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Antiques, Collectibles, & Memorabilia: Do You Know the Difference?

The world of antiques can be confusing. What's the difference between an antique and collectible? Aren't collectibles and memorabilia really the same thing? In this month's column, I'll de-mystify these terms, so that you'll be appropriately armed for your next antique adventure.

Antique

Basically, an antique is something old that has value because of aesthetic or historical reasons. Generally, if a piece is over 100 years old, it is considered an antique. Although, I do know that some people use the 50-year mark for Canadian pieces; the rationale being that Canada is a young country relative to places such as Europe and Asia. However, I'm old fashioned and apply the 100-year definition to Canadian pieces.

Collectible

A collectible is something that is less than 100 years old that has value because of aesthetic or historical reasons. This term fills the gap for valuables that aren't quite old enough to be an antique.

One category of collectible is items with intrinsic artistic merit. A stunning Art Deco table fits into this category. It was beautiful when it was made in the 1930s, is beautiful today and will still be beautiful when it hits the 100-year old mark.

A second category is mass-produced collectibles. Beanie Babies, trading cards and Hummel figurines fit into this category. They don't necessarily have a lot of artistic merit. But manufacturers have created desirability by producing limited editions.

Another category is items associated with particular people. For example, anything worn by the Beatles or Elvis Presley is collectible.

Memorabilia

There is a difference between collectibles and memorabilia. Collectibles are things that are ornamental. They never served an utilitarian purpose. A piece of memorabilia served a particular purpose. Movie posters, sports programs, cameras, television sets and musical instruments are all examples of items that fall into this category. Movie posters were used to sell movies. Sports programs were used to communicate information. And, cameras, television sets and musical instruments all serve a function.

Martin Swinton owns Take-A-Boo Emporium located in Toronto, Canada. He has appeared on a variety of television programs; does furniture restoration; caning and rushing repairs; appraisals and has taught courses on antiques at the Learning Annex. Martin can be reached at http://www.takeaboo.com

In The News:

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Tue, 18 Sep 2018 21:16:00 +0100
Germany's leader Angela Merkel has removed her spy chief to end a row over immigration which threatened to destroy her fragile coalition.

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Mon, 17 Sep 2018 18:04:00 +0100
A woman who accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has said she has faced death threats and has called on the FBI to investigate her allegations.

Russia blames Israel after Syria shoots down plane
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 06:27:00 +0100
Russia has blamed Israel and threatened retaliation after one of its military planes was shot down by Syrian missiles in a "friendly-fire" incident.

China retaliates in Trump trade war escalation
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 23:41:00 +0100
China has announced a series of retaliatory tariffs on $60bn (£45.6bn) of US imports after Donald Trump raised the stakes in his trade war with Beijing.

Egypt hotel deaths: Pair moved grandchild to another room
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 16:47:00 +0100
A British couple who died while on holiday in Egypt moved their granddaughter out of their room when she complained of a "musty smell" that made her feel unwell, an inquest has heard.



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