Today DH and I took a little road trip so we could get “Windblown” appraised. Many quilters I know have never had their quilts appraised, but after more than twelve years of maintaining the Lost Quilt Come Home website, I am fully convinced of the necessity of doing this, especially for any quilt that will be shipped.
There are actually several kinds of appraisals. I typically get an appraisal to establish a replacement value for insurance reasons. You can also get a market value appraisal to help you decide what dollar amount to sell a quilt for. This can be especially useful if you are just starting to sell your quilts and you don’t have a track record. You can get a donation value appraisal for tax purposes.
I recommend going to an appraiser who knows quilts. They need to be able to mentally compare your quilt with other quilts they’ve seen so they can come up with a realistic value. The American Quilter Society has an educational program to train appraisers, and one certified by AQS should be able to appraise any type of quilt, whether antique, vintage, contemporary, or art quilts. They should give you an appraisal in writing so you can have it to show insurance companies if you ever need to make a claim.
If you only want to know how old the quilt is and how to care for an antique quilt, some appraisers will do a verbal appraisal.
What does an appraiser do when you bring your quilt to them? First, they will likely document the physical description of your quilt. What are the dimensions? What are the main colors? What materials did you use? What batting did you use? How closely is it quilted? They will also note the general condition of the quilt, which is particularly important for antique quilts. Your appraiser will also make note of any awards you’ve won, your experience, and any information that may increase the value of the quilt.
They will likely take a photograph of your quilt. When they deliver the written appraisal, many appraisers also give you a sheet of care instructions.
It is so easy for us to undervalue our quilts. Getting an appraisal may give you a whole new appreciation of your art.