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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Makes Something Antique?

In today's day and age, we are often so quick to label items as "antiques", but what makes something antique? Is it based simply on the way the item looks or is it derived more so from how old it is?

Well, most antique dealers refer to anything that is 100 years or older as an antique. However, if there is an item that is pretty old but not quite at 100 years yet, then it is usually called vintage. In fact, in 1930 the U.S. government even created a tax law where an item had to be put together before 1830 to even be considered an antique. That's because 1830 was known as the Era of Mass Production, which is when many products at the time were made. In this law, antiques were described as "works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830."

As many people already know, antiques aren't usually taxable items, so that's why in 1966, this concept of antiques needing to be at least 100 years old was adopted. Now, people can't pretend something they own is an antique in order to cheat the government. At this same time, the tax law set forth in 1930 was revised a bit. It was changed to include the phrasing, "if the essential character is changed, or more than 50 percent of the item has been repaired or restored, the item is no longer considered an antique and is subject to duty.” Of course, though, an exception to this rule would be products like cars, since they are always being used and therefore don't last as long as other items would. For them, an antique would be considered any vehicle over 25 years old.

It's important to note that while this is the guidelines some antique dealers go by, a lot of others don't. There are a bunch of dealers that instead feel that an item between 80 and 100 years old is what makes something antique.


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