Diana off Duty

Vintage, antique or second hand - what is the difference?

Vintage, antique or second hand - what is the difference?

I see a lot of people confusing the words vintage, antique and second hand. Don't get me wrong, I love second hand, charity shops and thrifting as a whole, but I don't really have actual vintage or antique pieces. Maybe one, but I am not sure I can even count that.

Starting with the most obvious one - second hand is everything, which has been used before. The clothes you got from your mother or grandmother, the ones you exchanged with a friend, or ones from Depop, Facebook groups and charity shops. A lot of people think that every second hand thing is vintage, but that's very much not the case. 

Yes, both antique and vintage pieces are old.However, in the trade business you need the year of production in order to be able to classify a piece as vintage or antique. However, this does not mean that every old thing is vintage or antique. 

When we talk about the year of when something was produced, we do it with the idea that it has been crafted better, that it is more durable or more interesting. But just because something is old it doesn't mean that it holds value. In most cases that's actually going to lessen its value. For vintage and antique pieces it is important to note the quality we associate with different eras. 

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Antique vs vintage


If I do have to be honest, almost everything can be considered antique. In technology, for example, machines created over 10 years ago can be considered antiques. We decide whether something is antique or not from the age of the item.In most cases you would say that an antique is at least 100 years oldand their value is determined from their importance in history and their aesthetic value. 

However, there are some cases when we don't consider that set standart. In this case we are talking about hereditary items which, in order to be considered as antiques, need to have been in at least 2 generations, where we consider a generation to last 40 years. This makes it possible that an antique can be only 80 years old. 

difference vintage retro antique
vintage retro antique


The term 'vintage' relates to items which are more recent than antiques. Some people think that if something isn't old enough to be an antique, then it is vintage. Although that could be the general idea, that is definitely not the case. It is possible for something to be old without it being neither antique, nor vintage..

The termvintageactually has a few meanings. The most loosely used one is that vintage is an item, which bears fashion value and was fashionable in a different era than the current one.According to experts in trade, the term 'vintage' means that something is at least 50 years old, but less than 100.However, this does not include newer things, like computers or mobile phones. 

The term 'vintage' actually comes from the process of dating bottles of wine. In this case, if the harvest in a specific year was good, then the wine which has been bottled in that year is considered to be of a higher quality. This is why one of the most important things to take into consideration when classifying something as vintage, is the year it was produced. This is how we determine the value of an item. 

This is why not everything second hand is vintage. Some things are just used, while others were important for their time. 

Do you have vintage or antique pieces?

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