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What is My Old Quilt Worth? posted: 1/19/2004
by Hallye Bone Printable Page
Category: General Method: All
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This was in response to a question one of our readers posed:

As an appraiser certified by the American Quilter's Society, I will try to answer the query regarding "What is my quilt worth?"

First, condition (not age) is the most important consideration before trying to place a value on a quilt. An old quilt can be poorly quilted for utilitarian purposes, for example. An old quilt can be heavily soiled. If your quilt were in pristine condition, binding intact, stitches firm, lots of quilting, neat, even stitches, and has never been washed or on a bed, it would affect its value positively. However, if some pieces were loose or frayed and worn, if the binding were worn, if some of the fabrics' dyes had bled or faded when the quilt was laundered, it would affect the quilt adversely.

Second, without seeing, feeling, and observing the quilt firsthand, it is almost impossible to appraise a quilt's value. A quilt improperly stored sometimes has mildew or smoke problems. Quilts are not all equal. Each one is unique. The most valuable quilts in today's market are blue and white, red and white and red, green and white, in that order.

Another consideration is how rare a quilt is. For example, during the Depression, many "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilts were made. However, sometimes, the pieces were very small, indicating more stitching, more work. Sometimes, the quiltmaker added three or four borders of tiny hexagons. These positive factors influence the value of a quilt. Your quilt may be a rare, complex design or it could be a simpler pattern that was often made.

Appraisers look at other similar quilts in the marketplace. They look at whether it would be possible to replace your quilt, too. Sometimes, dealers who advertise on the Internet or attend large quilt shows have similar quilts available for sale. The values they place on those quilts would influence your quilt.

My best advice on finding what a quilt is worth is to contact the AQS (American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY,) and get the list of their certified appraisers. Hopefully, there is an appraiser certified by the AQS in your area. We are all trained to evaluate a quilt's condition, features, and look at today's market and economic trends. We use the same guidelines and categories to determine a quilt's value. Many antiques magazines are reporting a decline in mid-range quilts' values. However, we are seeing that high-quality, rare quilts are holding their values.

Placing a value on a quilt, old or new, is more complex than it seems, one should proceed with care and caution to find out "what your quilt is worth."

2004 Hallye Bone

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