Hawaiian Flag Quilt, ca. 1915

Value (2006) | $25,000 Retail

It was made for my mother's half-brother when he was a baby, so I'm guessing probably around 1915, 1916. And it's pretty much been in my family ever since and it was passed on to me. I don't know who made it for him. I just know that it was made for him when he was a baby. At some point, it came back to my mother 'cause my uncle had left and was living on the mainland, and it's been in the family ever since I can... since I was probably about five or six.

Now, what do you know about the quilt?

Very, very little. Uh, the flag part of it, you know, the flag quilt-- my dad used to refer to the coat of arms in the middle of it. Um, nothing else.

Now, do you know anything about the coat of arms?

No, absolutely not.

It is the coat of arms of King Kamehameha, who was the king who formed the association of Hawaiian Islands and joined the eight islands together. And this is the royal crown here. These are the royal ceremonial staffs. This is the ancient outrigger's flag, and it has the crossed spears here. The influence of the British flag and then the stripes for the various islands that made up the Hawaiian Islands. After annexation in 1898 by the United States, the quilt makers took great liberty in making these quilts, so you won't always find them with eight stripes. A very interesting thing about the technique here, the women who made these quilts always put the quilting one finger apart. So if you look at any of the quilting on this, each line of quilting will be one finger apart. They were quite common right after annexation, so it would be from 1900 to 1920, which fits in perfectly. I think this quilt is in magnificent condition. Now, how have you preserved it?

Rolled up in an old sheet in the closet.

That's probably as good a way to preserve it as any. It's better to roll a quilt rather than to fold it.


Now, do you have any idea of what this is worth?

Well, I know about ten years ago a dealer offered my dad about $5,000, but my dad said, "Absolutely not." He didn't care. He was keeping it in the family. That really was not enough money.

This quilt in an antique shop today-- because of the family history and the condition, this is so historic and so important-- that I feel this quilt has a value of $25,000.

Okay! (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Northeast Auctions
Portsmouth, NH
Appraised value (2006)
$25,000 Retail
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)
Folk Art

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