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    Mary Willard Needlework & Ephemera

    Appraised Value:

    $17,500 - $18,000

    Appraised on: July 29, 2006

    Appraised in: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Appraised by: J. Michael Flanigan

    Category: Decorative Arts

    Episode Info: Milwaukee, Hour 2 (#1118)

    Originally Aired: November 5, 2007

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 4 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Sampler, Ephemera
    Material: Paper, Thread
    Period / Style: 18th Century
    Value Range: $17,500 - $18,000

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    Appraisal Video: (0:00)


    Appraised By:

    J. Michael Flanigan
    Folk Art, Furniture
    Antiques Dealer
    J. M. Flanigan American Antiques

    Appraisal Transcript:

    GUEST: This was in my grandparents' home in Illinois, and it was there for my whole life. They inherited it all the way down. Started out with Aaron Willard, and this was his wife's sampler. Mary Partridge, when she was 11 years old, did this sampler, and she became Aaron Willard, the famous clockmaker's wife. My grandfather wanted me to have it because my name is Mary.

    APPRAISER: Well, for those out there in the audience who are not familiar with the famous Willard family, they are, without question, the premier clockmakers in American history. Simon and his brother, Aaron, had the most successful clock making business in pre-industrial America. They had numerous patents. They came up with the famous banjo clock. They did the lighthouse clock. They did famous clocks for some of the most prominent buildings in the Boston area. They were, without question, the great mechanical clock-making geniuses of early Federal America. Now, I love this – aside from the fact that it's Aaron Willard's wife – for a very important reason. This is Boston, 1772. We know her life dates. Says it right here – she’s born in 1761. When we look up here, it says, "In her 11th year," so that means it's 1772. There just ain't a lot of early Boston needlework that's pre-Revolutionary. That we have an ironclad history of the family… You know, one thing that's odd about a lot of needlework, it's all signed and dated, but a lot of times we don't know enough about the people that owned it because we lose the women's names once they get married. But in this case, we have an absolutely unbroken line. So it's very, very early. It's absolutely documented, and it's a... you know, it's a famous family. All those things are great. Now, on the downside – and there's always a downside – what most people really love in needlework is pictures. The more picture, the more money; the less picture, the less money.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: And in this one, we've got a nice border, nice pictorials in here, but the majority of it is words and letters. So on the downside, the graphic impact is a little on the low side. What's wonderful, of course, is that we have this silhouette portrait of Mary and Aaron, obviously much later in life, and what we believe is probably their son. These were probably done relatively at the same time. Probably done in the early 19th century, when they were obviously much older. We've got all this great history. I know you have no intention of ever parting with it. Having said that, we have to look at insurance value. I would insure this at about $12,500. Not a tremendous market value for Mary, in this case, but for a clock collector, they're really going to want this. And they would probably pay as much as, I'd say, $2,500 to have this silhouette of Aaron. The son is probably only in the range of about $500 to $800 because it's a nice frame, but not because of the personage or the quality of the work. So, as a whole package, for insurance purposes, we'd probably be at $17,500 to $18,000.

    GUEST: All right.

    APPRAISER: If you really want this to last for another 200 years, I would, without question, take it to a textile conservator to have it cleaned and have it remounted. Have some UV glass put over it, acid-free backing. Not going to change value, but it will certainly make it last longer.

    GUEST: Okay. Well, thank you very much.

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