This was in response to a question one of our readers
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
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