1761 Crewel Embroidered Bedspread
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:37)
Decorative Arts, Rugs & Textiles
Appraiser of Fine Art and Antiques
Szescila Appraisal Service
GUEST: I inherited it from my mother several years ago when she passed away. Mary Willcox is my fourth great-grandmother, and I had some information from my mother about her. And then I do know that Benjamin Franklin was a friend of the family. Mary Willcox's father was in the paper-making business and Mr. Franklin bought paper from him. Based on family history that I've been told, he was a frequent guest of the Willcoxes. And on one of the visits, he designed this wreath that you see on the bedspread.
APPRAISER: Textiles by their very nature are very fragile, and unfortunately, very few of them survive from this period. We have the name of the maker, Mary Willcox, and the date is February 18, 1761.
APPRAISER: We're always thrilled to see even a fragment of a bedspread from this period, but to find one that is totally intact of this quality and age is really a rare thing. It's composed of birds and flowers and even butterflies. And you have this beautiful border around the edge that goes completely around the quilt. And then in the center we have a medallion, and as you mentioned, it could possibly have been designed by Benjamin Franklin. But that's something that we really can't prove.
APPRAISER: And so I can't really take a lot of that into the value of the quilt. One of the most interesting things about this quilt to me is the fact that the dyes and the colors are still so true. Most of the time when we find something like this, we have to turn it over on the back and hope that we can find enough dye left in the yarns to determine what color it used to be. This is done on a very fine linen, and it has excellent, excellent crewelwork done in wool. Have you ever had this appraised?
GUEST: Never have, never have.
APPRAISER: Well, you do have some serious condition issues, I'm sure you're aware of that.
GUEST: I'm aware of that.
APPRAISER: That affects value a great deal. And the only people who could probably buy this is an institution because it's going to take a lot of care, a lot of conservation now and forever. It will always have to be climate controlled. So I would think that it would probably sell for a retail price of $3,000 to $5,000.
APPRAISER: If it were perfect, it would be $100,000 to $125,000.
GUEST: My goodness. It's amazing that it's older than our country.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.