What do the words vintage and antique mean? How much difference is there between vintage and antique?
Could the furniture and decor in both photos be considered vintage or antique? Does one setting look more modern than the other? Is something vintage or antique according to its age or style or does something have to be a collectible to be one or the other?
The U.S. Customs says for an article to qualify as an antique for CBP purposes, it must be over 100 years of age at the time of importation. We couldn’t find anything related to vintage except this postcard.
At the online selling venue Etsy, an item has to be at least 20 years old for you to be able to list it as vintage. We found it interesting that the French word “vingtaine” translated to English is “around twenty.” Could that be where Etsy came up with vintage being at least 20 years old? There is no specification for an antique. Searching for vintage, the results were 5,078,763 items. When listing an item at Etsy you have to choose from a drop down list of when your item was made. Currently showing under vintage is:
- Sometime before 1995
- Before 1700
Searching at eBay for vintage, there are 3,942,619 listings with 1,121,778 of those listings in the Collectibles category. There is no vintage category, however there is one for antiques.
Online dictionaries reference vintage to winemaking as a noun and verb. As an adjective though, the word vintage is used to:
- describe something that is not new but that is valued because of its good condition, attractive design, etc.
- describe something that has the best qualities or characteristics of the things made or done by a particular person, organization, etc.
- denote something of high quality, especially something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person’s work
- age a period of origin or manufacture
- represent the high quality of a past time
- define the best of its kind
Synonyms of vintage are antique, old-timey, old–fashioned, and retro. Antonyms are contemporary, current, modern, new age, and up-to-date.
The online dictionaries define antique as
- something made in an earlier period and valued because it is old, rare, or of high quality
- a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years old
- something that is collected and valued for its beauty, workmanship, and age
- a relic or object of ancient times
- existing since or belonging to earlier times
- dating from a period long ago
- noting or pertaining to automobiles approximately 25 years old or more
Synonyms of antique are ancient, archaic, bygone, dateless, obsolete, old, and out-of-date. Antonyms are current, modern, new, recent, and up-to-date.
We found it odd that the dictionaries list a synonym of vintage as antique but did not list a synonym of antique as vintage.
How do you define vintage and antique?