunlight and dusted daily, and they will be maintained. In no case whatsoever should the pieces be repainted. This may not apply when acquiring or selling antique coins since they are meant to last with or without proper care.


While there is an age limit to the term antique, the term vintage has no age limit. This is an important point for those who want to sell antique coins. Vintage items are simply old items. It makes it more difficult to place a specific age requirement on items referred to as antiques. Since vintage means old and antique items over 100 years of age, then it is clear that antique items are also vintage items. Still, vintage items do not automatically qualify as antique items.

Most people have concluded that vintage items should be about 20-99 years old to prevent them from overlapping with antique items. It should also be noted that vintage items are more so a memory to those who owned them and can be passed down to friends and family as an example of love and care. For instance, items that qualify as vintage include bracelets, trading cards, clothing, comics, and others.

Vintage items, also unlike antiques, are seen are a representation of the year in which they are from. For instance, clothing with a particular design will represent the year in which they were designed or gained popularity. An example of this would be a poodle skirt that represented the 1950s. Aesthetics crafted between 1920 and 1945 are referred to as art deco, while those between 1945 and 1970 are midcentury modern. Now that there is a clear line between antique and vintage items, we should look at the perspective drawn by retro items.

Retro items are simply a representation of older items in a more recent form. Retros are newly designed items that represent designs made in the past. In this case, retro items would include a clock designed to mimic those made in midcentury modernism. Most people may be unable to differentiate between vintage and retro items.

This is because retro items emulate both the form and style of the vintage piece. It will require a person who is well-informed on vintage items to tell the difference between the two items. However, the most common feature of retro items is that they are much cheaper than vintage items. Vintage items appreciate the more they continue to exist. Retro items are not expected to last.

Identifying Antiques

Knowing how to identify antiques is the first step for those who want to sell antique coins. These are a few tips that can be used to distinguish between antique and vintage products.

Look for cues that will indicate when the piece was made. Most parts, upon completion, usually have a manufacturing date embedded in them. Other signs may be included in their design, such as imperfections proving they were made by hand.

When viewing furniture pieces, one can examine the type of wood that was used to make the piece. Most antique pieces have different kinds of wood since their makers did not want to waste valuable wood in areas that did not catch the eye.

The third most efficient way is to look and determine whether the item is still in use today. Most antique items are not used today. When selling antique coins, their value is attached to the fact that they were used ages ago as opposed to the present.

The other tip is to look for signs of wear and tear. Wear and tear indicate that it has been passed through the ages. Newer items will have less wear and tear and more elaborate features.

Finally, the other effective way to determine an antique piece is by looking for the item’s patent number. It could be a production date that will push for its authenticity. Knowing the difference between antiques and vintages is important for companies selling antique coins.