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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:

Russia 'open' to Putin White House visit
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:59:00 +0100
Moscow is open to a possible visit by Vladimir Putin to Washington after a surprise invitation from Donald Trump, Russia's US envoy has said.

Macron fires aide who stamped on protester
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 09:30:00 +0100
France's President Emmanuel Macron is to fire a security adviser who hit and stamped on a May Day protester, the Elysee Palace has said.

Trump 'ready' to impose tariffs on all Chinese goods
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:31:00 +0100
Donald Trump said he is "ready to go" with tariffs on an additional $500bn of imports from China. 

Thirteen dead after 'duck boat' sinks in lake
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 04:43:00 +0100
At least 13 people have drowned after an amphibious "duck boat" capsized and sank in stormy weather on a Missouri lake.

Last survivor of Amazonian group filmed after 22 years alone
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 09:01:00 +0100
Extraordinary footage has been released of an indigenous man who has lived alone in the Amazon rainforest for more than two decades.



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