As mentioned many times before, antiques are pieces of old items like furniture and jewellery or rare objects that have been kept for more than 100 years old. If you are intending to go into antique collecting, then you will find that this would be an extremely rewarding exercise where there are several categories involved.
Rare Antiques with history or story
You will surely find a rare item or object at many places like antique galleries or at flea markets and car boot sales and before you go out and start buying everything that strikes your interest. Typically, antiques are items that where possible are more than a century old while they are known for being rare, exquisite and valuable.
Lookout for antiques in flea market first
Collecting antiques can be carried out in various ways where you could collect them based on their categories like furniture, currency, paper-based and such or you could also collect them based on region and for the more well-versed, you could also collect them based on the period that the item was made and used.
Around the world, there are countless events that are conducted and catered for antique collectors and lovers. Apart from the local markets and sales, you could also obtain antiques in antique expos, antique fairs, forums while a large group of collectors inherit them from their ancestors.
One of the most common categories of antiques is based on their countries where British antiques are among some of the most popular ones. Apart from that, antiques from France, Italy, Japan and the United States are also very common while China antiques are very much demanded like their Ming Dynasty ceramic antiques and such.
Furniture are perhaps one of the most common type of antiques as they are extremely rare and could last for decades in excellent condition. Furthermore, furniture antique provides you with a permanent time-stamp of the period and the time it was manufactured and used.
Another common form of antique is in art pieces. Where this is concerned, art pieces are very rare and are one of the most valuable antiques because they are one-of-its-kind. This means that if you own a piece of painting by great master artists like Degas or Matisse, then you surely have the only piece painted by the artist. This is the main reason why paintings are worth millions.
Porcelain antiques are common especially with tableware and other objects, particularly from China. Vases, plates and teapots that date back to the Ming or Qing dynasties are very valuable as well as demanded among antique collectors.
Other items that are popularly collected as antiques include figurines which are usually from Europe, jewellery from all over the world and watches. Clocks are also collected and they are most popular if they originated from Europe as well. Rarities like music boxes are also very much demanded while there are some who have been known to collect bottles as well as toys. In this context, comic books like the first issue of Superman by DC Comics are also considered as antiques.
While the Chinese were the creators and first to produce porcelain items and then export them to Europe, it was the countries there that made it popular in their own ways. Porcelain ware only arrived in England around the 17th century and its popularity grew by leaps and bounds when some pottery makers created their own signature styles and designs.
Therefore, if you are collecting porcelain antiques and have a rare 18th century English porcelain, it might have well been originated from China. One must understand that the process of making porcelain items around these times were heavily imported from China in which a lot of pottery makers were trained in the Chinese way of making them.
You can safely assume that English pottery makers in the start were adopting the Chinese methods and techniques where they would eventually take a while before developing their own style and methods. This would allow them to create their own trademark styles and subsequently creating what is known as English Porcelain.
Hence, you will find that English Porcelain provides more variety as compared to Chinese ones. Once the British pottery makers developed their own style and mastered their own techniques, they became more explorative and made more items.
The earlier English porcelain included various functional objects like teapots, bowls, canisters, spoon trays, slop bowls and many others. This was because the people of that time were very much obsessed with the need for uniformity and that such items should be made in sets.
Pottery makers then used a lot of feldspar in their process and they were popular because they were easily available, inexpensive and very resilient. Biscuit became a popular porcelain making technique during the mid-18th century years and it was widely adopted in England and this technique allows for wares made that are not glazed thereby creating a more matte effect in the finished product.
There is also a constant reference to bone china when it comes to English Porcelain objects although there are several other types. Common names that are often associated to bone china porcelain antiques include the likes of Spode, Rockingham, Derby, Minton and Flight & Barr.
As time progressed, more materials were used in English Porcelain and this brought about styles like Regency and Neoclassical. Soapstone and soft paste porcelain pieces are also highly popular while the Wedgwood porcelain wares are also a common name that survived after the popularity of English porcelain faded after 1820.
If you like collecting small statutes that depict human or animal figures, then you might be a figurine antique collector. While the collection of figurines are very common among those who collect memorabilia, it is those old and rare items that were made of material like ceramic, glass, metal that have been passed on for generations that make them valuable and extremely rare.
Basically, collecting figurine antiques involve the collecting of figurines that do not have any moving parts. There is a distinction between collecting figurines and colleting dolls because the former are used for ornamental purposes. This means that figurines are produced for collection and unlike dolls or action figures, they are made as toys and can be played with and such.
The distinctive factor about figurines is that they are made with a specific style and design that time-stamp them to a specific era. Collecting figurines are very special because you must be in the know to truly enjoy this exercise.
Collectors are known to focus on subject when accumulating figurines and this could be the likes of Soldiers, Classical, Religious, Criers, Comedia Del Arte and many more. Historically, figurines were made as human models which were used to signify fertility when they were known as ‘venus figurines’.
One of the most prominent figurine recorded is the one that was discovered in 1908 in Austria which is the Venus of Willendorf. This 11cm limestone statuette was estimated to have been created as far back as to the 22,000BC. In the modern day figurine, the making of collectible figurines did not existed until the start of the 18th century in Germany.
The popularity of figurines were made possible by the introduction of porcelain by the Chinese where this technique arrived around the 17 and 18th centuries. In 1708, it was announced that the porcelain process were perfected by German inventors Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus.
However, it was only around the 1720s that figurines were produced by the factory that was set up in 1710. Johann Joachim Kaendler would become one of the most famous Meissen’s sculptors then where he would continue to produce a series of small figurines.
Porcelain making would continue to spread towards Europe and before long, most of the European powers then had their own porcelain factories that made their own figurines. Then came the Industrial Revolution and slowly, more than 1000 factories were being set up around Europe, thereby driving up supply for the demand for figurines.
The Royal Dulton is one of the most significant companies that was set up to manufacture stoneware that was decorative which then expanded to a studio at the Lambeth pottery allowing students to work on figurines. They would continue to produce some of the most popular figurines of all time.
Hummel Figurines came about during the start of the 20th century which was made by W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik and Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel where figurines of convent children were produced and became widely popular. Hummel figurines remained popular throughout the years and today, they are still being made and sold as antiques.
One of the unique factors about Asian antiques is that they can be very rare and they are some of the oldest ones you can find around. Apart from that, Asian antiques, particularly from China are known to have survived for centuries and among some of the most significant ones are jades.
Jades are typically a type of stone that was used in ancient China as an accessory which is also very much a jewellery used for ornamental purposes. Today, jade is still very much in demand where it is very favoured by the Chinese people all over the world. It is often said that if there is one stone that will depict the heritage of the Chinese people, it would be this stone, which is often green in colour.
Collecting jades can be a very lucrative hobby because the more flawless a stone is, the more valuable it is and very much like gold and other types of precious stones, their worth would only appreciate over time and they are often regarded to be recession-free.
You have to take note though that there are several types of jades and there are also some which are fake as well. In China, all antique items that were made or existed before 1795 are not allowed to be exported and hence, if you truly have one of these antiques, they would be extremely valuable.
Essentially, there are only 2 types of jades which are considered as authentic and this includes the Old Jade. It is also known as the Jade Nephrite and is usually about 6 to 6 1/2 on the Mohs scale. Jades are commonly used to make jewellery where they include earrings, bracelets, pendants, carvings and amulets. Apart from that, there are also jades which are used to make small statues and could also include other precious metals like gold and silver.
Jade is known as ‘yuk’ in Chinese and certain school of thought claims that they are more precious than other known stones like diamonds and even gold in which while you can put a price on gold, jade is considered to be priceless.
Historically, jades were used as a symbol of a person’s wealth and status while they are also known to wade of evil and improve a person’s health and wellbeing. This is where you would find that a lot of collectors keep jade for spiritual reasons and seldom sell them off.
Apart from that, jades were also used in shamanistic ceremonies when someone is born or for the preparation of battle. They were also historically used for trade and as gifts. Jades are easily available among goldsmiths and experts but you it is important that you know a bit about the Chinese history before collecting them.
Whether or not it comes from the Han or Qing dynasties would depend on whether you know if such things existed during the era. On top of that, you should also have a sound knowledge on how to tell if a jade is authentic or fake by examining its surface and density of the stone.
Porcelain antiques are one of the most common type of antiques that you can collect. This is because there are countless porcelain ware that came from parts of the world like Europe that include England, France and Spain as well as those that are from the Middle East like Iran, Saudi Arabia and those that are from China that has been passed down for generations.
Naturally, porcelain refers to the ceramic material which is made by fire that hardens the clay and then glazing it with material that completes the object with a smooth and flawless surface. This would usually involve items like pottery, tiles, kitchenware, tableware and many others.
Collecting porcelain antiques can be quite tricky if you do not know the origins of the specific item. In fact, you should have some knowledge about history because every item is unique and they would have originated from a different era throughout history.
Porcelain originated from China and that was when they were the sole producers of these items. This is also the sole reason why some people call porcelain as ‘China’ which is something fragile and yet beautiful. It was created around 500AD and was only focused in China. It would not be another 600 years before porcelain and how it is made travelled out of China and into Korea.
By the year 1400, painted porcelain has been exported to Europe and began gaining much recognition and popularity there. It would also spread toward the Middle East where both the continents began making their own signature style and designs.
It was around 1575 that the first European soft-paste porcelain was produced and this took place in Italy which would continue to grow and flourish until it was very much known for its over-glazed and enamelled porcelain around 1600.
This art-form would only start gaining momentum in England around the 1750s when porcelain decals were made. To date, the most expensive porcelain antique ever sold is the Pinner Qing Dynasty Vase which is also currently the most expensive antique as well. It was sold by Christie’s Auction House in London that fetched a price of £53.1 million. The pre-sale estimate price of the vase was only £800,000.
Other notable porcelain items include the £128,450 rare Clair-de-Lune glazed zhi-shaped vase and the pair of fine porcelain candelabras from the collection of Benjamin F. Edwards which was sold for $242,5004 and expected only to fetch some $80,000.
Collecting Antique Bottles
Collecting antique bottles is one of the most unique form of antique collecting because they are extremely rare while there is also a certain school of thought that such items are not considered as antiques.
Essentially, a bottle is a container that has a neck usually made to store liquid with a wider body below. The most common perception of bottles is that they are made of glass while there are also those that are made from clay, plastic and aluminium. Bottles usually come with a cap or a stopper to prevent the liquid from spilling.
The unique element about bottles is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs while there are also known bottles that are no longer in production, making them rare and unique in their own ways.
The most popular and iconic bottle would surely be the Coca-Cola bottles that has been in use for decades. They are known for their aesthetic appeal while offering a certain time-stamp of when the bottle was manufactured and popular.
There are many ways of collecting bottles where one can collect the likes seltzer bottles, poison bottles, perfume bottles, bitters bottles and most popularly, Coca-Cola bottles. There is however a strong distinction between antique and memorabilia where the latter usually involve beer bottles and such.
Finding antique bottles could be a challenging task because it is not common for anyone to find a bottle which is valuable. Antique bottles are often ‘discovered’ where they are buried or along beaches. Historically, the first glass bottles dates back to around 7000BC when they were made by the ancient Phoenicians.
The technique would be further enhanced and by 100BC, they have developed glass blowing, a method which is still very much practiced today. It would then grow by leaps and bounds and before long, became a common method until it was also adopted in China.
The Venetians were considered as the most highly-skilled glass blowers around the Renaissance Period where they would continue to expand to other European countries and before long, glass blowing became a major industry in the region.
With win being sold in glass bottles and the rising demand for drinks in this medium, more glasswork companies were set up and by 1696, it was estimated that some 3 million bottles were produced annually. It would then developed further in 1907 when Michael Owens, developed the first automated glass making machine in the United States that could roll out 2500 bottles hourly.
As mentioned, the Coca-Cola bottles are among some of the most expensive glass bottles in the world as they are unique and very rare. The Union bottle which is known as the Union SC S-S Coke, the Huntsville, the E.L Husting, the Birmingham Hutchinson and the Biedenharn Candy Co. Bottle are among those that are very rare.
Meanwhile, the most prominent Coca-Cola bottle ever made is the Weldon Coca Cola Bottle which is believed to have been manufactured around the 1902-1915 period. Other notable bottles include the Wilson-Goldsboro and the Salt Lake City bottles respectively, all of which have their own unique features and designs.