How to Buy Vintage Quilts: Tips + Stories?

Vintage Quilts Pinterest Board


Hi Everyone!

I’m hoping you can help me out a little bit. I’m doing a little bit of research about sourcing and buying vintage quilts.

Where is your favorite place to find/look for/buy vintage quilts?

Have you had success with online auctions?

How do you know if you are getting a fair deal? What IS a fair deal? What factors influence it?

Do you have any great quilts that got away? Any that you bought and regret?

Do you prefer buying quilts? quilt tops? quilt blocks?

How do you figure out provenance? Does it matter to you who made the quilt, when it was made, etc?

Any stories, advice, photos, etc. are much appreciated, either in the comments or via email: swimbikequilt at gmail dot com.

Thanks! And I hope to revive my Vintage Quilt Sunday posts this summer. I’ve loved writing them and getting to see fabulous quilts and quilts with fabulous stories.

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  1. Posted April 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to responses on this post!

  2. HokieKate
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I love the stories. A quilt without a story does not excite me. Even among my own quilts, the “wedding”, “first birthday”, “newborn”, and “collaboration with my mother quilts” mean more to me than “we needed another throw blanket so the baby won’t spit up on the carpet”, “fun queen-sized project”, and “scraps for a picnic” quilts, despite the differences in workmanship.

    I am hoping to receive some antique family heirloom quilts when the time comes. Currently I have my great-grandmother’s bedspread on display as a pillowcase (the bedspread wore out so my grandmother salvaged pieces into pillowcases). I like to look at others’ antique quilts, but I feel no urge to buy vintage pieces.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much for sharing with me. I agree. I love quilts with stories.

  3. sharon
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I bought this quilt top for $5 at a little out of the wary quilt show with an auction of unfinished quilts.
    It was more than 15 years ago and I should mention I also bought 3 unfinished baby quilts a box of blocks and a queen size yo yo quilt and spent $45 that day

    I am adding a link to my flickr to see the quilt
    this year I am learning to use the long arm and it was my first attempt on my own.
    I am not in love with the colors and the quilt top was really wobbly and much bigger than i could have imagined when I started to use the long arm. But, my cat murray is in love with it — he pets it, licks it and rolls himself up within it. so, it is now on my king size bed and fits better than the expensive comforter from an online shop. with batting backing and longarm rental , it cost maybe $70

    so, I now look at garage sales and if a see a quilt show sign I always stop

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      thanks so much for sharing this with me!! It makes me want to stop in at garage sales and look for quilts.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      That quilt is incredible. I can’t believe that you bought it for $5!!!

  4. Posted April 26, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I want to know more about this too. I bid on a vintage quilt a couple years ago on ebay and let it go because I got nervous about the condition :).

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s so hard to buy things online sometimes!!

  5. Posted May 3, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen old quilts and unfinished ones at Antique Emporiums like the one in Frederick, MD. Sometimes they are too expensive and sometimes not but at least you can look and feel and inspect before purchasing and sometimes you can even haggle!

    My pal Dana gave me some antique blocks she had purchased and decided she wouldn’t ever put them together. Even gave me some finishing squares and binding. I added a few larger squares to make it bigger to finish and it’s one of my favorites because I would never make something like that myself…it would take me forever!:)

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted May 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      thanks for the tip on Frederick! I’ll have to go sometime soon.

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