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Home > Newsletters > September 2005

September 2005

Common Question: "What's it Worth?"

I am often asked this question, and although I am not a certified appraiser, I can give a general value to items that I have had previous experience with.
There are some wonderful price guides available, so if you have a lot of lace, or a lot of linens and fabrics, it might be worth purchasing those books, or visit your local library. If the library does not have the book available, ask if they will process an Interlibrary Loan for you. Some libraries offer this service for free, mine charges $.25 per book.
Online resources are plentiful as well. Kovel's at
www.kovels.com has an online price guide and is free! If you have an item you think is particularly valuable, try What's It Worth To You online at www.whatsitworthtoyou.com, they charge $9.95 for an online appraisal.
But your best bet would be to take your items in question to a certified appraiser. A proper value can only be set when an appraiser can touch and see the piece up front and personally. They look for details that often are not picked up in pictures. Be wary of anyone who wishes to purchase your piece after appraising it, that is considered a conflict of interest.

Feature Article: "A Book Review"

I have added a new page to the website, "Book Reviews". You can view it online at:


I am extremely honored, because one of the authors, Joan Kiplinger, included a picture of a Crazy Quilt from my personal collection on page 96.
Book Review 8/31/2005 by Dana Balsamo
"Vintage Fabrics - Identification & Value Guide" by Judith Scoggin Gridley, Joan reed Kiplinger, and Jessie Gridley McClure
Finally an updated guide to vintage fabrics!
The authors have organized their guide according to fabric content (Cotton, Silk, Wool, etc) and alphabetically by type. Descriptions are in layman's terms so that even the most novice collector or interested party will comprehend, but goes into such depth and detail, it will provide the most experienced textile professional an education. The pictures are full of detail, something lacking in previous textiles books. Particular care was taken to show texture and color.
Many advertisements from early catalogs and magazines are used to help put fabrics into context and to understand their uses. As well as photographs of fabrics as they were used (feedsacks, tablecloths, etc.).
Most helpful are the tables that detail Brand Names, Finishes, Mills, and Widths.
This book is a necessary addition to the library of all fabric collectors, antique textile professionals, and those interested in textile history in general.
Be prepared, you will feel compelled to revisit your fabric collection and appreciate it in a whole new way.
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