Old Antiques: Where to Find Them - An Antiquing Guide for Collectors

Many people enjoy going antiquing at local antique shops. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of finding an old treasure are unmatched by anything else. Though it may seem daunting, don't be afraid to visit your nearest antique shop! This guide will help you find what you're looking for and leave with a beautiful piece that you'll cherish for years to come.

What is antiquing and what are the benefits of it?

Antiquing is fun and rewarding. There is something about finding a rustic and beautiful antique that brings joy to any collector. Some antiquing enthusiasts may focus on furniture, while others are more into jewelry or pottery. Going to antique shops to find these old treasures is a great way to spend time, relax and get inspired.

Antiquing for profit isn't always the goal; many people do it out of pure enjoyment or love of history.

How to get started with antiquing

It's not hard to get started with antiquing. You'll need a list of antique shops in your area. You can do a search online to find an inventory of all the antique stores in your town or city and then you have a choice of visiting them, calling ahead or both. If there are multiple shops near one another, it might be worth the time to visit each store for comparison shopping before making purchases.

Knowing what to look for in antiques and how to identify the quality of a piece are two other good things to know when antiquing.

You can use our guide as a starting point for determining what you're looking at and whether or not it's worth purchasing.

Antiques tend to be priced higher than vintage items, but they still have value beyond their monetary price tag.

9 Expert Antiquing Tips

  1. Trust your instincts and you are likely to find deals on all sorts of treasures. If a piece is priced too good to be true, it might not be.
  2. Educate yourself and know what you are looking for. Have an idea of what your price range is and don't be afraid to bargain.
  3. Bring cash in case the store charges a credit card fee or if you want to offer an especially low bid for an item on auction sites like eBay, where payment methods are limited.
  4. Make sure you know where the best antique shops are in your area. Make a list of them and look up their hours of operation, so you don't have to spend time figuring out where they are at the last minute.
  5. Don't limit your antiquing to specific time periods. Some time periods include the Victorian Era, Queen Anne, Edwardian, Art Deco Period and the Mid-Century Modern.
  6. Once you have found antiques in good condition with the right size and proportion, the next step is to examine them for their materials. Check the quality of the wood and any other materials that make up an antique piece before you buy it. If there are chips or scrapes on them, then consider whether this will affect how well the product holds up over time. The best way to get a good sense for condition is by looking at both sides
  7. When searching for furniture at the local antique store, always go for a credenza or sideboard. These can help you create a focal point in your room. Throughout the course of history, there have been many different styles and types of furniture that were all popular for their unique features. You should be on the lookout for pieces from every type to complete your living space or office decor. For example: Louis XV French furniture pieces are very ornate with lots of curves and multiple surfaces.
  8. You need an eye for detail when antiquing. Know what to look for in the furniture you’re considering for purchase. For example: when purchasing a chair, look at how well it is constructed. As with any antique piece of furniture, do not be afraid to ask questions about condition or structural integrity before making your purchase! You don't want anything falling apart and breaking after just one use!
  9. Be prepared to overlook minor flaws and imperfections. Antiques are old, and you should expect them to be not perfect. For example: lots of small scratches or a poorly applied varnish coat are signs that the piece is an antique rather than new furniture from Ikea. Such scratches can add character to your antique furniture or antique piece.

What makes an item an antique?

Many people think that an item is an antique if it's 100 years or older. This isn't the case, however! For example: a lamp might be 50 years old and still not considered to be an antique because there are so many new items on the market today. The age of the piece doesn’t automatically make it an antique. Antiques are often characterized by their age, but they're not always ancient or old. Scarcity and discontinued items can also make an item be considered antique.

How can you tell a good antique?

You can tell a good antique based on the quality of material, age and wear.

-Material: Quality in materials is a key indicator to consider when determining whether or not an item might be an antique. For example - if you find that your antique was made out of steel instead of wood, this could indicate a modern day repurposing rather than an old piece from earlier times.

-Age: The age of an antiqueed item is also a key factor. If the piece you are looking at was made in 1946 and not 1918, that's an indicator of age to think about.

-Wear: The wear on an antique can either be positive or negative. For example - if your furniture has scratches from use but not rust spots, this could indicate earlier usage and make your item more valuable.

What old items are worth money?

Some old items of value include old paintings, silverware, coins, stamps, and old books.

-Painting: Paintings are worth money if they're from an artist that is in high demand or the painting itself has significant artistic value.

-Silverware: If you find a set of silverware at an antique shop that has no tarnish or signs of use, this could indicate it's an antique that's valuable..

-Coins: Check for small details like the date, how well it's preserved and any signs of damage that could be caused by corrosion.

-Stamps: These can vary in price depending on the condition of the stamps themselves.

-Books: If you find a book that is old and still in good condition, it can be worth money if it's from an author with significant status or any rare books on your field of study. -

Old items are important for collectors because they represent history and pieces of artistry that last through generations.

Is there an app to identify antiques?

If you're looking for a mobile app that identifies antiques while out antiquing, there are a few options for you to choose from. This is helpful if the price of an item doesn't correspond with what it looks like and you're unsure about its authenticity, or if you want to research more about something before purchasing it. It's smart to use apps before buying antiques.

-Antiques ID: This mobile app allows users to upload photos of antiques they believe may be old and it will provide feedback on how old the piece is, its country of origin, and any other pieces that look similar.

-What's Old: This app allows you to take photos of antiques and upload them and then search for items based on their features or with tags like "colonial" or "Victorian." It also gives a date and country of origin.

-The Online Encyclopedia of Antiques: This is a good place to start if you're looking for an antique that isn't easily identified, but they provide very little information on the value or authenticity of items, so be careful!

What kind of antiques are worth money?

If you're looking to buy antiques as an investment, you'll want to look for antiques that are in high demand and have an identifiable market.

-Antique Furniture: Antique furniture is popular because it's less expensive than newly made items, but there are also fewer reproductions available on the market

-Jewelry: Jewelry with precious stones or metals can be a good investment as long as they're insured appropriately.

-Coins: Coins are often a good investment, but they're also easy to counterfeit or not in demand. Look for coins with rare metals, such as gold or silver

-Ceramics: Invest in high quality ceramic items that are popular with collectors and have a history of being valuable.

-Oil on the Canvas: Oil paintings can be expensive and have been known to appreciate over time so long as they're properly preserved. They are easier to sell if you know who painted them and when - this is called provenance.

-Antique Cars: Antiques cars used for collectors can be very valuable, however there's currently an oversaturation of vintage vehicles available which has led prices down significantly in recent years

Tips for buying antiques 

Here are a few simple tips for buying antiques:

-Be careful with antique furniture, as it can be extremely expensive to restore

-Research the history of any items you're interested in purchasing. You'll want to know who made them and when - this is called provenance

-Bring a magnifying glass if you have one on hand  to get an up close look at the paint work. The quality of painting will make or break the price tag for many collectors and so should not be overlooked

Where to find antique shops near you 

You can find local antique shops by doing an online search or by asking a local dealer for recommendations. There are also many antique shows and markets that you can attend in person to find the perfect piece


Questions to ask when looking at an antique piece before purchasing it 

If you're looking to purchase an antique, always ask the following questions before making the purchase.

-Is there a guarantee?

-What is the item made of and how old is it? (e.g., wood, metal)

-Where was it found/made? Is there any indication of its origin or age?

-Do you know who originally owned this piece and when did they live in your city or town about 100 years ago? If so, what were their occupations and interests - for example: an artist would have different needs than someone whose main goal in life was to accumulate wealth. So depending on what type of person that original owner may be might reflect whether you should buy this particular antique.

Things you should know about antique furniture before buying it

If you're interested in buying antique furniture, you should know that many of them are very old and fragile. If you're not careful, the furniture can easily break or get damaged.

Just because an antique is a few hundred years old doesn't mean that it will be in perfect condition 100% of the time - they were made back when they just used whatever materials were available to make something functional instead of thinking about how long-lasting it would be. Antique furniture was often constructed out of wood which has been exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period and this causes some pieces to dry up (and cause them to chip) while others become brittle over time and don't hold their shape well anymore. These items might also have been painted with chemicals like lead paint since there weren't any environmental standards or regulations.

Common mistakes people make when shopping for antiques and how to avoid them

Some common mistakes people make when shopping for antiques are to buy something that they think is really beautiful without verifying the authenticity of what they're buying.

When you purchase an antique, it's always a good idea to find out how much the item was worth at its original date and time as well as know where it came from. It can be tempting to buy something because you love it, but if you don't do your research first then chances are high that someone else will snatch up your perfect piece before you have a chance!

What are the vintage colors?

Vintage colors include colors such as gold, black, brown and green.

There are many different shades of each color so it's important to make sure that you're buying the right thing! Make sure you know what colors would go best with your home decor or another piece in your collection.

Is a 20 year old car a classic?

A 20 year old car is not typically considered a classic.

This is because there are many different car models with the same year and it would have to be in excellent condition for most people to consider it an antique or collectible.

What antiques are popular now?

Some antiques that are considered popular now are lamp shades, books and clocks.

These pieces were made in the 1950s or earlier because they're considered retro now!

The prices for these items vary depending on location but it's important to note that you can find them almost anywhere - not just at antique shops. Make sure to check out garage sales as well!

What collectibles will increase in value?

Some collectibles that increase in value are vintage cameras, records and stamps.

With the advent of digital photography, old film camera prices have gone up because not many people collect them as a hobby anymore. Records that were popular decades ago like vinyls can be hard to find now but they're worth adding to your collection for their increased rarity and novelty factor! Stamps with rare designs go up in price very quickly when they become scarce so it's important to buy these while you still can!

It doesn't matter what type of antiques or collectibles you own - if you take care of them properly then they'll last forever no matter how long ago they were made.

What coins are worth a lot of money?

Some of the highest value coins are worth millions of dollars and the most expensive coins are from ancient Greece, Rome or China.

Valuable Coins in Circulation Today

1999-P Connecticut Broadstruck Quarter. The 1999-P Connecticut Broadstruck Quarter is a type of quarter that was minted with US State Quarters.

1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny. The 1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny is valuable because it's made out of copper which was a rare metal during World War II.

The 1988 Silver American Eagle. The 1988-P Silver American Eagle is the first year that it was ever minted and because they were so popular, there are not many left to purchase today!

1966 Proof Set - Washington Quarter. 1966 Proof Sets contain coins from 1964 through 1968 for all four quarters at 90% silver content or .900 pure. They're worth more than their face value if you get them in uncirculated condition (meaning never circulated).

The 1878 S Trade Dollar. The 1878 S Trade Dollar originated with China but ended up being used as currency among Native Americans living on reservations until 1935 when President Roosevelt outlawed its use as legal tender.

2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With Extra Leaf. While relatively new, the 2004 Wisconsin State Quarter With Extra Leaf is valuable because of a small error on the design.

The Liberty Head Nickel - 1883 Pcgs G04 Gem Bu Copper Coin (11). The Liberty Head Nickel was designed by James B. Longacre and minted in Philadelphia from 1883 until 1912, when its production ceased due to high demand for nickels.

1955 Doubled Die Penny. The 1955 Doubled Die Penny is valuable because of a coin-making error that resulted in a doubling on the date.

2005-P “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter. The 2005-P “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter is collectible because of its text, which makes it unique.

1969-S Lincoln Cent with Doubled Die Obverse. The 1969-S Lincoln Cent with Doubled Die Obverse is valuable because of a coin-making error that resulted in doubling on the date and the letters “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime. Lastly, the 1982 No Mint Mark Roosevelt Dime is valuable because it is one of the only three coins in American history to not bear a mint mark.

How do I know if my old china is valuable?

You can determine if old china is valuable by researching the artist, where it was made and when. The value of some older pieces may be determined by its pattern number, such as Wedgwood's "Jasper Black" pattern china.

If you are not sure about a piece of old pottery or porcelain in your kitchen cabinet, start with research to see if there is any information on it. If this method doesn't work for you try taking photos of what you think might be valuable and emailing them to antique dealers or museums that specialize in things like antiques or art history to get an opinion on whether they have seen similar items before.

How can you tell how old furniture is?

You can tell the age of furniture in a few different ways. One way is to look for maker's marks, which are typically on the bottom of tables and chairs. The date that appears next to the maker's mark is when it was made; if you know how old your furniture piece looks, then you will be able to determine its age in years by adding them together.

Another one would be looking for labels inside drawers or cabinets where people used to store things like these before they bought refrigerators with drawers in them - this is similar to antique furniture tags because these pieces often times have dates listed on them as well as what company manufactured the item (e.g., Patio Furniture Company).

What are the most valuable porcelain dolls?

Porcelain dolls can be valuable because they are made from a durable, high-quality material. If your porcelain doll is marked with an artist's signature or the name of the company that manufactured it, you can use this to estimate its value because artists and producers usually put their stamps on items that were produced in limited quantities.

Some popular porcelain dolls include Madame Alexander dolls, American Girl dolls and Kestner.

What is the most sought after coin?

The most sought after coin is the 1948-S Lincoln Cent. It is sought after because it was minted in San Francisco and has an "S" below the word "One." This caused a major coin shortage during this time, which drove up its value.

Also popular are 1804 Silver Dollars that were struck at over 200 years ago yet sell for about $250,000 today due to their rarity. These coins have also become collectors' items because they're unique and provide people with an opportunity to own pieces of history.

Ready to go Antiquing?

When you are looking to purchase an antique, there’s no better way to make your decision than by doing research. Make sure you know what the price range is and if it's worth buying or not. It might be a good idea to bring someone else with more knowledge in antiques with you when shopping for one just so they can give their opinion on whether it looks authentic or not. Happy antiquing!


We've studied antiques for close to forty years, and have dealt with connecting antique sellers with buyers for almost 15 years now. This site focuses on antiquing guides, antique showcases, as well as must-see antiques available online. We are the premier site for antique enthusiasts. Our mission is to provide an online resource with a comprehensive list of guides and tips on how to buy your own treasures at estate sales or auctions, as well as where you can find them online!