To paraphrase Judge John M Woolsey in his Ulysses decision - I know it when I see it.
I am in the school that believes it to be meaningless advertising descriptor for used items. It is in the same camp as "retro" except that the latter is usually selling new nostalgic fantasy items.
We are at the point where we can narrow down 99% of all banjos to a given decade or two. Vague descriptors like "vintage," are only needed by people who are ignorant of banjos but are trying to sell them.
Webster has several definitions for "vintage". Of course the first one deals with wine where it originated. The others can have various meanings that include old and quality. It is also quite proper to say, "I have a vintage 2019 Stelling" - simply declaring the year it was made with no reference to it's quality.
I like what someone said earlier in the thread about it's vintage if you're selling and used if you're buying.
Thanks all for your contributions about the meaning of "Vintage".
I really appreciate your views.
I hadn't considered quality as part of the "Vintage" sphere.
Quality being kind of subjective I still have that feeling that "Vintage" means "Old".
I really liked Alvin Conder's: " I know it when I see it".
Speaking of which I wonder if we should have gone to Tuesday's May 13, 2018 auction in Mansfield, Ohio (attached) just to check out that "Vintage" Harmony Banjo on the auction block!!
You'll know it is "Vintage" when you see it!!!
'easy bake ovens' 6 min
'Fults Pro 5 Tailpiece' 11 min
'Recording King RK-R20' 29 min