1830 American Embroidered Bedcover

Value (2010) | $22,000 Retail$25,000 Retail

I got this from my mom. She had purchased it at a little antiques shop in downtown Anaheim probably 20 years ago. She brought it home and rolled it up and put it under her bed because she had no place to put it. And when I went to see her, we dragged it out and she opened it up and showed it to me. And I could see right away that it has some kind of historical significance to it.

Now, was your mom a collector?

My mother was sort of like a collector of anything impulsively that she found.... Liked it and took it.

So she walks into the shop, sees this. Liked it, paid...?

I would say probably no more than a hundred dollars.

Now, at first glance, you might think she purchased a quilt.


But she didn't. What she purchased was an early American bedcover.

A bedcover, okay.

And that's part of the reason that the squares are positioned the way they are. So picture this lying on a bed draped over the sides where everything would now be very visible and in the right position. And up there in the corner is "1830." That's exactly the date we would want to see on a piece like this. The background material is just something that she probably purchased at the dry goods store. It's a piece of homespun. And she used that as her canvas to portray, more than likely, family history. It's the family story. This piece clearly was made on the East Coast, more than likely Connecticut, Massachusetts area. It's interesting that it's dated, but it's not signed. Usually pieces that are this strong graphically and are this artful, you sign because the maker is so proud of her work.

Oh, sure.

But for whatever reason, it remains unsigned. The outside is beautifully done in 20 squares, all depicting floral arrangements. The inside tells a wonderful story. We can start on the bottom here with an early American eagle with the shield, the arrows and the olive branch. Moving right up here to this wonderful, folky lion. This one right here, probably three family members. We see a degree of affluence. We see a military man, we see probably a merchant. When we move up to one of the houses-- and there are four houses-- we see this substantial brick home with three chimneys. So she's attempting to communicate in a very folky way, in a very naive way, the fact that the family homestead was quite substantial. It's a wonderful work of art. Now, in terms of value, retail, I would say $22,000 to $25,000.

Oh, my God. Whoa, I almost took a tumble there. Wow, that's, like, more than twice what my best hopes were.

And the textile marketplace has actually come down quite a bit in the last couple of years because of the economy. But pieces like this are what collectors still covet and will pay a very strong price for.

Wow, I'm just really still blown away. (both laughing) I'm going to float home.

Appraisal Details

Allan Katz Americana
Woodbridge, CT
Appraised value (2010)
$22,000 Retail$25,000 Retail
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
19th Century

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