At guild last week a certified quilt appraiser from the area presented the program. She discussed why you should have your quilts, both old and new, appraised, and what she does when she makes an appraisal, what determines the value. One reason to have quilts appraised, of course, is that in case of loss an uninsured quilt is valued by the insurance company as bedding. I'd always heard cost of materials, but apparently that's not true.
Her presentation was interesting. For a new quilt, she considers fabric, the quality and quantity of the workmanship, and design, especially the good old "Wow factor." The more specific information you have about any of these things, like the exact fabric line, the better.
For an old quilt, condition seems to be most important, but also rarity (old Grandmother's Flower Gardens are a dime a dozen apparently), and again the more specific the known history or provenance of the quilt, the better.
Besides putting a detailed label on a new quilt, she suggests labeling any antique or vintage quilt you have, even if your information is incomplete. That way the next owner will have a place to start.
The most intriguing bit of information was this: If you give a quilt for a special occasion like a wedding, it's good to have an appraisal to give with it. Why? Because young people may not care about the sentiment at this point, but they will care about the value. So they will take care of the quilt, and later perhaps appreciate the sentiment too. Rather cynical and commercial, but worth thinking about.
Does anyone have their quilts appraised? At $40 an appraisal, it's pretty pricey, I think, and so I've never done it.