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Need advice for an antique top

Need advice for an antique top

Old 01-10-2021, 11:48 AM
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Default Need advice for an antique top

Hi Everyone,
I'm looking for advice for an antique quilt top that I have. I'm guessing that it is well over 100 years old. I've had it in storage for about 35 years.
It is all hand stitched and a few place need repair but overall it is in pretty good condition. My questions are these:

1) Is there any value to such a top and, if I quilt it on my longarm will it decrease it's value - either historically or monetarily?
2) The pieced blocks were larger then the solid blocks so they have excess fabric that wants to puff up. How best to handle this?
-Could I use a high loft polyester badding to help fill out the excess fabric? This would make for a puffier quilt. I'm not a fan of polyester batting so, there's that.
- I would probably stitch in the ditch around the sub blocks of the pieced main blocks then quilt a design in the solid blocks.
3) One of the sub blocks is oriented incorrectly (seen in picture 1, lower right. Do I correct that?


My guess is that this was a feed sack quilt that was hand dyed. Some of the greens are different and not sure if it is fading or something else.
Hopefully those of you on here that are more knowledgeable than I am will have some thoughts on this.
Thank you!
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:10 PM
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That is just gorgeous! I know nothing about evaluating old quilts. There is a local Quilt shop here in NH that used to have Gerald Roy come in once a month for appraisals. If you live anywhere near New England that would be an option. Or, is there a quilt museum any where near you or a local Historical Society? That may be another source of information. One other thought is sending the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell Massachusetts an email with your photos and ask them.

Is it hand sewn together or machine pieced?

Please let us know what you learn and what you decide!!!


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Old 01-10-2021, 01:34 PM
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Beautiful top! It might be best to get it evaluated if you want to know if it has value as an antique. Once you quilt it, the age of a top is based on the newest work.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:43 PM
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Thank you for this, that is good to know.
I really don't have much interest in the monetary value but historically, I don't want to do something to it that would ruin it.
I know that someone long ago spent a tremendous amount of time on this and I would like to honor that.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:45 PM
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Thank you Eparys for the suggestion. I will have to look locally to see if I can find anyone who had knowledge in this area.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:35 PM
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It is so pretty. I would take it to someone who knows the historical information and value of such an item. We are lucky to have The Henry Ford not to far and they are great about looking at items like this and tell you what the value could be. Check with local quilt museums for solid information. I would not take any chances on this on. Search first stitch later. To be safe on this one.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:22 PM
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I can't help you with your question, but wanted to say, that's a beautiful top.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by constantine63 View Post
1) Is there any value to such a top and, if I quilt it on my longarm will it decrease it's value - either historically or monetarily?
I am in a similar situation, I have 5 antique quilts that were given to me by my MIL, we think her mother or grandmother may have made some of them. I also want to know if the quilts have value, and if quilting them will decrease the historical/financial values, so I am paying a professional to evaluate them. Even though the internet and this board is full of helpful people, I think a professional opinion is a safer bet when it comes to something like this. The appraiser I found is not only an antique and estate appraiser, she is also certified by AQS as a quilt appraiser. If it turns out that any of my quilts have value, her valuation will be accepted by my insurance company for coverage.
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Old 01-11-2021, 05:13 AM
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That is so beautiful. I would find someone to hand quilt it for me, using a high-loft or doubled cotton or wool batting. I would not use polyester batting in a gorgeous old quilt like that.
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:17 AM
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Here are a couple of questions for you. If it turns out to be of some monetary or historical value, what will you do with it? Would you sell it? Would you put it back in the cedar chest and "save it"? Will you pay someone to hand quilt it as has been suggested? Then, what would you do with it? Would you donate it to a museum? Would they display it? Or will they will wrap it in acid free paper and put it back in the cedar chest, so to speak? If it has no particular monetary "value", what will you do with it? Would you enjoy using it if it was finished?

I think you have to answer those questions before you spend the money to have it appraised/evaluated.

I'm facing a similar question with a family bible. Am I willing to spend $1,500 or more to have it restored? I don't think there anyone who particularly wants it in my family. It will not be of any value, other than sentimental, even if it is restored. I've been staring at it all week.

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