Changing tastes in art, antiques and collectables are reflected in what makes the headlines these days and also how auction houses and dealers have altered the way in which they present items for sale.
If you consider that the strict definition of antique is something over 100 years old, it is easy to appreciate how this presents us with an ever-changing selection of pieces that fall into this category.
When the first antiques fairs started at Olympia in London, back in the late 1920s, the cut-off dateline determining what was and what was not allowed to be offered excluded anything Victorian because they would not yet have been antiques.
Today, anything from the First World War or Edwardian period is easily antique, while Art Deco, long accepted as a venerable collecting category to stand alongside older items at antiques fairs and in fine art and antique auctions, is still not antique.
You’d be amazed at how many people have spent huge amounts of time fretting over the distinction; in recent years we have largely neutralised the argument by adopting additional terms like Vintage and Retro, which can have looser definitions and also appeal more directly to younger buyers. No one has yet come up with an all-encompassing term that covers all eras and still has the power to appeal to all ages of buyers.
Language does matter though. How you market your wares can make a huge difference to whose attention you grab: Ephemera anyone? How about Love Letters? See what I mean?
People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what many of us do all the time, and we would be fools to ignore the fact.