Sioux Blanket, ca. 1840

Value (2004) | $60,000 Retail$75,000 Retail

APPRAISER:
This was made by your great-great-grandmother-- is that correct?

GUEST:
That's correct.

APPRAISER:
And her name was...?

GUEST:
Jane Dixon La Frambois. And she was married to Joseph La Frambois

APPRAISER:
Yes, that's the French pronunciation. And we know that he was an interpreter to the Sioux.

GUEST:
Yes, and he was a fur trader. He came here from Mackinac Island as a fur trader.

APPRAISER:
And your great-great-grandmother-- she was Sioux, you believe?

GUEST:
Yes, as far as we know, she was part Ojibwa, part Sioux and about a quarter English.

APPRAISER:
Do you know what this object is?

GUEST:
Well, it's called a blanket. For a time it was in the museum at Sleepy Eye, loaned to them by a granddaughter of hers, and then it was given back to my mother later and the card they put on it, they called it a blanket.

APPRAISER:
It is a blanket, it's a woman's blanket and it's a woman's shawl, or dance blanket.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
And it is the best one of these I have ever seen in my life...

GUEST:
Hmm.

APPRAISER:
Privately, publicly, in a museum-- it is the Rolls-Royce of these. Now, we know Joseph La Frambois died in 1856.

GUEST:
That's correct.

APPRAISER:
Your great-great-grandmother died... Do you know when?

GUEST:
About 1885.

APPRAISER:
Well, I suspect she made this before her husband died.

GUEST:
Yes, I think during their marriage.

APPRAISER:
I would date this around 1840.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It's all trade material. There's no indigenous material, so all the material here was got through the fur trade-- trading furs for the beads, trading furs for the blanket, for the silk. It has stunning silk appliqué work most of the way around the outside border. Beautifully designed, in terrific condition. The color preservation is still quite good, given how old it is.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
These blankets are generally made by the Osage tribe, which are related to the Sioux. This is a Sioux variation, and the Osage just did this ribbon work-- looked slightly different-- without doing the beadwork. And what really makes this blanket, for me, is this beadwork.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Really tiny beads, extraordinary sense of color. Your great-great-grandmother was extremely talented.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
This center medallion here is so beautiful.

GUEST:
That's my favorite part.

APPRAISER:
These stars across the bottom. Normally, there's no beadwork on these at all. Normally, they're 50 years newer.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Normally, they don't look anything like this at all. It is fantastic. There's a little bit of condition problem here. We can see where there's probably moth damage.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
Really needs to be conserved.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
They just need to back it with an acid-free cloth that's the same color as this. What that also does is it stabilizes it and it will stop it from degrading any further. Because this is such a treasure, you want to make sure that this lasts for as long as it can. One of the problems we have-- how do you come up with a price? Any idea?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
The next best one that I've ever seen, my gallery sold ten years ago for $30,000. I think, conservatively, somewhere between $60,000 and $75,000 for this.

GUEST:
Well, I don't think they can have it.

APPRAISER:
Good for you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Donald Ellis Gallery
Dundas, Ontario, Canada
Appraised value (2004)
$60,000 Retail$75,000 Retail
Event
St Paul, MN (June 26, 2004)
Period
19th Century
Form
Blanket

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