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Quilting/1885 Crazy Quilt Question


Crazy Quilt 1
Crazy Quilt 1  

Crazy Quilt 2
Crazy Quilt 2  
Hi Julie,

Thanks for taking our question.

A recent find of a signed and dated crazy quilt has us quite excited, yet in a dilemma on how to determine a value, and the best way to sell.

The quilt measures 71" x 60", and consists of nine 20" x 20" squares and  three 11" x 20" rectangles.  The quilt appears in very good condition,though one corner square has a hole, and the backing was never attached.  It is initialed by SGH, HAK,and SPK, as well as signed and dated by RF Kennedy, Ft. Scott, Kansas, November 21, 1885.  One corner piece even includes, what we believe to be, an embossed fabric identifing the mercantile as Leon Bloom,Fort Scott, KS.  

The piece has over eighty-six stitched and painted embellishments that include a hand with a wedding band, a roller skate, an owl sitting on a moon, and a horseshoe with flowers.

We have enjoyed our brief ownership of this item, and would like to make it available to another loving owner - of course, at the best price.  Based on the information we provided, what do you feel this crazy quilt is worth?  And, where and /or how do you suggest selling this item.  We are ebay sellers, and wondering if you feel this is an acceptable outlet.

Thanks so much,

Michael & Mary

HI M & M,

I just wrote you quite a long note -- and it went POOF into cyber-no-man's-land... I am so sorry.  I am pressed for time just now because I have some looming deadlines.

So I am going be brief and give you my opinion without much explanation.  I can recreate what I
wrote and lost another time if you wish. But not today.

My opinion is that your unfinished crazy quilt TOP is worth $400- $500 at most, retail.  I have been buying, selling, collecting and appraising quilts (professionally) for 40 + years.

Again, I will explain my reasoning to you another time, if you can wait a couple of weeks.

You can check COMPLETED auctions on eBay to see what you find.  Those are auctions where items ave  actually sold.  I would use phrases such as ANTIQUE CRAZY QUILT, SILK CRAZY QUILT, and VICTORIAN CRAZY QUILT.

Please know that an unfinished piece is worth far less than a finished one.  And I also want you to know that condition is critical to value. Most of these silk and velvet late 19th century quilts are deteriorating  ---and some of the damage can be quite subtle.  You must look very very carefully, especially at the silk fabrics to see it.

eBay is a perfectly good outlet for it -- unless you know a ready retail customer.  If you decide to go that way, I may be able to give you some tips on how to write it up.  Again, not for a few weeks.  But please feel free to get back to me after January 15.  (Direct e-mail address:

I hope this is somewhat helpful -- wish I had more time to be detailed.

All best and Happy New Year,


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Julie Silber


I can speak to the age, design, style, region, history, and value of antique quilts.


Forty years as an appraiser, dealer, historian, collector, consultant and museum curator in the area of QUILTS MADE BEFORE 1950.

American Quilt Study Group (former Board Member); Alliance for the American Quilt (Former Board Member)

Author or co-author of several award winning books on Quilt History; numerous articles on quilt history published over a 30 year period. Details upon request.

B.A., American History, University of Michigan; Post Graduate courses in folklore, history and art history

Past/Present Clients
Esprit de Corp., San Francisco; Levi Strauss, San Francisco; Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI; Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR

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