Antiques are objects which have reached an age which makes them a witness of a previous era in human society - this definition comes from wikipedia (the free encyclopedia).
Antiques (Latin antiquus, old) are objects that can be considered as a witness of a previous era in human society. Antiques are usually things that show some handcraft or draw a certain attention because of the atypical construction that gives it a market value superior to similar objects of recent manufacture. Any historical museum has a considerable number of antiques in order to illustrate historical events and give them a practical context. Not any object can become an antique - it is a human prerogative to define whether it is actually worth something in the market place. Antiques are usually bought at antique stores, or passed down as an estate. Some valuable antiques can be bought from antique dealers or auction.
So antiques are old items that are in limited supply and the more limited they are, the more antique these items are. Another way of thinking about antiques is as something collectible. The items you want to collect must be rare enough to be considered antiques. Everything else is second-hand goods or junk. One misconception people have about antique items is that the older they look, the more antique they must be. Wrong! Appearance has nothing to do with it. If no one wants it, it's just a piece of junk.
How old must a chair be, a plate or a clock to be considered an antique without anyone arguing the point? Some people insist on the age of 80-100 years. Yet a watch that is only 75, but it looks quite old-fashioned can't be antique?
An official definition of an antique is stated in the Tariff Act of 1930. According to this document, antiques are "works of art" (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830."
This statement content is clear, but the year 1830 is just an arbitrary date in the classification of antiques.
It is fact that any antique you come across that doesn't draw your attention or suggests no use to you may be a real treasure to someone else. The statistics are that only ten to one of people who buy are the collectors. Many collectors, even those who buy extremely expensive items can assemble a group that is valuable in terms of money. There are people that buy antiques as an investment which can be valuable in the future.
Collectors, both those who rely on the experts when buying and those who do not, are bound to learn a good deal about things he or she collects and most of them become shrewd buyers.
All this knowledge and experience is gained with the flow of time, due to constant work in the given sphere, due to communication with other collectors and dealers. And one more thing - to be a collector is to have an appreciation of antiques. That is the inner engine of every collector, remember it.