1867 Nautical Quilt

Value (2013) | $12,000 Auction$25,000 Auction

It's been in my father's side of the family. It was my great-great- great-uncle's. He was a sea captain that sailed primarily out of Portland, Maine. He was originally from Norway. That's about all I know about it.

And that is the man of whom you're speaking?

Yes, his name was Charles, and I just recently found out it was Musaus. We always thought it was "Moo-say-us," but I spoke to a Norwegian gentleman and I found out it was "Moo-Saus." His wife did sail with him sometimes.

A lot of quilts, you see the same motifs and designs, kind of standardized patterns, which are very charming, but often repeated. In this case, I must say that I haven't seen a quilt like this before. A quilt with so specific a nautical theme with the identity of the man who owned the quilt conjures up his whole career, and what was important to him was being the captain of this vessel out of Portland, Maine. And we can see the things that were important to him. You can see that they were charting a course. We've got a binnacle. We've got the flag, which probably indicates the name of the vessel. You have the Norwegian Union flag. You've got a speaking horn that would have been used by a deckhand. You've got a barometer, a lighthouse, a sextant. It's all here. I've never seen a quilt with these particular designs combined in this way, so it's the sort of quilt that would, at least in the marketplace, be appealing not only to people who love quilts, but also people who are interested in maritime antiques. So we can talk a little bit about condition, and essentially, most areas are very bright and beautiful, and it would seem in all likelihood it has not been washed, which is important, because the colors haven't run. However, there are some condition issues. When we look at particularly the blue fabric, which appears to be wool, that's suffered. The cotton itself has remained in really excellent condition. As a work of art, it's very exciting. As a piece of maritime history, it really is unlike anything that I have ever seen, and I've been in this business for a while now. Looking at its rarity and its beauty, combined with some condition problems, I would estimate it, at least at auction, at probably $12,000 to $18,000. And I think for insurance purposes, there's not enough money in the world to protect this thing because this is it-- it's very precious-- but nonetheless, I think for insurance purposes, I wouldn't even hesitate about maybe going upwards to $20,000 or $25,000.

Geez! (laughing)

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2013)
$12,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
Boise, ID (June 29, 2013)
Folk Art

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