I dont disagree with David DeCristoforo often, but I certainly have a different perspective on just what constitutes an antique piece of furniture.
I like old furniture, and have no problem applying the antique label to it. In his recent blog (click here), Davids right of course when he says theres a big difference between valuable antiques and old furniture, but that doesnt mean that nonvaluable old furniture cant be antiques.
My dictionary has a number of definitions of an antique: 1. of or belonging to the past; not modern. 2. dating from an early period. 3. in the tradition or style of an earlier period. 4. ancient. 5. any work of art, furniture, or the like, created or produced in a former period, or, according to U.S. customs laws, 100 years before date of purchase.
Thats quite a range of definitions, most of which apply perfectly to 1920s mass-produced furniture. (For that matter, a couple of them apply perfectly to both David and me )
Whats missing in those definitions is the word valuable. Value is a relative term, especially as it applies to antiques. Some folks deem the Rietveld chair I discussed last time valuable enough to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for one, whereas I wouldnt have one if it were free. On the other hand, my wife and I have an old oak claw-foot dining table one of those 1920s mass-produced pieces which we dearly love and consider valuable to us.
The key to much of this is the fact that this old furniture is still around. Our old table from the 1920s will hit its 100th birthday in the next decade or so. Its big, heavy, solid and beautiful, and it certainly has the charm that David spoke of which makes it an antique in my book. As David notes, stuff from the 1920s was of much better quality than the junk youll get today. An Ikea piece bought today wont be charming anyone in 90 years for one thing, itll still be as ugly as it is now; for another, it simply wont last 90 years.
Our old table (and several other old pieces we have, as well as numerous nonfurniture antiques), perfectly fits my dictionarys first definition, of or belonging to the past. I like that connection to the past, and enjoy having something like that be part of my contemporary life. Youd better believe its worthwhile putting resources into keeping them alive.
The bottom line is that, like most of my disagreements with David, we really dont disagree at all.
Till next time,