“Why buy vintage and antique items?”, I’ve always been asked this question by people around me. I would like to address that question on this blog.
Let me start from the beginning. My love affair with anything vintage started twelve years ago. We just moved into our new condominium and the only thing we had then was a mattress. We needed to buy all the necessary appliances and furniture to make it livable. Unfortunately, we had to do this on a limited budget.
Thankfully, a friend of ours was moving house and her family were trying to dispose some of their old furniture, one of which was a 1920’s Art Deco dining table made of narra. Narra is a type of hard and heavy wood endemic to Southeast Asia, North Australasia and islands in the west of the Pacific Ocean.
They sold the table to us for P10,000 Philippine pesos roughly about $200 US dollars. Anyway, to cut the long story short, we used that table for 5 years. Imagine my surprise when after 5 years of using it, we were able to resell that table for P25,000 Philippine pesos (US$500) which was more than twice the original amount.
In a world where furniture is considered a depreciable property, obviously, this is not always the case. There are furniture out there that can actually appreciate in value over time.
You will probably argue that we got the table for a bargain because we bought it from a friend. That may be true, however, during the course of time, we were able to duplicate this scenario not only with furniture but also with other antique or vintage items such art works, jewelries, luxury watches and even designer items. We never looked back since then.
Antique vs Vintage vs Retro
Let me first define the difference between antique, vintage and retro. While both items are considered old, the main difference lies on the age of the items. To be considered an antique, that item needs to be at least 100 years old.
Vintage items are generally much younger. Any item more than 30 years old is already considered vintage. Since different decades have different characteristics, normally, the year always has to follow when describing something as vintage. For example, my car is a vintage 1953.
Since it is now 2019, items before 1989 are considered vintage while all items produced earlier than 1919 are considered antiques. Anything younger is considered retro or out-of-date or something from the recent past.
Generally, the older the item, the more expensive it is. That is why collecting antiques is a luxurious hobby that only the affluent can afford. The rich almost always include antique and vintage items as part of their investment portfolio. For those who are just starting to invest, vintage items are a good starting point.
And this leads us to the first reason why you should buy antique or vintage items:
If you can afford to buy antique items, then do so. For those who are just starting to invest, vintage items are a good alternative. A carefully chosen item can turn into a treasured heirloom. If you own it long enough, there is a big probability that you will receive big money for it in the future. Thus, a great number of people buy it as a form of long-term investment.
As opposed to buying new items or furniture that will depreciate in value over time, why not opt for something that you can not only use but also appreciates in value ? The value of a piece depends not just on quality but also its exclusiveness and rarity. New items can always be produced by demand but that is not the case for antique and vintage items. There is always an unmet demand.
Aside from the investment component, there are other reasons why you you should buy antique or vintage items:
We now live in an era where counterfeit goods are everywhere. Almost all products such as food, watches, medicines, cosmetics, and leather goods have counterfeit versions. In fact, according to the latest report of the International Chamber of Commerce, the counterfeit goods are now a US $2.3 trillion industry.
More and more people are now buying fake goods. Although tempting because they cost less than the original, these goods are inferior in quality and sometimes harmful. With antique and vintage items, you are sure that what you are buying are authentics. So, why settle for a reproduction when you can have the real thing?
In the old days, there are still no cellphone, no TV, no ipad, no internet, etc…so people has a lot of time on their hands. So, they take extra care in creating something beautiful. Attention to detail is highly valued. Most of these items are carved, cut and polished by hand and not made by machines. Thus, they are considered works of art. Focus on items then is on quality rather than quantity.
All antiques and some vintage items were created during the time when mass production was still unheard of. So, each piece is unique, original and one-of-a-kind. Imagine owning or wearing something that no one else in the world owns?
This is just one of the reasons why many celebrities are such big fans of vintage clothing. Remember the black and white vintage Valentino dress that Julio Roberts worn at the 73rd Academy Awards way back in 2001 when she won the best actress for Erin Brockovich? Up until today, that vintage Valentino is still considered one of the most iconic Oscar dresses of all time.
With vintage clothing, you don’t need to worry about walking into a room and seeing another person wearing the same thing as you. When people walked to you to compliment your clothes or accessories for example and asked you where you bought it, you can say, “It’s vintage.” How cool is that?
Every piece of antique and vintage item has its own place in history. It served as witness of an era wherein we can only imagine. Each piece served as a wonderful opportunity to interact with the past. It gives a deeper appreciation of history and a priceless knowledge of the people who lived then. By owning one, you actually become a part of that history.
By patronizing antique and vintage items, you are actually helping the environment. These items do not cut down new trees nor do they contribute to industrial pollution. By buying and restoring them, you are actually recycling and reusing old items and thus contributing to sustainable development.
7. Value for Money
Although antique and vintage items are generally more expensive than their modern counterpart, you will definitely get your money’s worth. Aside from its quality, the fact that it is still being sold up to this day is already a proof of its durability and quality. Its value more often than not appreciates over time. So, you always have the option of reselling it later on. The same cannot be said with modern items for their values depreciate over time.
And besides, not all antiques and vintage items are expensive. You can always find bargains at yard sales and flea markets as long as you enjoy the thrill of hunting for good finds.
8. Accent and Conversation Piece
Because of their uniqueness, antique and vintage items can serve as accent pieces both in fashion and interior design. You can actually mix antique and vintage with modern furniture. By mixing the old and the new, you will achieve that modern look but with a touch of old-world charm.
Take a look at the photo below. The contemporary interior design were accentuated by mid-century vintage items like the lounge chair, chandelier, coffee tables and stand light.
Moreover, since every item has a story, it can also be an interesting topic of conversation. Whether it has been passed down from generations or it is part of your collections, whatever it is, it tells something about you.
Because of its intrinsic and personal value, antique and vintage pieces can be passed down to your family from generation to generation.
10. Heritage Conservation
And lastly, by patronizing antique and vintage items, you are actually partaking in the preservation of heritage items for the future generations to appreciate.