Florida - It's been sometime now, but the shift, while seemingly imperceptible at first, has finally come full circle. The terms Antique Shop, Antiques Store and to a lesser extent, Antiques Business, have generally always referred to the concern of one who collects and sells old things - even if some of the items didn't quite match the 100 year-old "antique" threshold - they were usually still included as such.
Fast-forward a couple decades, and what was once considered the granddaddy of collecting terminology - antiques - is now not only sharing its king-like moniker with a new upstart, but in some cases it's being completely replaced by the "V" word.
The term vintage has slowly managed to creep into the lexicon of general consumer collecting over the past twenty years - spurred on originally by the reselling of textiles and vintage clothing, but now encompassing literally all areas of the collecting universe. In some instances (as we've written about in the past), there has even been a comingling of the words to form such eye-catching creations as, "vantique" or "Vintique Items For Sale." And, while the meaning behind the term antique may be quite clear, and the term vintage somewhat clear, new descriptors such as vintique and vantique are beginning to blur the lines.
Collectors and dealers who once referred to toys and games from the 1970's merely as collectibles, can often find themselves being viewed sideways now by a hipper and younger group, who'll often insist on the vintage moniker being applied to virtually anything in the store.
Tom Ridgemore, a dealer from West Texas said that he feels almost antiquated himself unless he signs-on to the new verbiage being used by the younger collectors and buyers. "These kids will literally refer to anything in my store that isn't brown, as vintage!" Ridgemore isn't alone in his assessment as many other dealers have taken to adding the vintage moniker to their storefront, web pages and business cards. "It isn't about whether we actually carry vintage items," said Shirley Dinsmore, a dealer from Wichita, Kansas, "but whether or not we have the term vintage associated with our business."
Older dealers admit that it's taking some effort to adjust to the new world order of expressions and terminology, but that it's simply a sign of the times. "A new generation of collectors and buyers are here," said Ridgemore, "they're the one's setting the rules of the road now, and if I don't like it, I'll just have to park on the side - or choose to go with the flow I guess..."
For many, the explosive growth of mega sites such as Etsy, which allows collectors and dealers the chance to hawk their wares on their own online vintage store, is all the proof most people need when it comes to acknowledging the changing of the guard in the lexicon of collector expressions. "Five years ago there were antique shows, said Sue Holloway, a social media developer for antique malls and shows across the country, "today, there isn't a show out there that doesn't incorporate the word vintage into its overall advertising campaign."
For the rest of us, acknowledging these changes may take some time, but the truth of the matter for those within the business is pretty clear - the sooner the better!
- AIA Staff Writer's
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