Cigar Ribbon Quilt, ca. 1890

Value (2012) | $3,000$5,000

It was from my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother made it. She was a milliner. She made hats. My great-grandfather was the accountant for a liquor store on Brannan Street here in San Francisco. This was one of the few things they kept that made it through the earthquake in 1906.

Now, you told me that it survived the earthquake and fire, along with something else?

My grandmother saved a parrot as well. So my great-grandmother took this, and my grandmother took the parrot, and they probably were one of those camping families.

Of all the things to save, I'm not sure anyone could have chosen to pick a parrot and a quilt. But what's really interesting about this quilt, and what makes it a rare survival, is that these are all cigar bands. And they're not cigar bands from the cigar itself, but cigars would be sold in bulk, and they would be wrapped in groups of 25 and 50 with a simple silk band. And the band would tell you the name of the cigar. The other thing about these is these cigar ribbons were typically not of a very high quality silk, because they were only an aside to the cigar. And so they would not survive, typically. And so this is an incredibly rare survival to have all these silk bands in near perfect condition. And there's over 350 silk bands here. All the various names for the cigars are listed. We have Caballeros, Extra Fina, Perfectos, Grand Republic, The Boss. The other interesting thing is that we tend to think of the cigar business today as something that's based solely in Havana, and the Cubans. And these do represent Cuban cigars, for the most part, but you'll also see symbols here representing the English kings. Here they have Reina Victoria, for Queen Victoria. The English had a big part of the cigar market in the late 19th century. In today's market, where cigar collectibles are very hot, I could easily see this doing $3,000 to $5,000 without any trouble.

Oh, my word. Well, it's a testament to my grandmother's mothballs that it's stayed in this condition.

Well, you can thank your grandmother for saving the parrot, which unfortunately I don't think has as much value today, and the great quilt.

Oh, thank you.

Appraisal Details

J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Update (2012)
Appraised value (1997)
San Francisco, CA (August 09, 1997)
Folk Art

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