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Antiques are anything that is old, vintage and collectible. After time, just about anything will become an antique, and sometimes they are quite valuable. Typically in the industry, the rule of thumb is that any object over 100 years old is considered an antique, although it can just be considered anything out of date as well. Antiquing is the word to describe antique collecting and shopping. Pickers are a major kind of collector that goes around "picking" and buying old antiques and selling them to other collectors. The most famous of all antique pickers are on the reality TV show American Pickers on the History Channel. Antique Roadshow is another popular Television show on PBS featuring antiques being identified and appraised, sometimes with items being extremely rare and valuable.
Some of the oldest antiques are known as Antiquities, which originate in the time of Antiquity and early human civilization. These are are usually considered to be ancient artifacts, sometimes thousands of years old. These can include jewelry, amulets, oil lamps, statues and other daily living items from people from the ancient Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine, Vikings and other cultures of that time period. Before buying them, they should be authenticated. Some of these are still legal to buy and sell.
Antiques can be collected based on different regions and cultures. For instance, Asian antiques may have a different style that is more desirable to some collectors. These can come from China, Japan, India, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia, the Middle East and East Asia. They can come from anywhere else in the world for that matter. African masks, sculptures and jewelry are sometimes sought after due to their tribal beauty and history. Latin and Native American antiques are sought after as well due to their colorful and exotic designs.
In more modern times, antiques can be classified and collected by their periods and styles. Some of the most popular periods are the Victorian and Edwardian periods, which ranged from the early 19th century to the early 20th century. Mid-Century Modernism was a period that began in 1945 right after World War II. Popular styles include Art Deco and Art Nouveau and popular movements included the Aesthetic Movement and Arts & Crafts Movement. Antiques during these periods had distinctive styles and designs. Some are more valuable and sought after than others when it comes to buying and selling antiques.
Other people collect items from different genres, themes or topics. For instance, some people people only collect Maritime antiques, which are those that deal with sailing ships, boats, ocean and sea travel. These include vintage compasses, brass diving helmets and gear, anchors, sextants, portholes, propellers and items like this. On the topic of brass, some people have an interest in antique musical instruments and equipment. Other people may be interested in buying navigational charts used for exploring the world. These can include antique globes, maps and atlases. Typically, these are divided by regions or time periods in which they were made.
Other kinds of trades may include sewing and textiles, where collectors will collect sewing related antiques. Items can include old buttons, thimbles, scissors, spools, threads, needles and other spinning parts. These are typically things found in the home of the average person. Other home and hearth antiques may include vintage baby carriages and cradles, furniture, meat and coffee grinders, sinks and so on. Antique furniture is not only collected, but is also used in a practical manner in houses. Some of these are quite old and valuable. Collectible furniture includes old solid wooden tables, chairs, trunks and chests, sofas, cupboards and bed sets. Although not made of solid wood, vintage rugs and antique carpets are also highly desired to have around the house.
In addition to sewing items, textiles and linens themselves are wanted. Oftentimes, people would create and craft these pieces themselves. These can include bed, bath, and kitchen linens, quilts, fabrics, lace, crochet and dollies. Handmade crafts that people make themselves, are sometimes called Primitives or Folk Art. These can be just about anything, including decorative arts for the home and outside the home, built models and wares. Decorative arts, handmade or commercial, typically include antique clocks, mirrors, common household glassware, metalware and woodwares (like bowls, eating utensils, forks, spoons, knives), ceramics and porcelain and so on.
On the topic of kitchen wares, some of the old ones were produced from precious metals, silver being the most common. In the old days, antiques would be made of sterling silver (92.5% silver content). These could include anything from salt and pepper shakers, tea pots, platters, pitchers, plates, cups and goblets, flasks, decanters, bottles and more. Silverplate was also used by starting with an inexpensive metal and plating it with silver. Coin Silver was also used (90% silver content) by melting down old coins, typically old Morgan Silver Dollars in those days, and using that material to craft items with. Other silver alloys were used as well, typically 80% silver content or above. Nowadays, silver is worth quite a bit of money all by itself. With the antique factor, these items can buy and sell for quite a lot of cash.
Outdoor antiques for the garden or with an architectural style are also collected. These are sometimes known as "rusty gold" as the American Pickers would say. When they sit outside, they may seem like junk, but the do have some value and a large collectors market. These types of items include old weathervanes, lightning rods, barn doors, farm tools and barn equipment, door knobs, nails and other hardware, fireplace mantels and gear, stained glass and other pieces of architectural beauty.
Another branch of antiques include those found in factories, businesses and the mercantile industry where buying and selling took place. These items can include anything from cash registers, scales, barber chairs, bank safes and typewriters that businesses would use to sell goods and save money. Even antique books and manuscripts are great collectibles for the right person to buy. Trades in medicine and science included items that are now collectible, especially those before 1930. These kinds of trades dealt with scientific lab equipment like barometers, microscopes and optics, which were things engineers may also use. Dentist antiques were part of the medicine field, which included old surgical tools, stethoscopes, doctor's bags, bottles and jars, mortars and pestles.