5 Myths About Vintage Items Many Think Are True

Some people love and appreciate vintage items. Others just don’t see the attraction or the value. Here’s a round-up of five of the most common myths about vintage that many people think are true, and my take on busting these myths.

Myth #1 – Vintage items are just someone’s old, used trash.

Many of us think beauty is in the eye of the holder. Yeah, it’s cliche, but really – it’s true! There is nothing like finding a rusty dusty metal shop table that someone has dumped at the end of their driveway with a “FREE” sign! The original owner sees it as “trash”, but I see it as sturdy, “good bones”, vintage love! After a quick cleanup, items like this can become one of your favorite pieces and can be re-purposed in so many ways. You know the old saying, right? One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. Trust that adage – it’s also true!

Myth #2 – Vintage items are old, are no longer sturdy, or of good quality.

Sure, some old items might no longer be sturdy after many years of use, but the quality of the item is generally FAR better than anything made today. Think about a coffee table, as an example. The coffee tables that were made in the ’50s and ’60s were made to last. You could actually SIT on these coffee tables (or dance on them – *wink*) and not worry about them collapsing under your weight. Unlike many coffee tables of today that are made of press-board, veneer, and other inexpensive materials – the coffee tables of yesteryear where built with integrity and were designed to be functional for years. And their designs were just plain cool!  Most modern items are made of plastic, or thin, inferior metals. Cost savings and light weight are primary considerations in today’s manufacturing… neither of these equate to longevity. Genuine vintage items are made of forged steel, heavy cast aluminum, quality hardwoods, high-quality nickel or gold plating, and many were handcrafted or hand-assembled… not built by a machine or robot in an autonomous factory. Vintage pieces have a soul!

Myth #3 – Vintage items are cheap second-hand items for people who can’t afford new.

I agree with the second-hand part. Vintage pieces are often second-hand items.  If you are lucky, they can be found in thrift stores, garage sales, or yard sales. And they might be found for pennies on the dollar. BUT, these vintage pieces are usually a much higher quality item than things mass-produced today, which makes them actually much more appealing than new items. Finding these treasures can make your heart skip a beat when you know you’ve just purchased a genuine Herman Miller chair for $20 at a garage sale, knowing it is a highly sought after item that typically is worth $300 or more. That’s high quality. So, just because the items are vintage, doesn’t mean they are “cheap”. I think people who are lucky enough to find good quality for second-hand prices are “thrifty”!  When you buy rare vintage items, you are paying for longevity and rarity – and those qualities are priceless!

Myth #4 – Vintage items that no longer look new, look like junk.

Remember the adage from #1? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people don’t like the 50-year old patina that time has graciously given an item. Some people want shiny and new. But, there are plenty of other people who appreciate that patina and know how long the item has survived the test of time to achieve that look – something that just cannot be reproduced – no matter how hard the manufacturers of reproduction pieces try. There is just NOTHING like REAL vintage and REAL patina. This patina gives a piece character. REAL character. Not manufactured character, or painted-on “faux patina” character. There is a difference. A piece that has been loved, used, cherished, and worn over time has a unique “feeling” that just cannot be reproduced. Give it a chance. I know you will feel the difference!

Myth #5 – Vintage items are passe and boring, and certainly not trendy.

Au contraire!  Vintage is a HOT trend these days! Just look at any home decor store or craft store – they are ALL trying to replicate the look of vintage! Seriously?!? NOTHING comes close to REAL vintage. The real thing is classic. It is something built to last. Not something manufactured to “look” old – I’m talking the real deal. In a world where everyone struggles to find their own identity in a crowd of lemmings, vintage is a sure-fire way to assert your individualism and personality.  Vintage pieces make great conversation pieces, and add character to any decor. Be unique, buy vintage!

Hopefully I’ve been able to bust these myths for you, and you find a new appreciation for vintage items. Find something old, consider where it’s been – it’s history – and picture it in your life.   


Always Authentic. Always Vintage.

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JayDee / ThirdShiftVintage.com

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  1. Totally agree! I’m currently studying furniture styles and periods, and it’s so true that the quality just isn’t there like it used to be! Part of our throw away and replace society I think. I, for one, would much rather have a sturdy quality piece with the added bonus of history and character! (and of course, the patina!).

  2. Excellent article! Vintage pieces; especially furniture, offer superior quality to new with better craftsmanship & solid wood construction. Those who love vintage know this! As the saying goes, they don’t make em like they used to.

  3. So true! Otherwise I’d be out of business 🙂

    As far as patina, in my silver shop on Etsy, I sell just as many pieces touched by age, wear and patina as I do pieces that are shining and new looking! Just a matter of taste.

  4. Superbly written; every so often, someone wants a gift card from Crate & Barrel, World Market or other such home decor stores. Know what I see? Repo’s of vintage items! No way would I spend $$ on something that doesn’t have the class and cool that vintage has. Not to mention it’s the real deal.

    Thanks for the great article and your views – sending this to my friends and on FB!

  5. Love this article and totally agree. I fell in love with the quality, charm, and character of vintage pieces when I was quite young — from furniture to art to kitchenware and everything in between. Most things made today just cannot compare!

  6. Well said! There really is nothing like the patina of timeworn pieces. And the quality really is so much better. And not just furniture but kitchen items and small appliances too, they are sturdier and last so much longer than their modern counterparts!!

  7. Yeah, JD, what you said! My senses come alive at the flea market and estate sales. There is nothing like the scent of a freshly-opened hope chest, the touch of an old grainy work bench, or the sight of a Stanley Sweetheart plane. I have been spoiled with second-hand things for as long as I can remember, and have never had reason to step foot in IKEA.

  8. Totally agree too! Many items were hand crafted and made to last a lifetime and even more! it must be said once and for all!:) qu’on se le dise une bonne fois pour toute!;-)

  9. Antiques are a look to our past, when quality and workmanship mattered. Prior to becoming a dealer I had no idea how great antiques were. Compare a reproduction to an antique…there is no comparison. Customers and collectors appreciate these works of art and are saving pieces for generations to come.

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