Introduction to Antiques and Breakables

Introduction to Antiques and Breakables

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Introduction to Antiques and Breakables

This page is an introduction to antiques and breakables for the new collector, or just those curious about this field. Antiques and breakables as a hoby, or even a business, is very popular the world over. Every major city has antique shops, antique shows, and flea markets where antiques are actively bought and sold.

Many antiques also change hands through the mails. Buyers and selers hook up by advertising and listings online, and in paper-based antiques publications. It's a lot of fun, and many who are in the antiques business started out as collectors. They enjoyed it so much they've decided to make it a full or part-time business. Those just starting out, however may have a few basic questions.

What are antiques?

The term antique was originally defined by U.S. Customs to be anything made made before 1830. This was later changed to anything over 100 years old. This 100 years old criteria became a common standard to define something as an antique. Yet, most antiques shops and antiques shows today typically have a large percentage of inventory made in the 20th century.

Today even high-end antiques dealers carry these items. They go by design, workmanship and rarity to define what is considered appropriate for an antique shop. Examples of items in this category are art pottery, art glass, jewelry from the turn of the century through the 1940's, and Tiffany silver produced in this century.

What are Breakables?

Breakables is a term that is sometimes used to distinguish more recent items from antiques. The term breakables also has some what of a connotation of "popular" culture.
Things that were part of everyday life in a bygone era now fondly remembered. There are thousands of categories, but some examples would include fountain pens, children's lunch boxes, old movie memorabilia and comics books. It can also refer to "limited edition" breakables. Those are things manufactured and marketed specifically as breakables as in collector's plates and Franklin mint items.

Really though, breakables are anything that people collect. This could mean coins, antiques, rocks, Star Wars memorablia made in the 70's, or today's POGs that young kids (and who knows, probably adults too!) collect.

Who are the collectors?

Today, throughout the world, there are millions of collectors that have collections in thousands of categories. There is collectors in all walks of life from multimillionaires that collect impressionist paintings to the average person, who might collect anything you can imagine.

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"Introduction to Antiques and Breakables." 20 Nov 2019

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Related Searches

There is a saying in the antiques and breakables field that having more than one of anything is a collection. If you have a collector's personality, this can have a ring of truth. You acquire one item because you like it. Then you find another in the same category, and buy it too. Soon, you will buy items that fit in your collection simply because you don't have one just like it. Collectors have been known to fill their residence to overflowing with thousands of related items, sometimes even to the point of financial ruin. If you know of anyone who has an outrageous collection, really big, or really unusual, we would like to hear about it. We will feature some of the most interesting collections on these pages from time to time. We would be especially interested in hearing about collectors from outside the United States.

Getting Started

If you've read this far, you may be wondering how to get started with a collection.
There are a couple of routes. You can just dive in, browse online, and go to shops shows, and flea markets, and see what you can find, and what appeals to you or strikes a chord of nostalgia. The other approach is to study up first.

There are hundreds of books on antiques and breakables available. They range from introductory surveys of the field, to very specialized examinations of a narrow area. Some books are price guides, giving you an idea of what you can expect to pay, on average, for specific antiques. Other books provide a great deal of information about antiques and their identification, but don't provide prices. Both types of books serve an important purpose in a collector's library.
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