This has been one of the most popular guest posts I have written for the Metrolina Restore Blog.
When you first start shopping around for vintage items you quickly realize that there is a entire language devoted to the states and conditions in which these items are found. I did a lot of my early vintage education by searching selling sites on the web because I wanted to be able to quickly identify things in resale stores–and the terms became mind boggling. I certainly wish I had been more familiar with these terms when I first started shopping around for my midcentury treasures – and so now I am going to quickly give you the advantage of my extensive research!
The first three you should know are the differences between the use of the terms “retro”, “vintage” and “antique”. These words are often used interchangeably for items but the correct definitions, according to my research are: Antique is any item 100+ years old. Vintage is an item that is at least 20 years old. Retro is a word often used to describe a style of something that is actually new (possibly a reproduction) but has an older vintage feel to it. Retro is also often used when age is unknown-so be aware.
There is an entire group of acronyms used in relation to condition of vintage items. As I said above, many are used on selling sites like Ebay and Etsy which is where I got a lot of my early education about midcentury items. Many people also use these terms on Instagram- my very favorite site to share pics of midcentury finds! (Check me out there at @modbettie)
Lots of these terms are extremely subjective like the following:
EVC/ EUVC– Excellent Vintage Condition / Excellent Used Vintage Condition
also often substituted are
VGVC– Very Good Vintage Condition and GVC-Good Vintage Condition
I don’t tend to personally find these terms too helpful, but people do often use them so it’s good general knowledge to know what they mean.
The following terms are the ones I have found very useful when doing vintage research on midcentury items. (Many of these I just die over when I find! )
IOP/IOB or NIOP/ NIOB– In Original Packaging / In Original Box or New In Original Packaging/ In Original Box.
|I adore the colors and graphics on these kitchen items that were found IOP.|
I just ADORE midcentury packaging: the colors! the graphics! the kitschy sales pitches! So I just completely geek out over finding items IOB or IOP, even if the packaging shows wear:
|Soufflé dish IOB and with original paperwork and 1960s recipes|
NWT/ NWOT– New With Tag/ New With Out Tag- This one tricked me for a long time; I thought NWOT meant “new with original tag”. This term is often also used in the reselling world for non-vintage items.
|These beautiful linens from Penny’s were found NWT and are also NOS.|
NOS– New old stock/ Deadstock –Refers to new, unused vintage items
NOC/MOC- New on card/ Mint on Card (often refers to toys or items in a bubble package)
|Cocktail pics NOC, or possibly deadstock.|
HTF-Hard To Find- this is a term often misused. I suggest using your favorite search engine to verify exactly how HTF and item actually is.
|The Pyrex Duchess Promotional Casserole on the top is HTF; the two pieces on the bottom are not.|
MIB-Mint in Box
MIOB/ MIOP- Mint in Original Box/Packaging
MIJ-Made in Japan – often denotes midcentury time period
and one last one for when you find that really great haul:
BIA-Buy it All – Good for use especially at the ReStores when the deals are overwhelming!
I hope this has helped you understand a bit more about the terms and acronyms used for conditions of vintage and midcentury items. Remember- when in doubt, use your favorite search engine!
What great IOP or IOB items have you found? I’d love to see….