How to Shop for Antiques

How to Shop for Antiques

Vintage vs. Antique

Any avid collector will tell you that there are differences between a vintage item and antique items.

  • Vintage: Items that are not new, but have retained value and appeal. Vintage items can technically be any age within a timeline i.e., 50s, 60s, 70s. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if an item is labeled as a “vintage collectible” this item must be at least 50 years old.
  • Antique: The FTC states that any item labeled as an antique must be at least 100 years old. Some newer vendors might miss label an item as antique, so it’s important to do research on items you are looking to collect.

Find Your Style

Understand your style and find a tasteful way to accent your home using items you collect. If you envy others with neat trinkets and would like to do the same kind of thing, start by exploring items you already own. By dusting off the old chest of stored goods you’ve been leaving in the attic you might rekindle feelings of nostalgia. These are the types of items that pull at your heart and create a need to expand your collection. Once you find objects worth assembling, do research on the items. If you are unsure of the asking price for the treasures you are looking to collect, check online.

Why Do People Collect Antiques?
For many people collecting is more than just a hobby; it’s therapeutic. The pleasure gained from collecting antiques comes from these reasons:

  • A chance to learn about the history involved with the collectible
  • Possible financial gain
  • Sharing findings with other collectors
  • Getting in touch with your past
  • Having something to pass down to children


Flea Markets are notoriously the best places to find collectors items. However, it’s very important to know what you are looking for before going to a Flea Market. Having a good sense of what you are trying to collect sounds simple, but often overlooked. For example, if you were collecting vintage china it would be a good idea to start investigating the ins and outs of what other china collectors do. Know what you’re buying and never be afraid to ask for advice. A seasoned buyer would tell you that between the 1950s-1980s patterns were popular, but some are more rare than others. Being well versed on what you are collecting is part of the fun. It’s trendy to have conversational pieces when you have company over.

image of antiques at swapandshoplodi

Know What You Are Collecting
Once you feel like you have a good grasp on what you need to look for when buying collectibles, it’s time to start! Now, a good thing to keep in mind while going to a Flea Market is that you may or may not find what you are looking for the first couple of times you go.

Finding treasure isn’t easy, it may take you months to find exactly what you are looking for, but it’s well worth your time once you do.

Don’t stop going to one Flea Market because you didn’t find what you wanted the first time. The example that is usually given by a good collector is that it’s similar to going to the beach and looking for seashells. If you go to the beach right after high tide brings you a variety of shells, you have more options than if you went to the beach a few hours after low tide. You also can’t go to the beach and expect to see a non-broken conch shell each time you go the beach.

Vendors at Flea Markets change often and this means that each week has a different variety of goods. You can find items like this handheld brass telescope with a wooden box to store it. 


Thank you for stopping by Swap and Shop Lodi

Are Antiques a gigantic Waste of Imagination?

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