Political Collectibles/John Adams


Adams Dress
Adams Dress  

I am a big fan of the Adams family. I've read almost everything on them and by them. I happened upon an online auction in wich items of the revolution era were being auctioned off in Boston. One item was a framed portion of silk that was identified as Nabby Adams' wedding dress.  Can you use your experience to help me with what I have, if it's likely authentic and if so, a value? My thought is, if I were to fabricate a piece, I would go ahead and say it was Abigail's dress, not Her daughters, as it would be more valuable.
Thank you for your time... I am adding an image of the piece.

Keith Haynes

Hi Keith: Thank you for your question. The type of item is one of the more difficult items to appraise. The reason is that most valuations are based on what comparative items have sold for in the past. Unique one-of-a-kind items like this have few if any items to compare it to.

Generally speaking, items of this type tend to have greater value if it was the property of a President of the First Lady. As you get further away (like a daughter) the value doe, unfortunately decrease.  Having said this, of course there are very few items available to collectors from the Adams era, so any item connected to the former President does catch the interest of collectors - as it did you.

Of course, the key issue is authentication. While the letter accompanying the piece does offer "some" provenance, collectors tend to want absolute authentication and when that is not available they, tend to lower the value. As odd as this suggestion may sound, if you could locate a painting, drawing or photograph of the daughter wearing that dress the item would definitely increase in value. I did take a quick look through some of my resources but did not find a such a drawing/painting etc.

As the item stands right now, I would say that I would put the retail value in the $400 - $750 range. Of course, placed at the right auction all it takes is two people bidding against each other that "must have it" and the value could go up. But without a tighter proof I would doubt it would go higher and could certainly go lower.

I hope this helps.

Lori Ferber
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Lori Ferber


I would be happy to answer questions regarding the value of political and presidential memorabilia and collectibles. This includes such items as campaign buttons, posters, inaugural invitations, presidential autographs, newspapers, magazines, white house memorabilia, white house christmas cards, campaign posters, one-of-a-kind presidential items etc. Presidents such as John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and virtually every President from George Washington to Barack Obama.


My husband and I have been in the political collectibles business for over 37 years (gosh has it been that long!). We have helped thousands of people determine the value of their items and assist them in determining if an item is authentic or a reproduction. We are blessed with the reality that our business is also our passion. One thing you can always count on, is that we will give you our honest opinion of value. Sometimes that may mean a trip to the Caribbean for you and other times it may mean the item, unfortunately, may not have any value. Our company is Lori Ferber Collectibles located in Scottsdale Arizona. www.loriferber.com

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