Byrd Commemorative Quilt, ca. 1930

Value (2012) | $5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
It was made after the Byrd expedition into Antarctica, and the sisters took it from his book that he wrote and put it on a quilt--the airplane, the ship, and then how they toted stuff in.

APPRAISER:
So this particular expedition occurred in 1928, when he first flew over the South Pole, I believe.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
These women got together and produced this quilt to commemorate that event, I would assume.

GUEST:
Yes, yes.

APPRAISER:
These sisters in St. Martin's Academy. And where was that?

GUEST:
It was in Sturgis at that time. Sturgis, South Dakota.

APPRAISER:
So, locally, then.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah. When they closed up that wing of the academy, they had to get rid of all the knickknacks and stuff.

APPRAISER:
So you acquired this by buying...?

GUEST:
The whole works.

APPRAISER:
So this came as the bonus.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
I have a feeling that this is what you were after.

GUEST:
Yeah, this was the only thing that we really wanted.

APPRAISER:
It's a magnificent, really exciting picture with this incredible sunset, the airplane of the period, and his vessel here delivering supplies. Byrd was, like, really famous. He became an American hero as a result of this very successful expedition, and I think he saw the South Pole as a place for opportunity, a place where there could be resources, and a place that somehow America should be a part of. It wasn't a desolate place to be ignored, but rather a place to be explored. And indeed he became world famous doing just this. What did you pay for the quilt?

GUEST:
Well, we didn't get the quilt by itself. We had to buy the whole room full of stuff, and we gave them $1,000.

APPRAISER:
So, you have not had this appraised before?

GUEST:
No, no.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
My partner did take it to a quilt show, and the ladies there, "Oh," they said, "Man, what that thing must be worth!" But they wouldn't put no price on it.

APPRAISER:
Do you have any idea what you think it might be worth?

GUEST:
I wouldn't have a drop of notion what it might be worth.

APPRAISER:
I think the value of this quilt at auction I'd think would certainly be at least $5,000. It's a difficult number to come up with because in my experience, I've never seen anything quite like it.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
It's just in perfect condition. So, did you get inspired? Are you going to take up quilting now that you've seen...

GUEST:
No, I'm just going to try and buy his share, but I hate to have him know what you guys appraised it for. (laughs)

APPRAISER:
I think he's going to find out.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Appraised value (2012)
$5,000 Auction
Event
Rapid City, SD (July 14, 2012)
Period
20th Century
Form
Quilt
Material
Cloth

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