As shown, is an actual "signature fundraiser" quilt top that started in Memphis Tennessee in 1898 and appears to have traveled all the way up into Georgetown Kentucky. Quilt top measures 75x64 inches in size. All names appear to be embroidered on the quilt. Included in these names are three former Presidents, Thomas Jefferson James Madison, and Grover Cleveland along with other note-able personal from history. We spent eleven hours actually going over the complete quilt block by block and making a list of all names, cities, and dates. All 493 different names are provided for you in the shown 3 photo's in a typed out list, broken down block by block of the quilt. The quilt top has a total of 72 squares, 9 down, 8 across. Only 3 remain still blank. Had these three squares been filled with names, the quilt would have exceeded over 500 different names on it. As previously mentioned the quilt started it's journey 122 years ago in Memphis, with who we believe was a Ms. Maggie Crenshaw. We have been able to trace it by searching the names in the list as it appears to have traveled out of Memphis across Tennessee to Nashville up through Glasgow, and Owensboro Kentucky, and appears to have stopped some 34 years later in 1932 in Georgetown Kentucky. The date "1932" does appear a few times on the quilt, as well as the city names of Owensboro, and Georgetown. We have verified the names of 8 people in our town of Glasgow Kentucky. Oddly enough, at the time of these people living, they all lived on the same street in a very wealthy portion of town. They were also people of great importance in our community. As mentioned, the quilt top was never finished, so it remains a quilt "top". It has been extremely well cared for, and has no stains, rips, or tears. So for it's age and to be fabric, it is in incredible condition. I do have correspondence with the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln Nebraska showing were they immediately offered payment of $5,000 to acquire the quilt. Currently at the present time we have held off on selling it to them for that price, as we have received other appraisals showing it's value between $15,000 to $20,000.
Was acquired from the estate of a former life-long historian who lived in Nashville Tennessee. This gentleman was very interested in the civil war, and had numerous collectible items from the war itself in his home. Quilt top had been neatly folded and placed inside 2 pillowcases and then was in an air-tight shrink wrapped type plastic for preservation.
Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry.
This is a wonderful and largely unique quilt; most "signature" quilts have the names written in INK rather than sewn in as yours have been, which is rather astonishing given that would have taken so much more time on the part of the "signer."
Your quilt top ALSO features more signatures than on any quilt that's come to market in recent years. As you will probably have guessed, this quilt has great "historical" value but that does not always translate into a great "market" value unless more than one potential buyer "comes to the table" with an interest in buying this.
If you want to sell this, I would strongly recommend working with an auction house that a) has a track record of strong sales of American Southern decorative arts and b) will take the valuable information you've amassed and use it to promote and sell this on your behalf (Cowan's, Brunk's, Jeffrey S. Evans & Assoc., and Pook & Pook are some of the firms who know the collectors, dealers and museums with the deepest pockets). The following are examples of quilts that have signatures, though stylistically are quite unlike yours.
Based on the photos and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:
A pieced and embroidered cotton "signature fundraising" quilt top
began in Memphis, Tenn in 1898, 'finished' in Georgetown, KY in 1932
The blue and white quilt top featuring 493 different names, including Presidents Jefferson & Madison
72 blocks, 75 by 64 inches
PROVENANCE: acquired from the estate of a Nashville, Tenn., historian
CONDITION: appears to be in a remarkable state of preservation
*represents a conservative fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.