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Jewish World Review June 3, 2003 / 3 Sivan, 5763

Anita Gold

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Consumer Reports

Patches and patterns from other days; Dick Clark doll | Q. How can I find out more about antique quilts and their value, and how to recognize their various patterns? Sandra O'Brien, Jewett, TX

A. Aside from keeping folks warm, the charm of old quilts have captured the hearts of collectors who are wrapped up in their history, and the unforgettable stories they tell relating to their past, purpose, and patterns.

Among the most sought after patterned examples are house quilts designed with a house, school, church, or some other structure as a motif. Other quilt motifs included baskets of triangular posies, pinwheel designs, stars, stripes, squares, cubes, triangles and circles. An unusual design on a quilt is a Calico Cup and Saucer pattern. Another charming pattern is Thousand Pyramids, and still another, is the Double Monkey Wrench.

Yet among the most sought quilts were those made by the Amish. Especially desirable, are Amish crib and doll-size quilts that often command sizable sums. One is a lovely, hand woven, plum and pewter color crib quilt designed with faceless Amish dolls made to stand out in relief.

Old quilts were made from all types of cloth ranging from calico to chintz to gingham to muslin and other material. "Crazy quilts" had hit and miss patterns fashioned from irregular-sized pieces of silk, velvet, brocade, moiré and heavy ribbon stitched together (often in a feather stitch design). Some crazy quilts were quite elaborate with fancy stitching, names, initials, dates, and sometimes even figures or faces of famous persons. One I saw was embellished with the figure of John L. Sullivan. Others were stitched to commemorate the 1876 Centennial designed with American flags, eagles, shields, stars, and other patriotic motifs. Presidential quilts also were made, such as one charming example stitched with the portraits of America's first 26 presidents, as well as the American flag, U.S. Capitol, and the American eagle with shield. Still others were stitched to represent fairs such as the Century of Progress and the 1893 World's Fair. Some quilts were family records, designed with stitched and patched motifs made to represent family lifestyles. Then, too, there were friendship quilts as well as album quilts with signed and stitched names and dates. Some quilts passed from generation to generation, were made from scraps of cloth, or "snibbles" as they were sometimes called, kept in scrap or "piece-patch" bags. Often the "snibbles" were made from wedding dresses, favorite frocks, shirts and other pieces of clothing that were especially treasured.

A terrific quilt book to cozy up with, which pictures countless quilts in full color with their descriptions, pattern names, and values, is "Vintage Quilts - Identifying, Collecting, Dating, Preserving & Valuing" by Bobbie Aug, Sharon Newman & Gerald Roy, available in a large 222-page hardcover edition, for $27.95 postpaid from Collector Books, P.O. Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42002-3009. Or phone (800) 626-5420 toll free to order. Also, if you want to make your own patchwork or crazy quilts, two popular books with easy-to-follow start to finish instructions, includes the "Essential Guide to Practically Perfect Patchwork" by Michele Marrow Harer in a large 160-page edition with more than 300 color photos, for $25.95 postpaid, and "The Magic of Crazy Quilting" by J. Marsha Michler in a large 144-page edition featuring embellishment techniques, piecing methods, and 1,000 stitch variations, combinations, and patterns for $25.95 postpaid, both available from Krause Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001. Or phone (888) 457-2873 toll free to order.

Q. My aunt (who was a teenager in the fifties) claims she had a Dick Clark doll. Can you tell me anything about it as to when it was made, who made it, and about how much it would be worth if found today? Jill Parsons, Brooklyn, NY

A. The American Bandstand, Dick Clark doll, was produced by Juro in 1958, measures 26 1/2-inches tall, is quite attractive as Dick (seen mornings on the Other Half TV show on NBC) still is today, and has a reported value of $450 in mint condition in its original box, $200 in mint condition without the box, and $100 if its been played with. Long before rappers, teens were snappers snapin' their fingers to Clark's American Bandstand tunes. Were you among them? If so, snap to it and let Dick know by writing him Dick Clark c/o Dick Clark Enterprise, 3003 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91505.

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Anita Gold has been writing this column for over 30 years. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


05/28/03: Blue Willow lovers romance
05/22/03: Collecting Silver Patterns Stir Collectors Passions; assessing silver dollars and old milk glass; Cracker Jack collectibles
05/14/03: Picky, Picky, Picky Collectors; teddy value; egg trees; big band records
05/08/03: Collectors pumped up over gas & oil items; old soda pop bottles; info on collecting autographs
04/29/03: Collectors can tyg this one on; value of a weird PEZ candy dispenser
04/22/03: Identify Authenticity and Value
04/15/03: Patriotic Songs and Memories of Long Ago Wars
04/08/03: Restore Grandmother's jewelry and memories

© 2003, Anita Gold