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The Beginners Guide to Antiques and Collectables

Day Trip – Antique Trail in Crawford County

Why do people love things that are old? Chances are, these tangible objects spark memories from childhood, adolescence, and even marriage. Antiquing is fast becoming a new pastime. The next generation of collectors is savvy shoppers who use technology to track down items they love.  To get started collecting antiques, there are many things to consider.

Antiques don’t always come with an origin story. That is why research is important to understand the socioeconomic trends at a given point in time. However, antiques are classified as an object that is at least 100 years old. When an object is referred to as vintage, it can be anything from 20-99 years old and captures a sense of nostalgia relevant to the culture. In fact, sub-culture vintage can include music, movies, and even sneakers. Then there’s retro, which imitates the style of the past and generally replicates an original. 

“Start collecting something that you love, something that brings you happiness; then, build your collection from there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dealers are very passionate about antiques and they love to share their knowledge about their craft. They might not know where the item came from, but they could possibly be able to guide you on origin, timelines, or cleaning processes.”

Shelley Barton – Two Olde Crows Antique Mall 100 Rock Creek Road, Cuba

 How to get started.

  • Start with a goal in mind. Consider what you want to collect and what is the motivation for the collection.
  • Have fun in the process.  As a hobby, antique collectors love the thrill of the hunt. The journey across state lines or into a new town, is part of the excitement to find lost treasure. 
  • Consider it an investment. There is value in well-preserved antiques. Shoppers should do their homework ahead of time and research the item and compare prices.
  • Decorate with history. The home can be its own museum. Many collectors decorate their homes with antiques to add character and charm. Antiques are great conversation pieces and add a layer of interest to your interior.

“Educate yourself on antiques. Invest in a few books that cover the subject of antiques and collectables. After 50 years in the antique business, I’ve learned a lot and provide appraisals to help folks understand what they have and the value of it. “

Lloyd Francis – Country Cousins Antiques 4850 Old Highway 66, Bourbon, MO

Things to consider.

Whether it’s an investment piece or just having a good time, it’s important to learn how antique values work. Sellers can ask any price they like for an item, but remember, that does not mean the piece is worth that much money. To get started collecting antiques, here are things to consider:

  • Price – Not all antiques are created equal. It is important to know the value of items before you head to an antique shop. Do your research. A simple Google search can reveal a lot.
  • Condition – Price often reflects the physical condition of the piece. If you plan to use the item, make sure it is up for the task. 
  • Age – Remember, antiques are usually fragile. In most cases, antiques are at least 100 years old and will show wear and tear.  These particular signs of age may be just what you’re looking for.
  • Quality – Look closely at how the item is constructed and help up over time. Verify quality products were used to produce the item and its place of origin. 
  • Provenance – Ask for the history. While not every antique comes with a story, those that do are priceless! 

What Not to Collect

There are two sides to collecting, legal and illegal. It is essential to know what items are within antiquity laws and regulations. Here are some examples to keep in mind:

  • Ivory – Avoid any items made of elephant or walrus ivory. Ivory is illegal to buy or sell.
  • Eagle Feathers – Any antique with eagle feathers is off limits. Because the eagle is protected, exploiting feathers or any part of the bird is illegal.
  • Native Artifacts – There are specific laws for Native American artifacts. Consequently, the legality depends on where the piece originated – if the origin is unknown, better off to avoid such pieces.
  • Spot a Fake – For those who collect pottery, glassware, or coins, they can spot a fake a mile away. Train your eye to spot a fake. For example, antique Depression glass that looks brand new – this is probably a reproduction. Look for manufacturer markings that provide clues to the age and authenticity. Rule of thumb, if it looks too good to be true, it is probably a fake. 

Antiques Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Collections start with a passion. In fact, there are impressive collections that started with items of five dollars or less. Sometimes the monetary value of an item is irrelevant, it is more about the connection and emotion it stirs.

Start Small. Ideally, start with something you love and build from there. Make it an adventure. Plan a weekend road trip to an Antique Shop to search out collectibles. Most antique malls have new items arriving every day. 

Join Facebook Groups. There is a Facebook Group for almost everything, including Antiquing. Sign up for groups that share antique news and advocate collections – here you will find a “new family” who understands your desire to collect.

To get started collecting antiques, visit the Antique Trail in Crawford County for a splendid day trip in beautiful central Missouri. Or make it a weekend trip and visit all of our Specialty Shoppes for a shoppers paradise!

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