Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Know Your Value

In 1942, this article appeared in a newspaper in Wisconsin:

According to one website, $500 in 1942 would now be worth over $7000 today.  Or would it?

One of the things that Beth and I reiterate over and over again is to understand the value of your work.  She and I have heard a variety of stories of how quilters' work are treated disrespectfully by recipients of our quilt gifts.  It's painful when the quilt you made for a family member is relegated to a basement shelf, the dog bed, or sold at a yard sale (all true accounts).

We always suggest that you get your quilt gift appraised.  Family members tend to perk up when you not only give the quilt but also include a certified appraisal. It's funny--and sad-- how a monetary value will change the perspective of a non-crafting family member.   

My appraiser and I had a conversation last week about this and there are many factors involved in an appraisal. It's really important to have an appraisal done before you mail a quilt. An insightful article can be found here.  

Vintage and antique quilts are a different matter.  Anyone in the antique business will tell you that prices rise and fall with the economy.  Most antique dealers have not recovered from the Economic Crisis of 2008.

Really fine antiques can hold their value depending on condition and rarity.  

One of my quilts that has held its value is the Harvest Sun quilt  circa 1840.

All this brings me to the crazy quilt in the 1942 article.  Would it be appraised for over $7000 today?  Not likely.  Of course I'm not an appraiser and we can't see the quilt or study it.  At the time this quilt was given a monetary value, there wasn't even a professional textile appraisal certification.
Quilt history and appraising are young fields.  Most of you have an appreciation for history or you wouldn't be reading this blog.  Quilt history--in a scholarly form--can be traced to the 1970s and the establishment of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) in 1980.  The Professional Association of Appraisers--Quilted Textiles (PAAQT) was established in 1992.

So what does that mean for you today as you are carefully piecing your quilt blocks?  If you take nothing more from the upcoming articles than entertainment, that's fine.  But my hope is that you begin to appreciate the many generations of quilters who came before us and understand that you join their tradition.  You have worth.  Your work has value.  Your gifts are valuable.  

Have a wonderful day and stay safe!

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