Difference Between Antique and Vintage

Main Difference – Antique vs Vintage

You must have heard the two terms antique and vintage in relation to clothing, jewelry, furniture, vehicles, etc. An item’s age is one of the main factors that determine its value. Antique and vintage are two terms that refer to the age of an item. There is a debate over the age limitations of antiques and vintages. But, it is generally accepted that an antique must be at least 100 years old whereas a vintage must be at least 20 years old. This is the main difference between antique and vintage.

This article explains,

1. What Does Antique Mean? – Meaning, Specifications and Characteristics, Usage

2. What Does Vintage Mean? – Meaning, Specifications and Characteristics, Usage

3. Difference Between Antique and VintageDifference Between Antique and Vintage - Antique vs. Vintage Comparison Summary

What is an Antique

An antique is a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality. It is a relic of ancient times. An antique shows some degree of craftsmanship. An antique is considered as a collectible item due its age, rarity, condition, beauty, personal emotional connection, and other unique features.

By common custom laws, an item must be at least hundred years to be termed an antique. For example, a Queen Anne style couch is considered an antique, but a 50s retro style couch cannot be called an antique.

Antiques can be bought at antique shops, auction houses, estate sales, online auctions, and other venues. The term antique is used to refer to a wok of art, furniture, jewelry, or decorative objects. Furniture is a very popular area in antiques.

Main Difference - Antique vs Vintage

Antique Shop

What is Vintage

The term vintage has several meanings. Vintage basically means that  the item is of a fashion that was popular in a different era. Vintage usually refers to items that are less than 100 years old. There are two contrasting views about the minimum age limit; some are of the view that an item has to be at least 50 years old to be called vintage whereas some use the term vintage for items that are older than 20 years. Items which are over 50 years are sometimes called true vintage and those that are over 20 years are called new vintage. So, your mother’s wedding dress from the 1980s can be classified as new vintage whereas your grand mother’s wedding dress from 40s can be classified as true vintage.

However, vintage is often used to describe an item when that item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. The Cambridge dictionary defines the adjective as “of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past” Thus, an item should be representational and recognizable to a certain degree as belonging to the era in which it was made, to be called vintage. The term vintage is also used with the relevant year. For example, vintage 1963 model Mercedes Benz, vintage 1970s bracelet, etc.

Difference Between Antique and Vintage

Difference Between Antique and Vintage


Antique is used to refer to items that are at least older than 100 years.

Vintage is used to refer to items that are older than 20 years.


Antique refers to items that are centuries old.

Vintage refers to items that are decades old.


Antiques do not usually state the year.

Vintage items usually come with the year.


The term antique is used with art, furniture, decorative objectives, jewelry, etc.

The term vintage is used with clothes, jewelry, vehicles, etc.


Image Courtesy: 

“dress pattern 4” Laineys Repertoire (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

“Antique Shop” solarisgirl  (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.