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Thread: damaged antique quilts?

  1. #1
    Member rachelg's Avatar
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    Hello! My sister has been cleaning out an old 1920's home on a farm about twenty minutes outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. She found a couple of quilts stored in a trunk in the attic. We are thinking they are from the mid to late 1800's but I have no way of actually dating them. They are lovely in a way only an old quilt can be. But they are damaged. Sis wants me to sell them on ebay...but I don't know if there is a market or what to try to sell them for since the overall condition is probably considered poor. I am inclined to say good really, with patches of poor. :) But I guess since they would be pretty fragile to use, they would be poor? One quilt is about 78 x 64 and the other is about 62 X 38, but the binding has been removed on one side. It was larger. I don't think I have it in me to throw them away...just not sure what to do with them. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

    this is the larger quilt. It is folded in half here...
    Name:  Attachment-277611.jpe
Views: 300
Size:  508.9 KB

    damage
    Name:  Attachment-277612.jpe
Views: 333
Size:  91.5 KB

    smaller quilt
    Name:  Attachment-277614.jpe
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Size:  448.3 KB
    Attached Images Attached Images



  2. #2
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    They're both lovely. Have no clue if they have any worth, though.

  3. #3
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    I wouldn't want to throw away either especially if they are that old but I have no suggestions either. Sorry.

  4. #4
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    Look at some of the quilts sold online that are in similar condition. They sometimes call them cutter quilts if large areas are damaged. If only a few squares are bad, the buyer could replace those or add a new binding.

  5. #5
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I am no expert, but if you don't want to hang on to them, market them as is....I am sure there is a buyer out there somewhere. As a collector (not of quilts, I prefer to make them:)). I always prefer to buy as is, rather than restored.

  6. #6
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    http://www.quilthistory.com/dating_quilts.htm

    this has some interesting information about the prints (many of these blue/white and red/white fabrics showing in the quilt are shirting...the baptist fan quilting pattern is referred to in the article and is on one of the quilts in the picture. the missing patches that are completely gone are usually some shade of brown, the madder dyes used to produce them were extremely caustic and often simply disintegrated.

    the patterns are certainly old ... this could be as early as the mid 1800s and as late as the 1930s... depending on the part of the country they were made in.... since they were discovered in North Carolina, that would favor the earlier dates... they are lovely and should be shown to a curator at a museum with textile collections...there is a large one in colorado but the name escapes me ... i will try to find something online to remind me.... there should be several museums in the carolinas due to the large amounts of textile factories in that area.

  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    not all old quilts are heirlooms- some are just old-
    if you are really interested in selling these the first thing you should do is find a certified appraiser (listed with the American Quilters Society) and have them appraised- then you will know lots more about them-like the age of the fabrics/materials- and have a value amount. then you can make an educated listing.

  8. #8
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    I have repaired a couple of antique quilts for my friends. One by taking old material and appliquéing it with a blind stitch to the damaged part then re-quilted it without a frame. I didn't use a frame because I was afraid of pulling on the material and damaging it more. The other had damaged to the binding. On that one I took a seam ripper and broke some of the top sides away from the back, cut off the bad part then refolded the back over to make the binding. The quilts were sentimental to both my friends so they were very happy to have them repaired.
    I live fairly close to Raleigh also. I have seen badly damaged quilts go for a hundred at an estate auction and seen them go for five at the flea market. If you want to sell them online just see what others cutters quilts are selling for. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  9. #9
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Some people purchase quilts in almost any condition to fold with the best part out and use to make their home more country looking. I have a friend that does that and they look great.

  10. #10
    JACRN's Avatar
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    Here is what I had done years ago. I had a quilt of my grandmothers that was falling to pieces. There was a lady I knew who made things from old quilts. she made me 2 large teddy bears. They are very special to me.

  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    now i see why the old term for batting is wadding - it's all wadded up

  12. #12
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    I just remembered something else you might do. My sister used some lace and sewed it over the weak parts to hold her quilt together then made pillows for each of her children and my daughter ....using a quilt that my grandmother had made many, many years ago. The lace was from her wedding gown...which made it extra special.

  13. #13
    JACRN's Avatar
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    Very neat idea.

  14. #14
    Member rachelg's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for your repies! I have passed them on to my sister. And I am waiting to see what she would like to do. The house and farm where they came from are going up for auction. It may be too late to add the quilts in this time around. The link to the quilt histories was very interesting! And I have actually never heard the batting referred to as wadding. Now I know! But you are right. That is what it looks like. I wish so much I knew the history. We are almost positive they are from North Carolina. And my sister's first guess was the 1860s to 1880s. That ties in well with the link.

    Hopefully I will eventually be able to update with interesting information!

    Thanks again!

  15. #15
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Only an appraiser will be able to give you a value on the quilts. But as all things they are only worth what someone will pay for them. I have seen and purchased old damaged quilts on ebay.

    I believe that you can get assistance learning about them by sending an email to the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln NE. They have wonderful collection and displays. http://www.quiltstudy.org/

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