American Album Quilt, ca. 1850
This quilt came from my mother. She was married twice. When she married in the '40s, the second marriage, this quilt came to her then and has been around ever since I can remember. She used to have a paper that talked about the quilt, and she referred to it always as the centennial quilt. And that paper had a listing of the names of the people that had worked on the quilt, and they made this quilt in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. But that paper is long gone. And I've looked a lot and I've not found it. I notice there is one name.
Is that a family member or do you know who that is?
I have no idea who that name is.
Okay. Well, it's certainly done in the style of a Baltimore album quilt. When we first looked at it, we thought it was from Baltimore, but most of the Baltimore quilts were actually done by professional quilters, and so they're a little bit finer than yours. We can tell because of the differences in the quality and the ability of the quilters, it's made by a number of different people. If you compare this very simple block to this much more detailed block, that's certainly a huge difference in the ability of the quilter. On top of that we can see that some of the squares are actually made from different material. This one is very white, where the one next to it has more of a muslin look. Now, you mentioned that you thought that it was a centennial quilt. And I'm assuming that's because of this center piece. It's possible that it could be a centennial quilt, but just looking at the quilt based primarily on the color scheme, all these red, green and white squares, it actually looks like it's probably from 1850, as late, possibly, as 1860. I would be very surprised if it was done in 1876 for the centennial. If that were the case, I really would have thought they would put a date on here. When I look at your quilt, I can tell it's been washed at least once, because it's got this kind of puckered look.
A quilt that's never been washed has a flat look, and this has been washed at least once, possibly more than that, unfortunately, and that does reduce the value a little bit. The quilt market really topped out in the 1980s, and just like the stock market and the antiques market, the quilt market is really down right now. Have you ever had this appraised?
I had it appraised once about 12, 15 years ago.
And that gentleman said around $300.
In today's market, soft as it is, this quilt for insurance value or the retail value would be somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.
In the height of the market, it would have probably been $12,000 to $15,000.
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