How to Choose a Vintage Gift

Today I’m starting a series on choosing vintage gifts. We’ll explore jewelry,clothing and more over the next few weeks before Christmas. But before we start on specifics, I thought a little bit of advice on what to look for would be helpful, and how to search online.


Vintage by definition means that an item is used and from another era. So, one needs to pay close attention to the seller’s description of condition. Any flaws should be described, and hopefully pictured. Think of you senses..any flaws that you can see,hear or smell should be noted. Then you need to use your judgment as to whether that flaw can be lived with or remedied.


Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s desirable or stylish now. Classics never go out of style and you will see elements of this style copied in today’s stylish fashion and decor. Some things are so ugly that they enter the hallowed ranks of kitschy. But some things are just not. Know the person that you are buying the gift for—if they like kitschy or they like classic, buy accordingly.

Likely to Increase in Value

Vintage items don’t always increase in value. But you know that the ones that do will continue to be desirable and stylish for decades into the future. This is a hard one to judge, but if the item is likely to increase in value, it is probably worth considering. If not, pause and think a bit about this one.

Searching Online Versus Searching Locally

Many of the articles that I read about buying vintage gifts suggest that you search at resale consignment shops, antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets. And this is a good idea if you are not so familiar with the type of gift you are purchasing. You can touch,inspect and smell the items to get an idea of what is quality and what is not. However, you can only see what is available nearby. With online sales, you get a whole world of variety to choose from. But you don’t get to touch, inspect or smell the items. As you would do if looking at an item in person, ask questions if the description is not clear to you.

And where to look online? I would do a search on google or your favorite search engine. Just enter a description of the type of item you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a vintage toy, enter “vintage toys“.  You will see pages of links to sellers of vintage toys.  And if you know you are looking for a vintage board game, use those keywords to narrow your search. If you have a favorite site like eBay or etsy, you can start by going to that site and entering your search terms there.

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