Monday, July 20, 2015

Antique Quilt Values---2015

Quilt perhaps 1840-1880

Did you see the PBS Antiques Roadshow episode aired July 13, 2015 in which they revisited the appraisal on this mid-19th-century quilt?
In the year 2000, the appraiser valued it at $1,200 to $1,500, despite some condition issues.

The 2015 value: $400-600

See a short clip by clicking here:

And on July 15, 2015, a New York auction house sold this quilt, which they described as a "Rare Colorful Antique American Patchwork Quilt. With flower basket and bird motifs, signed S.A.N. 1840. Velcro mounted to board. 76 X 75.5". Some discoloration." Opening bid $2,000.


Emails flew.
Was this an authentic high-style Baltimore Album quilt? You know the kind that used to sell for over $100,000!

See a similar quilt here at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:
Debby Cooney and Ronda McAllen (experts on the style) had seen the quilt in the auction before:

Here's an ad in The Clarion from spring, 1991

The quilt sold for $8,500 plus the 20% buyer's premium: $10,200.

It's a good time to buy.


  1. Seems sad that the value on these treasures are going down instead of up.

  2. I believe 2 things going on, not just in antique quilts, but antiques in general.

    1. the Great Financial Woes of 2007-2010 (still going on?) recently gave a swift kick to all but the very top quality antiques.

    2. this is probably the big one - fashion changes. For quite a while home decorating was into quilts/country big time, which gave a boost to more affordable items. Now it's gone toward repurposed items found in a barn or scrap pile with knit or crochet throws. At one time, the improvisational quilts were considered good only for dog beds or covering furniture while moving. Since the Gee's Bend quilts hit the news, that style of quilt has been on the rise, not just for those who buy quilts, but for those who make them. It's not just quilts, very few want the silver, the Victorian wood furniture, the china that must be hand washed, etc. I imagine they will be back in fashion someday though.

    I for one am mixed on this, sad that the values are going down, but OTOH, it means I might be able to afford some of these beauties.

  3. I did see that appraisal and was not surprised. The "trend" is away from quality antique furniture, most glassware, toys, dolls and quilts.....unless it has some wonderful historical connection...that might be the exception. I've noticed that most artwork, bronzes, Tiffany....what I call artsy-fartsy....continue to do well. I have a house full of solid wood furniture, mostly walnut. A lot of it came from the Amana Colonies that are near me. They have closed all the furniture maker shops....I think there might be one still open....you used to have to wait years to get your piece. I did that several times. We had some family sell off a few pieces of it for an estate and the table and chairs didn't even bring $50.....which is frankly is appalling and the hutch maybe was $50 or $60....it was beautiful and solid walnut. You can't buy that kind of quality at the store today without spending major $$$$....you are not going to find that good of a piece at Pier 1 or Home Goods, etc. Most people seem to want to paint everything.....seems like a fad and will tire quickly. But it is probably just me, I like classic things. I don't have the money to redecorate every 5 years. But I also have a house full of my grandparents things....only granddaughter....so most things I handle I love and it means something to me....I love that connection. Most don't have that....they toss it and buy something else....to each his own.

  4. Obviously, Ms Ambrose is not that up to date with the Quilt World. It's amazing how many people don't know the true value of these works of art we call quilts.