" This is a very nice old quilt that I am told is a Mourning Quilt. The quilt measures 90” x 70” and is extremely heavy. The top is made of pieces of men's clothing. Some of the pieces are said to be pieces of a uniform worn in the civil war."
The bidding started on that quilt at $37 which seems a reasonable price for a nicely embroidered comforter in good shape.
Not so reasonably priced are similar quilts purchased for $450 or more, purported to be pieced of Civil War uniforms. The writer who's paid this amount wants to know if I can confirm a Civil War provenance. And what is the quilt worth?
I don't do appraisals but I can usually confirm that the buyer has been taken.
These embroidered, tied wool quilts are very common. I did a search on eBay in late October and found 13 examples for sale that day with bidding ranging from $9.99 for a top to $285 (for a crib-size). They varied in skill level, detail and condition, but all were squares and/or rectangles of subdued wools.
Many were embroidered and some were finished with ties on the top.
It's easy to see why one might think these are Civil War uniforms. The fabrics are so often blue and gray.
1. Without some strong family history or other corroboration, the story is very likely to be false.
2. If there is strong evidence, consult an expert on Civil War uniforms rather than a quilt expert, as most of us are not experts on army uniforms.
3. While many Union soldiers wore uniforms of some consistent design and fabric in navy blue, Confederates wore diverse clothing of diverse fabrics, from butternut brown to Confederate "gray" to everyday clothing.
4. Confederate gray is not what we would call gray, which is a colorless pale shade of black. The Confederate uniforms I have see are what I would call blue, a pale blue wool. I have seen only a few, but the pictures here look to be made of wool fabric woven of blue and white warps and wefts, the kind of cloth we still call jeans. The dark blue yarn (probably dyed with indigo or Prussian blue) crossed with a white yarn gives a pale blue effect.
The comforters in question were made about 1890-1930, often from wool samples torn from sample books. See a book below.