Mary McNair Needlework Samplers, ca. 1823

Value (2011) | $15,000 Insurance

My husband's parents took care of an old lady and looked after her. And when she died, she left them her things. And when they were cleaning out her house, Bill's mother found a stack of newspapers and decided to go through those before she threw them out. And she peeled off the samplers one by one and realized that she had something nice. At the time, I was doing some needlepoint myself, so she called me and said, "I found something you're really going to like." So she let me have them one by one.

First off, we've got "Mary McNair." Then when we look at this one over here, we've got "Mary McNair" and the date. And then here, it's "Mary McNair" and a very specific date, July 22, 1823. And then up here, November 8, 1823. We never, ever, ever see a progression of needlework. It's rare that we have more than one piece by a schoolgirl. That we have four is extraordinary. And that they get better with each one.

Yeah, she does.

Just fantastic that we have simple, a little more complex, and then a nice border here, more complex. And then the best of them all, and it's easy to see why, but this is a very gauzelike background. And literally, you can see through the background, and this almost floats. And the work is great. The colors have held up very well. These were most probably made in Chester County, which is just west of Philadelphia. Normally when we see something this late, we don't really put that high a value. We tend to like the earlier ones. And we certainly don't put a lot of value on simply letters and numbers. But in this case, I think we really have to deal with it as a group. But let's start with it piece by piece. So if we saw this one alone, it would only be a few hundred dollars.


And this one maybe double that-- $400 or $500. This one would maybe be at $1,000, $1,500.


Now, this one I really love, and it is a magnificent Chester County piece, even at this late date. And I would value this at $10,000.

Oh, how wonderful. Oh, my gosh.

Now, when you put them all together, I think there's a real bounce, and having the ability to have four needle works done in the same year, by the same artist, and absolutely, they must stay together.


I would value these at $15,000 for insurance purposes.

Okay. Thank you. That's a lot. I'm really happy. I'm pleased.

Appraisal Details

J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2011)
$15,000 Insurance
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Folk Art

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