Recently, several friends alerted me about an eBay auction for a colorful New York Beauty Top. Quilt dealer Mark French of Yellow Springs, Ohio, was selling the top, and if you buy quilts on eBay, I'm sure you've seen his auctions. Mark is a prolific eBay seller known as french72, and I recall buying quilts from him in the past, including a 1940's blue, green and pink Chinese Fans variation on the New York Beauty pattern. He's always got a wide selection of reasonably priced quilts for sale. When I checked out his eBay shop, I found 430 items priced from $100 or less to just under $2900.
Of course, when I received the note about this quilt top, it was toward the end of the month and I wouldn't be able to pay for it for a week, but Mark was very willing to give me time to pay for it. As soon as December rolled around, we closed the deal and the top arrived in less than a week. I appreciated the great service, and shared information about my web site with Mark. He saw my collection of New York Beauties and variations on the pattern, and told me about a very cool Suspension Bridge quilt he had available, which I've purchased.
This New York Beauty quilt top has a circa date from the 1930's, but I still need to get out the "Dating Fabrics" book to identify the fabrics. It could be a time-span piece, and I'm thinking some of the fabrics could be a bit later.
One thing's for sure, it's a fabric lover's piece. This pattern wasn't often made with such a wide variety of fabrics until the last quarter of the 20th century, so finding such a scrappy example from the early-to-mid part of the 20th century is exciting. If it turns out to be later, that would be even more exciting for me, because I haven't found a lot of examples made between 1950 and 1990.
Two other characteristics make this top an intriguing find. One is the arched strip of lavender fabric from the inner part of each quarter circle. The second thing is the way the sashing is pieced as an interlocking sawtooth pattern. Both of these characteristics are uncommon and add visual interest to the piece. It is one of only three quilt tops I have in my "New York Beauty" collection, which now includes 30 examples from the mid 19th century to 2010.