Byrd Commemorative Quilt, ca. 1930
Appraised Value: $5,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:49)
Clocks & Watches, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture
Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts, Partner, Executive Vice President & Chief Auctioneer
GUEST: It was made after the Byrd expedition into Antarctica, and the sisters took it from his book that he wrote and put it on a quilt--the airplane, the ship, and then how they toted stuff in.
APPRAISER: So this particular expedition occurred in 1928, when he first flew over the South Pole, I believe.
APPRAISER: These women got together and produced this quilt to commemorate that event, I would assume.
GUEST: Yes, yes.
APPRAISER: These sisters in St. Martin's Academy. And where was that?
GUEST: It was in Sturgis at that time. Sturgis, South Dakota.
APPRAISER: So, locally, then.
GUEST: Yeah, yeah. When they closed up that wing of the academy, they had to get rid of all the knickknacks and stuff.
APPRAISER: So you acquired this by buying...?
GUEST: The whole works.
APPRAISER: So this came as the bonus.
APPRAISER: I have a feeling that this is what you were after.
GUEST: Yeah, this was the only thing that we really wanted.
APPRAISER: It's a magnificent, really exciting picture with this incredible sunset, the airplane of the period, and his vessel here delivering supplies. Byrd was, like, really famous. He became an American hero as a result of this very successful expedition, and I think he saw the South Pole as a place for opportunity, a place where there could be resources, and a place that somehow America should be a part of. It wasn't a desolate place to be ignored, but rather a place to be explored. And indeed he became world famous doing just this. What did you pay for the quilt?
GUEST: Well, we didn't get the quilt by itself. We had to buy the whole room full of stuff, and we gave them $1,000.
APPRAISER: So, you have not had this appraised before?
GUEST: No, no.
GUEST: My partner did take it to a quilt show, and the ladies there, "Oh," they said, "Man, what that thing must be worth!" But they wouldn't put no price on it.
APPRAISER: Do you have any idea what you think it might be worth?
GUEST: I wouldn't have a drop of notion what it might be worth.
APPRAISER: I think the value of this quilt at auction I'd think would certainly be at least $5,000. It's a difficult number to come up with because in my experience, I've never seen anything quite like it.
APPRAISER: It's just in perfect condition. So, did you get inspired? Are you going to take up quilting now that you've seen...
GUEST: No, I'm just going to try and buy his share, but I hate to have him know what you guys appraised it for. (laughs)
APPRAISER: I think he's going to find out.
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