|The value placed on this quilt was very surprising!!|
One aspect of appraisals is evaluating and identifying each quilt, and when it came to quilt identification based on fabrics and other visual characteristics, I did very well. No surprises there. Most of my research over the last two years has centered around quilt identification. But when it came to assigning values to quilts, some of the figures heard during the class made me think I may still have some work to do.
We looked at 40 to 50 quilts, tops, and blocks, and there were interesting side discussions about early tape bindings, the difference between madder and turkey reds, and other visual characteristics of quilts, both old and new. When it came to identification, only once or twice did my estimated date differ more than ten years from the date the instructors gave. It wasn't as easy to assign a value to these quilts, possibly because we didn't have access to a database of quilts with established values, but it could also be because my sense of value is connected with my browsing and buying patterns.
I browse through thousands of available quilts on the open market each week, many listed in online auctions and others for sale by established quilt dealers around the U.S. - and most of the time I've had a very good eye for a bargain. Could my knack for finding bargains cause a skewed sense of quilt values? Maybe. Only once did I estimate a quilt to be significantly more valuable than the figure provided by the instructors. The rest of the time, my figures were generally on the low side.
One of the biggest surprises during the last two days may relate to that knack for finding a bargain. I brought an Amish Nine-Patch crib quilt to share with the class. When it was time to talk about the quilt, I explained that it had once been part of the Esprit Collection, and pointed out the velcro on the back. The first surprise was learning that instructor Gerald Roy thought he'd seen it before, and may have been the one to sell it to Doug Tompkins of Esprit back in the day. For me, it was a pleasant surprise because I'm always very interested in ownership history.
As Gerald began to talk about the quilt, its condition, its unusual size and its quality, I started to think maybe it was worth a few hundred dollars more than the $800 I recalled paying for it. That's when I got one of the biggest surprises I'd had in a long time. He felt the value of the quilt would be around $6000.
"What??" I blurted out. "Are you kidding? I had NO idea!"
Now, it's important to realize that a verbal figure doesn't constitute an actual appraisal and is generally seen as no more than an opinion. But still, even if the quilt is worth just half of the figure Gerald offered, that would be way more than what I thought it was. In my mind, I thought it was worth maybe double what I paid for it, possibly $1500 if I was really lucky. When I thought about it some more, I realized there was probably no way I would've thought of that quilt as a $6000 dollar quilt, or even a $3000 quilt, since I bought it for $800.