At Bluebird Gardens, Charlotte Ekker Wiggins answers the question, “If I buy a vintage quilt top, and then quilt and finish it, does this reduce its value?”
And I just love how she answers:
If you are asking if a quilt’s appraised value will change; yes, it will. In general, the appraised value of a quilt is determined by the last work that’s been completed…
Some quilts have more value because of who and when they were made, or what designs are used…
Most of us don’t have quilts with that provenance so I suggest those quilt tops and quilt blocks will have more value being finished so they can be enjoyed.
What’s amazing about this is the fact that this post is the exception to an unfortunate rule.
It’s a fact that so many people in the antiques and collectibles area only define the word “value” in the monetary sense — and that’s neither the only definition nor the primary motivating force behind why we keep what we do. While it’s true we should keep in mind that the way we care for, treat, repair, refinish, store, etc. our objects matters, monetary value really only matters when we lose the objects, be it to sell them or to be reimbursed when they are damaged or stolen. For objects we love, for objects we value above their monetary value — those things we really value, having them around us to be enjoyed is what really matters.
Articles like Charlotte’s are important for the tips they present, but valued even more because they recognize the object’s real value.
In most cases, the quilts and textiles we have — be they antique, vintage or new — are valuable because we can see them, use them, enjoy them. So go ahead, finish that vintage quilt top, sew those antique quilt blocks into the quilt you’re making, repair grandma’s handmade quilt. The real value will be in snuggling in it, having it on display, keeping the tradition and the textile alive to pass onto the next generation.