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Thread: "Antique" Quilts

  1. #1

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    So, I just spent a little time meandering around the local antique mall. They had a lot of old quilts there. What I noticed, though, was that they were all priced between $145 and $195. They varied in size from a small lap quilt to a queen size quilt, and while one was in beautiful shape, most had significant damage and/or staining, and some were just plain falling apart. It didn't seem to matter, they were all priced the same, even with their varying size, condition, and were in about 10 different booths. On top of that, there was a lap-size quilt top (not quilted at all) that was priced at $65. I asked the salesperson if they would come down on it, and they said no, because it was, "such an unusual, hard to find pattern that takes a lot of skill to make." It was a bow-tie quilt top. I've seen patterns for dozens of those. Heck, I have patterns for dozens of those in my stash of various quilting books and magazines. What is so unusual about it?

    Anyway, I left the mall thinking that no one there has any idea what they're doing, and they're all just following each other and slapping similar prices on things without doing any research or having any logic behind what they do. I am not an expert on old quilts, but I have a hard time believing that they should all be priced the same, given the varying condition and size, and some I wouldn't pay more than $20 for, since I think they're only good for scavenging vintage fabric, which might fall apart in the wash anyway.

    What do you guys think? Anyone here with experience with antique quilts? How much do they usually run?

    Thanks for letting me ramble on...

  2. #2
    Super Member paintmejudy's Avatar
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    Last month I went to the Long Beach quilt show. A dealer, with a huge booth of antique quilts, had prices ranging from under $100 up to $500. Obviously, her prices were reflected by quality, condition and size.

    Sorry I had so much trouble posting!!!

  3. #3
    Power Poster
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    Sometimes I think the pricing is

    "whatever the traffic might bear"

  4. #4
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    you are correct. some dealers think old is valuable.

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Sometimes I think the pricing is

    "whatever the traffic might bear"
    As a former antiques dealer, I can vouch for the truth in that. Another factor is the price the dealer paid. It does seem like the dealers in your area do not specialize in textiles, or else they would research their items in order to get top dollar, instead of just telling you stories.
    In fact, many unfinished quilts were the result of the high death rates before antibiotics and such. There are no special features to a smaller quilt top, because it may be a larger one that was never finished. There are some dealers that will "adjust" the sizes to make them more saleable.

  6. #6
    Junior Member GGquilts's Avatar
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    I thought for a min we had Carry Grant posting, Judy, Judy, Judy. :D

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Sometimes I think the pricing is

    "whatever the traffic might bear"
    I am chiming in to say this is so true. Also, remember what is common in one area maybe fairly rare in another area and will be reflected in the price.

    If you think being a well educated consumer is important when it comes to buying new items, it is doubly important in the secondary market.

  8. #8
    mygirl66's Avatar
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    My parents and sister are antique dealers, I have never seen a quilt priced under $100 for anything over the size of a lap quilt, and the lap quilts go for around $65 dollars, for a plain pattern. Even the blocks made out of vintage fabrics go for $3 each. But this is between Blissfeild Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio.

  9. #9
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGquilts
    I thought for a min we had Carry Grant posting, Judy, Judy, Judy. :D
    Too funny.

  10. #10
    Super Member dellareya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Sometimes I think the pricing is

    "whatever the traffic might bear"
    Not only is this true, but a lot depends on what part of the country you are on. It is incredible how prices fluctuate geographically.

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