Definitions of Key Terms
The following common terms appear often in ANTIQUES ROADSHOW video segments and will be helpful to students' understanding and use of material culture and primary-source documents. For a list of additional terms, see the "Antiques Speak" Glossary.
Antique — Generally, an object made more than 100 years ago. To find out more, see the glossary article "Antique" on this site.
Appraiser — An expert who assesses the value, quality, and authenticity of works of art or other objects. To find out more about being an appraiser, see the article "How Do You Become an Appraiser?" on this site.
Archive — A place where public records or other materials are organized and stored.
Artifact — An object made by a human being, typically an item of historical or cultural interest.
Authentication — The process of verifying the identity of an object and certifying that it is genuine (i.e., that it is what it seems to be).
Collateral — Acceptable security for a loan, favor, or service.
Collectible — Collectibles come in three forms: Artistic and historic objects that are less than 100 years old; popular items that are mass-produced but that may not have any individual artistic merit; and objects that gain value because of their associations. To find out more, see the glossary article "Collectible" on this site.
Heirloom — A valued possession passed down in a family through successive generations.
Decorative Arts — A category of artwork that is made mainly for utility, often including furniture, jewelry, pottery, and woven items.
Inheritance — Something received from a predecessor, such as a parent or grandparent, often through a will or other legal means.
Limited Edition — An edition of an object, print, or book that is limited in the number of copies produced, sometimes in order to increase the selling price of the object. To find out more, see the glossary article "Limited Edition" on this site.
Material Culture — In a given community or society, the material objects that people make, collect, and use, which give insight into the beliefs and customs held by that community.
Memorabilia — Objects that are valued for their connections with historical or cultural events, such as political campaigns, concerts, sporting events, etc. To find out more, see the glossary article "Memorabilia" on this site.
Pop Art — ("Pop" comes from "popular.") Artwork that tends to use common everyday items as its subject.
Pop Culture — ("Pop" comes from "popular.") Mainstream, or widespread, features and trends that tend to define a society at any given time, including such things as language, fashion, entertainment, literature, and music.
Provenance — The record of ownership of a work of art or antique object, often used as a guide to the item's quality, authenticity, and value. To find out more, see the glossary article "Provenance" on this site.
Roadshow (or Road Show) — A traveling presentation.