Slave Quilt, ca. 1830
Appraised Value: $40,000 - $60,000 (2003)
$40,000 - $60,000 (2013)
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We contacted appraiser Nancy Druckman for an updated appraisal in today's market.
• Current Appraised Value: $40,000 - $60,000 (Unchanged)
Appraisal Video: (2:26)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art
GUEST: I purchased this quilt approximately, like, eight years ago at an auction down in Arkansas.
APPRAISER: And this quilt has an African motif design on it. The pattern here represents the Shango deity, and the colors red, white and blue stand for protection.
GUEST: So it was made by an African- American slave in the South?
APPRAISER: Yes, in the South.
GUEST: But incorporating motifs and colors that come out of that culture.
GUEST: And what do you know about the provenance?
APPRAISER: Actually, I found out that it came from the Polk estate. And I was able to get the paperwork with the quilt.
APPRAISER: That actually is one of the most interesting aspects of this remarkable survivor. Because in all of this kind of African-American material, as with all other kinds of antiques, the provenance, the history of ownership, is very key to the value. And what makes this so sensational, beyond what it looks like and what it represents, is the fact that there is documentation that comes along with it: an inventory that was done for Mr. Polk's estate when he died in the spring of 1864. And in this inventory is listed all of his worldly possessions, his slaves and quilts.
GUEST: And the quilts, right.
APPRAISER: And also this piece has been used in two major exhibitions that have occurred in the last several years.
APPRAISER: And here you can see that it's been used for the cover and a large color illustration in the book. So this piece is listed in Mr. Polk's inventory at the time of his death, which was 1864.
GUEST: But it's actually earlier, right?
APPRAISER: Yes, I believe the quilt is dated between 1825, 1830.
APPRAISER: So you put all of that interesting documentation together, and you've got something which could be $40,000 or $50,000 or $60,000.
GUEST: That's amazing, wow.
APPRAISER: But it's rare to find all of these things coming together in this way.
GUEST: I'm excited. I don't want to fall down!
APPRAISER: It's an amazing survivor.
GUEST: Yes, it is.
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