Many antique quilt collectors think of themselves as caretakers of historical documents, made at the hands of the needlework sisterhood before them.
Their quilts speak to them and tell their story through clues in the style, fabric, pattern, quilt stitches and sometimes stitched or inked words, names, cities or dates.
When they described a small sized log cabin quilt as a child’s or doll quilt I knew they were rare, so I bid and I bid till I won.
It was the most I had ever paid for something so small.
The first time I went to an all antique quilt auction was in Southern California.
One of those large Mid-western quilt dealer auction houses was holding an auction at a nearby hotel and I was very excited to go.
This is especially important when evaluating a quilt’s age since they are almost never signed or dated.
And even when dates are on it, a quilt’s age and value is determined by its newest feature, not its oldest.
Of course there is always a disclaimer with any antique viewed on-line, but things can be overlooked in an antique shop as well.
Good questions are asked of the owner to possibly help settle questions the quilt’s clues ask.
About the only instance where the date can be taken as the latest feature and credible source of the quilt’s age is when the date is quilted in the quilt stitching itself on the front, as part of the overall quilt stitched pattern.
Provenance is not always reliable, even when given in good faith, or when written on an old scrap of paper attached to the quilt with a pin.
It showed wear on many of the tiny pieces in the postage stamp variation.