One complaint I often hear in online forums from people who are new to Etsy or vintage selling in general is that the word "vintage" gets thrown around a little too easily. And in some cases, I agree. I would cringe to see the word "vintage" applied to a collectible from 2006...but it happens. More on that later.
First of all let's go to Etsy's requirements for selling an item as vintage. If you're not aware, you can only list an item on Etsy if it's handmade, a supply for making something, or vintage.
From the Etsy Guidelines : "Vintage items are 20 years or older.
For the most part, this is the guideline that I use...20 years+ although its a bit disconcerting to realize that anything from 1995 can be called 'vintage'!! Yikes. Now I feel old. But we're not talking serious antiques...we're just talking about a way to categorize items so they fit in on Etsy. The Powers that Be at Etsy are striving to create a certain feel to the Etsy site...unique items that are either OOAK (One of a Kind) handmade or old enough that you can't go out to the mall and buy them right now.
I was so excited to see this definition from Mr Merriam-Webster himself: "Vintage: used to describe something that is not new but that is valued because of its good condition, attractive design, etc." (I also discovered a feature on the Merriam-Webster site...definitions for language learners. Because sometimes you need things written out in simple English to really get it) I love this definition! It has nothing to do with grapes and it sums up vintage so nicely! So actually, applying this definition...I could see a little more leeway in the usage department. I could understand if someone listed a Starbucks mug from 1999 as vintage...even if its not technically 20 years old (well this would have to be on Ebay, not Etsy). Because among the Starbucks mug collecting community..they understand that 1999 is on the older end of available mugs. So its 'vintage' within that genre. But that's really a side point. The main point is that vintage is unique! It's generally not easily found...(unless its this bean pot):