American Album Quilt, ca. 1863

Value (2005) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

GUEST:
This has been in our family for several generations, and, uh... I have just inherited it from my mom and dad. I think it's just very beautiful, and each individual piece is different, and yet it works extremely well together.

APPRAISER:
Each one of these squares has a name on it. And how many of the names do you know?

GUEST:
Oh, well, I know several of the families. Some of them are my grandmother's family-- her name was Brooks-- and I recognize others as being family members also. And some of them I don't know. I guess it's a friendship quilt--

APPRAISER:
Uh-huh.

GUEST:
--that was done in a quilting bee atmosphere. And it's somewhere in south Jersey, I believe, is where it was all put together.

APPRAISER:
Well, one of the squares that's very close to you is this square right there. It says "Medford, New Jersey."

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And it says "1863," which is, I think, when the quilt was finished. And there's a second square, which is someplace down on the bottom here, which also says "Medford." And then there's also, as well-- I don't know if you noticed-- there's the date 1862, which tells us, perhaps, when it was being put together.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Some of the squares, like this one that's here, and then this one farther down that's here, are really very abstract, given when it was made, in the 1860s.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
There are squares like this butterfly here, which are very whimsical and playful in their nature. And then there're squares, like this one down here, which are patriotic. And somehow, when you look at it as a whole, it comes together as an embodiment of not just individual creativity, but how it was thought of as a complete unit. The fabrics that are in it, particularly this red, is a turkey red, and it's typical of the 1860s, as is this green and this green, which is worked, I believe, with an aniline dye. It's not the finest quilt I've ever seen, but it is on of the most imaginative ones. It's very simple applique along in here and, except for the square that's near you, which is worked in trapunto, it's a flatly composed quilt. Do you use it in your home, or have you thought about using it?

GUEST:
No, it's been in storage. I don't really have a good wall to hang it.

APPRAISER:
Well, you've obviously cared for it because, except for some staining which you see in some of the squares, it's in beautiful, beautiful condition. And I would value it somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000--

GUEST:
Oh, wonderful.

APPRAISER:
--at auction.

GUEST:
Very nice.

APPRAISER:
And it could go for more at a dealer's, I think.

GUEST:
All right.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cora Ginsburg, LLC
New York, New York
Appraised value (2005)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 13, 2005)
Period
19th Century
Form
Quilt
Material
Cloth

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