Discover Vintage America - FEBRUARY 2018

Some basics of quilt appraisals

Want to know more about your antique quilt or a family heirloom?
Donating a quilt to a charity and want to get the correct tax deduction?
Entering a quilt in a national contest and dreading shipping it across the country?

Made a gift quilt and want to be sure it is appreciated and doesn't end up as a dog bed?
Interested in selling quilts and wondering about pricing?
Want to be sure your hard work is protected and not valued like a discount store blanket?
Simply curious about the value of your beautiful quilted creations?

Yes, those are a lot of different situations and diverse types of quilts but a Certified Quilt Appraiser can help you with all of them!

Antique 1860s French Star Quilt, Starley Quilt Collection

Finding a Certified Quilt Appraiser

Why do you need a certified quilt appraiser? Your quilts deserve a certified appraiser who has been thoroughly trained in all types of quilt appraisals (antique, vintage, new, traditional or modern). This is someone who has been tested by an organization that monitors their credentials and has continued their training and can assist you if you have a problem.

The American Quilters Society (AQS) in Paducah, KY is the only national certifier of quilt appraisers. Their training, testing, and certification program started in 1988. There are about 100 AQS Certified Quilt Appraisers in the United States and in Canada. To contact an AQS appraiser visit

Most certified appraisers belong to the Professional Association of Appraisers Quilted Textiles (PAAQT) established in 1992 to promote the importance of quilt appraisals and to provide continuing education and networking. They maintain an appraisers list at
Wondering about getting an online appraisal by sending in some photographs of your quilt? Nope. Written and certified quilt appraisals are legal documents and require the appraiser personally examine the quilt.

Antique 1890s Ocean Wave Top (Starley Quilt Collection)

Decide on the type of appraisal you need

Insurance: The most common type of appraisal stating a value for replacing the quilt with one of similar like and kind. For an antique quilt it would be the cost to purchase another quilt from similar era and with similar workmanship and condition. For a new quilt, insurance value may be the cost to purchase a similar one or the cost to reconstruct a similar quilt. Record of sales, fame of maker, awards won, etc. can increase the value.

Fair market value: Needed if you want to sell your quilt and based on what the quilt would sell for in a transaction with a knowledgeable and willing buyer and seller in a standard marketplace.
Donation value: For a quilt donated to a museum or other organization and based on fair market value. Fair market is also used for estate valuations.

Gather information about the quilt

Compile any documentation you have about the quilt and its creation. For an antique/family quilt contact family members to get details on the maker, where they lived, etc. This provenance can add value. For a purchased antique, find the receipt and any information you received at purchase. For a newly made quilt, check on the pattern name/source (if not original) and note any unusual techniques or expenses related to creating the quilt.

After appraisal

Check with your insurance company to make sure the quilt is covered for the appraised value by your existing policy. You may need a rider to fully cover the quilt.
Note: I travel nationally to conduct appraisal days at quilt shows and for quilt guilds. Please feel free to contact me to arrange an appraisal event.

Sandra Starley is nationally certified quilt appraiser, quilt historian, and avid antique quilt collector. She travels throughout the U.S. presenting talks on antique quilt history, fabric dating classes and trunk shows as well as quilting classes. Learn more at Send your comments and quilt questions to

Covering Quilts Archive past columns