antiques vs retro vs vintage office cardIs it possible for something to be retro, vintage and antique? If you are a certain seller  I saw recently, um no,  no and no! In reality, yes but not nearly as often as Ebay would have you believe.

Also amused by some cute young things at one of my local coffee shops selling their ‘vintage’ clothing aka two season’s past Sass & Bide to fund an overseas holiday.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time. Definitely not the first to discuss the issue, there’s a great [old] article on Apartment Therapy.  The comments are also worth reading.

This is my favourite from Deniseb:

I noticed yesterday on Craigslist [online classifieds] something listed as being both antique and from Pottery Barn.

And another comment highlights a purist’s view that an 100 year old piece of mass-produced furniture can’t be classified as antique.

Blogger Pollybland also covers the retro vs  vintage vs antique debate.

The general consensus supported by online dictionary Merriam Webster is that an antique is

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 ago.

When it comes to cars however, The Antique Automobile Club of America defines an antique as 50 years or older. [Wikipedia]

Merriam Websters defines vintage as

of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic
dating from the past : old

If you are selling on Etsy vintage items need to be at least 20 years old. It’s one of the reasons I changed platforms.  Sometimes I just don’t know for sure. Other times I have newer stuff.

Here’s something acurately described on ebay! [because it was In a forum] :

The correct usage of the word vintage must be used with a year.

my car is vintage 2001…my computer is vintage 1999… this WWII item is vintage 1943…

retro is less age specific and more of a vibe, defined as

relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.
[Merriam Webster again]

Retro furniture may not actually be old but it references styles of the recent past.
[Apartment Therapy]

So, an 100 year old  [preferably hand made] item is an antique, being vintage 1913 and looks retro because it was made in the style of the time.
Would love to know how many of the 2637 items that come up when I type in retro vintage antique on ebay are actually valid
but hey, in the end I’m old enough to care but too young to write a strong worded complaint Grampa Simpson style.

The Simpsons Grampa angy old man

When I read your magazine, I don’t see one wrinkled face or single toothless grin.  For shame!
To the sickos at `Modern Bride’ magazine.

Grampa Simpson types an angry letter.
The Front, The Simpsons Season 4, Ep 19