Anyone know the correct definition of Vintage? vs. 'Antique'? If one says 'vintage' in a description can it mean antique? Or is 'vintage just from the mid-20th century? I received a 'negative' feedback (my first) because the buyer thought the item was Antique when I described it as 'Vintage'. I want to make sure I know the difference before I respond. I am very upset about this. Thanks for you help.
Technically, Richard is on the money. Fact is, with the exception of wine, the year of the "vintage" is unfortunately rarely included. The horse is long out of the barn on "vintage"; demanding the world now close the doors is a waste of time and energy. Not gonna happen.
So in common use, the undated term describes something that is old enough to be in fashion again. Thus since 1970s styles are in fashion again (God knows why), they are "vintage". 1980s styles haven't yet been resuscitated; all they are is "out of date." So at this point they haven't made it to the "vintage" category.
However, on ebay "vintage" often seems to mean anything that was purchased less than 24 hours ago, is dirty and worn, or looks like it might be old if you don't know anything about history and squint really hard It is as overused, and misused, as "rare".
That said, I honestly can't see why you got that neg. Although your website photo isn't coming up anymore, the ebay pic which remains is clear and self-explanatory as to condition. The item dates from the mid-1960s at the very latest, which would indeed make it "vintage" as the term is commonly used. It's not "antique", but clue to bidder: you never said it was. I would leave a commment to her neg: "Bidder remorse. VINTAGE item accurately described w/clear pics."
Actually; The correct usage of the word vintage is when identifying the year when a wine was made.
Since the term has been hijacked and abused for the sole purpose of describing and hocking other non-wine related items; it's rather meaningless and can pretty much be used the way anyone wishes to continue abusing it.
The use of the word vintage in auctions is becoming more and more like the, (most over used word) rare. . A good reason to hit the [Back] button when you see it, because it most often says the seller doesn't know anything about what they are selling.
Well, "vintage" is a good initial sorter, so to speak. Few sellers list, uh, vintage (sorry) items as "new", or without any age-defining tag at all. So instead of looking at 8,000 listings of new AND vintage (sorry) items, I sort on "vintage" and get 3,000 listings.
Of course, then I have to figure out additional keywords to sort out more of the junk from that 3,000.
And about 60% of the time, the items that DO have a year attached to "vintage" overestimate the item's age by about 40 years...
Ive been told several times by dealers that anything 100 yrs or older is an antique. And that anything 50 yrs or older is vintage or called grandmas furniture or stuff.
So now Im confused, where does collectibles come into it.
How old does something have to be to be called a collectible. Does that apply to new item out, or older items that are on the market now?
Thanks for the tip. I will use your wording on my response. It's excellent. And NO, the bidder did not contact me before leaving the negative feedback.
Now that I have read all these comments about using the word 'Vintage' I will not be so liberal with it in describing my items. I try to use the year or decade of the item sometimes, narrowing down the age. If I don't know -I say I don't know.
Thanks for all your comments. They were very helpful.
Hopefully my 1 negative feedback that I just received will not put a damper on my sales. What do you think?
This is my own perspective, gained from 35+ years of collecting, not a set of rules for anyone elst to follow.
Anything which many people decide to collect is a collectible, even antique items. The only requirement needed is that people are collecting it.
At one point in collecting history there were antiques, (100 year old items) and collectables, (older items on their way to becoming antiques.)
Then the word collectible was hijacked by marketing, just like the word vintage has been. It has been used and abused to the point that just about anything sold these days is marketed as a collectible. This of course is for the sake of getting people to buy items in mass quantities.
Basically the term collectable is meaningless, unless one is a person who buys into the marketing hype and collects things that are sold as collectibles and for resale purposes; these same people are stuck being their own sellers of and customers for those things.
Antique is a much harder word to hijack, but that word too gets its share of abuse too.
My own opinion, again, not a rule for anyone is;
The best thing one can do is to know or find out what they have and list it by name, manufacturer, date etc. and those who already know its status in the time-line won't hold it against the seller for not using any of those popular marketing words and terms.
When I do a search, let's say; for a piece of glassware; I might type in the company name or the pattern that I am looking for.
Let's say I'm looking for a glass pattern named "Ribbed Spiral." When searching I never type in anything like "antique Ribbed Spiral", "collectable Ribbed spiral" or even "vintage Ribbed Spiral". The fact that I am searching for it by its name shows that I already know what it is and likely era it is from, so the use of those words are somewhat redundant to begin with and do little if anything to help people find your auctions.
OP - I don't think you have anything to worry about with that neg, as long as you leave a comment explaining it (I think I suggested wording in my first post). Under the circumstances, a factual neg to the bidder would be helpful to other sellers so they don't get burned like you.
Mike, I think your search will work just fine for certain items, but I can't imagine how I would find any of the stuff I buy with as specific a search as you're suggesting. I would also have missed out on my best bargains (WWII women's HBT trousers and shirt described as "vintage army clothes", 1830s quilt blocks titled "Antique Quilt Pieces," or the lot of c.1900 German porcelain pig figurines titled "Vintage Pig Statues") - for which I paid about 5 cents on the dollar.
I understand where you are coming from, I do, I do, I honestly do lol!.
To me that's the difference between serious collecting and just accumulating things.
If you are a seller of antiques in general, then you will obviously be looking for many different things to offer your many different customers.
As a customer, who is a collector; the majority of the things I buy are those which I collect and know something about already. I don't spend all of my time on ebay looking at everything antique, collectible, vintage and impulse buying when I see something I think I might like.
I'm sure there is a customer base of those, who simply accumulate things, but they only make up one part of the overall market that can be tapped here on ebay and many of them don't have a clue, other than the seller's word as to what it is they are buying.
As I added to my post; This is my own way of doing what I do on ebay and I posted it to give any sellers who read it a perspective from one buyer's point of view.
It's a tough job selling on ebay and one I'm not about to apply for any time soon.
My hat is off to the sellers here, who take the time, do all of the work and provide me with the chance to get the things I am looking for.
O.K. O.K. everyone here is basically right. The terms collectible and vintage have both been hijacked, it's true. And the word antique, I don't even want to go there!! Here is the definition of these terms and the common usage of these terms in the antique business.
Antique: an item that is at least 100 years old. This is the technically correct definition. However some items, like cars, for example, are often called antique because so few of them are over 100 years old. Common usage.
Vintage: Pertains to the year a wine was made. Again, technically correct definition. Common usage is an item that is 50-100 years old.
Collectible: generic term for anything that people collect. Correct definition. Common usage, yes, a marketing tool to get people to buy things in volume, for example, the so called "colletors plates".
Hi Mike, nice to see passionate people LOL. Truly, a law would be great but do no good. The same people that sell the fake stuff would disregard it. So sad. Why can't people just play by the rules. I guess we have to wait till we get to heaven. Big Sigh.
Rosemary, OP means original poster on this thread. At least I think that what it means. As for the term retro, thats a little prickly. Retro is latin for back. As in backward, not back as in your body part. Make sense? So when someone says retro, they are meaning to go backward in a sense. Retrograde, retrocede, retroaction, retrogress etc. Get the picture? Truly, the only context I have ever used the term retro, is for the retro-modern period of jewlelry, circa 1935-1945. I know, the term retro-modern is oxymoronic, but it has somehow stuck with the jewelry world. We use this term when describing jewelry made in this time period AND having a certain style to it called, retro-modern, or retro for short. I have two rings on ebay right now that are very good examples of this period and style. I have never used or heard of this term being used to describe anything antique. Hope this helps.
Lol! @ Retro :-) I'm surprised it didn't come up earlier.
Yep; that's another misused marketing term, which has often been applied to the resale of older things, from different eras.
What it really means in marketing 101 is the use of older styles to create new merchandize or simply the practice of modeling things such as clothes, dishes, houses, music, cars or whatever; on styles from the past.
It has absolutely nothing to do with an item being old or from a certain era.
Suffering from lots of brian fog today, but IIRC the term "retro" (originally "retrospectif" - fill in the fancy accents yourself) was coined in connection with a 1974 French art (fashion?) exhibit to describe a contemporary style that looked to the past for its inspiration. If anybody's got the OED, I think you could find the original source of the term.
An early example of "retro" style would be the antebellum revival fad of 1940 after the release of Gone With the Wind, the 1970s reinterpretation of 1930s fashion thanks to Bonnie and Clyde and The Great Gatsby, and the resuscitation of mid-late '60s style triggered by the Austin Powers movies.
Thus an original 1960s lava lamp or 1940s Coca-Cola tray would be "vintage," while those you pick up this week at Walmart or Target would be "retro". And of course the price difference between the two can be significant.
Hi Mike, that makes a lot of sense. I never really could figure out why someone would call this jewelry retro-modern. It never made sense to me but it has somehow "stuck" in the 'jewelry world' and now it's common usage and easily identified. So I guess were are stuck with it. But I ONLY have ever used it to refer to this particular type of jewelry dating from 1935-1945.
OP - Aside from the VINTAGE - ANTIQUE discussion, I would say that this is more a case of unjustified FEEDBACK. As a seller, I rarely post feedback for a buyer until I'm sure they're happy and the transaction is definitely completed without regrets on either side.
I noticed that you already gave postive feedback to the buyer which, for some less than reasonable buyers (especially newbies), gives them an opportunity to leave whatever comments they like with impunity (follow-ups aside, a neg is a neg).
It's unfortunate to get a neg on a $3.00 item. I feel that any unhappy buyer should at least give the seller an opportunity to address their complaints and, if warranted, rectify the situation. Leaving positive feedback as soon as you receive payment is pretty risky as some buyers later become very unreasonable when it comes to shipping, packing, and the item itself once received.
As a seller, I always wait for the buyer to leave feedback and if they're happy and leave a positive, then I do the same....
Thanks for the advice....'a word to the wise is...'
I guess I am to generous with positive feedbacks as a seller. I usually give positives when I get their payment. It might be because I am so glad to 'get' a payment! I will heed your advice and wait til I get positive feedback from the buyer first. I wonder how many sellers wait and how many are givers when payment comes?