What Makes A Vintage Quilt Valuable?

Whether you are looking to buy an antique quilt, or have inherited a collection, you might find yourself asking, "How can I tell if a quilt is valuable?" A variety of factors can influence the value of a vintage quilt, but there are several key questions that you can ask yourself to get started.

What is the overall condition of the quilt?

The age of a quilt does not necessarily determine its quality. A surprising number of quilts in excellent condition can still be found. Though some may not have stood the test of time, many of the finest quilts were only used for visitors and special occasions, so they saw little use. Those are the ones to be on the lookout for.

Is the stitching well done? What patterns were used?

The needlework of an antique quilt is critical. Small, even stitches are the most prized and can significantly increase a value of a quilt. Here's a close up of Hexagon Quilt: Circa 1850, exhibiting both a complex pattern and quality stitching.

As a general rule of thumb, complex or unique quilt patterns are usually more desirable. However, Amish quilts, which are highly sought after, are an exception to this rule because they were frequently made with larger blocks of fabric that gave a "painterly" quality that is not seen in quilts of the non-Amish. Here, you can view more antique Amish quilts.

Civil War quilts or patriotic quilts are often fine examples of unique patterns and are desired by many quilt collectors.

This Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition Flags of the World Quilt depicts the flags of the nations that participated in the very first United States World Fair in 1876 that was held in Fairmount Park to memorialize the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

View Red Antique Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition Flags of the World Quilt

In addition, there is something of a hierarchy of desirability of colors. Some of these preferences are regional and others are personal.

To clarify, the preceding guidelines are just that: guidelines. One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting quilts is that it is highly subjective. Each individual can choose what is best for him or her, and there is no absolute right or wrong.

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