Finding Vintage Treasures


At The Vintage on Main, we have enjoyed collecting antiques and vintage items for many years.    Some may say we are antiques ourselves . . . that is to be debated!!

Regularly this page will feature information on finding vintage treasures,  starting a collection, determining the value of your treasurers, how to protect your collections, learning about silver, glassware and other types of collectibles - just to mention a few areas. 


Please respond to the link below if you have questions or want more information at


Let’s start by defining the term “antique” -  I love the definition, Patrick Sandberg, a London antiques dealer used as his definition…

“Antiques are a piece of history, frozen in an object. They represent a time, a place, a maker and an owner. Each one has had an incredible journey, and their story is entwined with the item.”

The word ‘antique’ is often used interchangeably with vintage or collectible items.

However, the terminology used doesn’t really affect the value of the item.  The age of the item becomes the key factor.    As a collector you need to research and determine the age of your items.



Within the industry and among experts, definitions of “antique” will differ.  But one point is usually the safest place to start, the 100-year rule.  When I started my journey in collecting antiques in the mid-seventies, I remember that the I loved tiger oak furniture, that was popular in the 1920s. However, during that time, true antique dealers did not feature tiger oak furniture because it was only approaching 50 years of age.  Now, my tiger oak piece is over 100 years old.  So, it qualifies as an antique today if you use given the 100-year rule.  It is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture!

That is another part of collecting, make sure it appeals to you.   Most antique collectors do not go into collecting to sell their items.   It is important that personal taste is part of your decision to purchase an antique.  In case you are going to have it for several years!

After determining the age of your items, you will need to research it to determine if it is of value.  It is said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sometime value becomes in the eye of the owner.   We get attached to a piece and expect more for it than it may be worth.


So how do you determine value?

There are several factors to consider when assessing the value of an antique, but some of the more common ones include:   

  • age

  • rarity

  • quality

  • historical significance

  • current taste

Age is the actual age, which we have determined that 100 years old is what qualifies most pieces as an antique.   However, vintage pieces can be defined as antiqueold-fashionedold-schoolold-time or retro.   The most common words I hear when someone is shopping in The Vintage at Main is “My mother had this” or “I remember growing up with this”.    People who shop with us seem to love going down memory lane as they look at, touch, and remember times from another era!

Sometimes, age is not the 100-year mark for value, but something that is rare.  There were limited numbers made that are still available.  

This was proven true a few weeks ago when Warhol's Marilyn Monroe painting sold for record-breaking $195m. Ahead of the auction, Christie's Auction wrote that the painting is "one of the rarest and most transcendent images in existence".    

Beanie Babies became very collectible a few years ago.  But it was only the rare ones that increased in value.   But the only way to know its value was from the tag.  Make sure when you are collecting or buying a vintage item, the tags are still there.   

And that leads to the quality or condition the item is in can affect its value.  Items, antique or vintage, that have had parts added or removed, that are missing parts, missing tags, items that have been painted or not restored to its original finish, all can affect the value of your pieces.

Knowing the historical significance can help with determining age as well as value.  This is important to ask the dealers to give you any information they can about a piece.  

Where did it come from?   Who owned it previously?   How did you find it?  

There should be conversation about any item you are investing in.

Then last item for value is current taste.  What does the public want?   What can the public purchase?  What is the public talking about?    If you have unlimited funds to spend on your collections, then the sky is the limit.    

I hope you enjoy these information tidbits!  There is always more to learn as we journey through the exciting world of collecting! 

Until next time . . .