There are people who prefer to buy all their stuff new. Not aware of the quality or if the price for the product is good. As long as it has a box, they are satisfied. Then there are people who prefer to buy everything cheap. No matter the quality or the condition it is in. And then there are people that love vintage. And what is not to love about vintage? In this post I will share the things I learned buying vintage stuff, manly stuff!
What is vintage then?
The word “vintage” is used to cover products in the period between roughly 1920 to 1980. Items with more age to them would be coverd by “antiques” and the word “retro” would be used for stuff after the 1980’s that is based on the period before. So retro would be “newly made vintage”. You know you are dealing with real vintage stuff when:
- You have a used items that can still be used as they were originaly design for
- Items that are slightly changed to be used in a different manner
- when there are new (retro) items like it in store today
- when kids don’t know what it is but it is perfectly clear to you or your parents.
Vintage is also much more than just second hand items. The idea of vintage began when people wanted to stop the “throw-away society” on one hand and collectors looking for interesting items on the other. First aiming at re-using clothing, furniture and building materials. Collectors aiming at things like watches, cameras and toys. Now vintage items are in many areas. So why buy vintage?
The top 5 reasons to buy vintage stuff
There are 5 main reasons to buy your stuff vintage. These are Quality, Price, Environment, Originality and Style! I am not saying you should buy everything vintage. For instance your toothbrush and tooth paste can best be bought new. But for the majority of items you need you could consider buying vintage. Let’s look into the three reasons one by one.
We consider handmade things often as being of high-quality or at least a higher quality then last produced items. So why not buy from the period that mass production was little and in many cases involves lots of of the manual finishing. The great thing about vintage is that mostly the quality stuff survived. Stuff that still works still looks good and would be a waste to trow away. The good stuff!
Shown above on the left are a modern stapler and desk scissors. Bulk produced with a lot of plastic parts. In the same picture a unbreakable vintage stapler in beautiful red and a pair of all stainless steel design scissors. What would you prefer to have on your desk? In the right picture you find an all plastic Japanese made quality coffee hand grinder and it’s 1950’s all wood and metal counterpart. I prefer to use the last one!
The first scratch that hurts, but it happens, and we all know it. If you don’t like making first scratches and can accept a little imperfection (or character), you are better off buying a product that has a little age to it. Most new products aren’t worth half when leaving the store. Certain innovations makes the older product look….well…old. So used stuff with a little age can be bought for a good price far below the original price or prices for new pieces.
When looking at Edox brand watches, the cheapest new one online would be around 200 euro, while at vintagemanstuff.com there are 2 Edox watches for sale from the 1980’s in new condition that go for less then half.
Real style never goes out off style. But sometimes they just stop making the great stuff. Or they were that great so they got a little redesigned and taken back into production. Like the watches above. What you often see then is that the quality is much lower. The new product is a copy aimed at selling a lot of in record time. If you really want to own intersting stuff, look for the items that were only made for a short period!
Above on the left there is a Milk Carton phone. Something that will never get reproduced but still cool today and usable in your 1980’s man cave. On the right a board game made in 1968 for the tv-series Land of the Giants, pretty unique piece.
4. Safe the environment
Go green. Buying an already sold product safes production of new products, energy and materials wasted. So when looking for items that are produced in bulk the last decades, please see if you can get some used. Think about stuff that is used every day like kitchen ware, glasses, desk stuff or bar stuff and so on.
When looking at the above items, why would you ever buy something like an ashtray or beer glasses new from the local shop? Getting them vintage is much more fun and environment friendly. Vintage is the new green!
5. Get the original.
In most cases the original design are made by a team of designers and engineers to ensure a great, new and original product. In many cases new patents are issued for the specific design as well. Improvements are not necessarily better.
Above is the Ianthe 1950’s Astray bottom showing 6 patent numbers. Now that is what you call the real deal. Below you find a newspaper holder Collator made by Absolut in the 1980’s. No longer sold but look-a-likes are widely available….needless to say…get the original while you can.
While there is still good stuff being produced, they do way a toll on the enviroment, are mass produced and in no way interesting or original. So if you like your stuff to have a great price-to-quality ratio, to be stylishand original and reduce your weight on theenviroment. Well…buy vintage whenever you can!