For The Love Of Eyewear: Selling Vintage


Dead Stock, Heritage, Heirloom, Vintage, Retro, Antique, Iconic, whatever you choose to call it, Real vintage and antique eyewear is hot. As I was looking for companies that sold current products with vintage, I notices that many ‘Vintage Eyewear’ places did not even offer Vintage Frames. What’s up with that?

Which brings up the question, what is the difference between Antique, Vintage and Retro?

Antique; Merriam Webster, an antique is “a relic or object of ancient times” or “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.

Vintage: According to various sources are items that are at least 20 years old can be considered vintage. According to ebay: vintage”  refers to the year or era that the item first became popular. “Vintage Peanuts,” then, would refer to items produced in the 1950s era, when the comic strip was first popularized. If the item is not from that specific era, it may still be labeled as vintage, it should have a specific year attached to it: “Vintage 1971 Peanuts.” Labeling as such indicates that the item is not a replica of the 1971 Peanuts item, but an item actually produced in 1971.

Retro; We refer to Merriam Webster, retro is “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.

Heirloom, Historical and Heritage are updated and remade products from the past of a company. i.e Victory Optical had remade products from their 1940-1960 eyewear collections. Matsuda has a Heritage collection of remade products.

Other verbiage could be throwback, traditional, vestige, legacy collections.

While there are many vintage dealers online, a few eyecare professionals are adding antique and vintage eyewear into their product mix. We brought together a few examples of how they do it.

  • Hotel D’Ville (Los Angeles) has been around for awhile, has a store, sells online and is on
  • RetroSpecs (Los Angeles and Las Vegas) Has stores and is noted for antique and vintage historic spectacles between the late 1800’s to 1980’s.
  • Cat Eye Spectacles (Los Angeles) Store sells both new and vintage eyewear.
  • Old Focals (Pasadena, California) Has a store and is known as movie prop house.
  • Gentleman’s Breakfast (Echo Park, California) Eyewear store that specializes in vintage eyewear.
  • VanBrunt Optical Haus (Costa Mesa, California) This is a new optical shop with mixture of old and new eyewear.
  • Rare Eyewear (San Francisco) Eyewear store and sells online, Primary market is 1970’s and 1980’s eyewear.
  • Fine Arts Optical in San Francisco via Facebook, established 1930. Sells both old and new and new products. Note their hashtags. Vintage Eyewear
  • Family Optometric Care (Paso Robles, CA) Optometrists who carry a collection of old and new eyewear. A special section is set up in a corner.
Image Credit, Family Optometric Center


  • Urban Optique (Chicago, IL) buy and sell vintage eyewear. This is from their website.


New York

  • Fabulous Fannies (NY) Has been around for years as well and are well known for their vintage frames.
  • Silver Lining Opticians (NY) Optical store that carries a mixture of old and new.
  • Rare Frames (NY) Store that remake bespoke eyewear from antique and vintage frames.


  • Smith Opticians (Houston) The love of all things eyewear standout in optical shop. Carries a mix of old and new, crazy and traditional.



  • Solakzade: If you have been on Facebook for the last 8 years you will know Solakzade. Jeweler, optician,vintage eyewear restorer Tatsuya Okamoto and Rio Okamoto. They restore, repair and customize vintage frames and sometimes make bespoke eyewear at their atelier.
Speak Easy
Speak Easy
  • Speak Easy (Kobe) Used to have an online vintage eyewear shop and now operates in Kobe Japan the Speak Easy. The decor is antique and like walking into a mens club. They also sell vintage watches.


  • Opera Opera, retail store established in 1978.Their offerings include bespoke, vintage and current products.


  • Opticanado: is a retail optical store with a vintage department .


  • Vintage Frames Company Store Many of you may be familiar with Corey Shapiro who has been carrying and selling vintage frames to celebrities and the rest of us over the last 10 years .



  • Gafas Vintage Optical shop was established in 1955 and has an online store. They sell 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s eyewear.

Where to find: thrift shops, estate sales, flea markets, garage sales, frame vendors or even your current customers.

The biggest advantage to selling vintage and antique eyewear it does not go out of style. There is no need to worry about frame vendors, styling, name brands. If you are vintage or retro person the look is always in. People that wear these products are not subject to the whims of fashion.

Should you sell? Up to you, but if you do, have some fun and make sure you are doing for the love of the frame.



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