Should I turn an antique quilt top into a quilt?


Here’s a tricky one…what happens to the value of an antique quilt top when you make a quilt out of it?

My grandson sent me an old quilt top. It looks to me like it was made in the 1930s. He wants me to make it into a quilt. By how much would that reduce its value?

It’s impossible to put a dollar and cents figure on the amount the value would be reduced, especially since we don’t know the value of the top by itself. But here are a couple of possible scenarios:

A) Suppose your quilt top is a common pattern from the 1930s. It’s lovely to you and your grandson, but there is nothing particularly distinctive about it which would make it “museum-worthy.” Many other quilt tops from the same period are very similar to this one in color, design, and workmanship.


B) Suppose your quilt top is a one-of-a-kind original. It’s beautifully designed and made. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Now suppose you put new batting and backing on each of these tops, and quilt them. What do you now have? In either case you have turned a 1930s quilt top into a hybrid: an old top with modern backing, batting and quilting. It’s not new, it’s not old; it’s a bit of both.

If your top is not worth a great deal of money in the first place (Scenario A), you have probably not changed the value much. But, if the top is a masterpiece or one-of-a-kind (Scenario B), you have de-valued the top considerably.

Remember, value is ever-changing. It depends entirely on supply and demand. It’s possible some unsuspecting, or uncaring, buyer would spend more for your quilt than they would for your quilt top. It’s possible that someday the quilt will be sold, purchased by someone who does not realize the quilt was quilted in 2010, but the top made in the 1930s. So how the value might change is anyone’s guess.

But if there is any chance the top may be a masterpiece, I would definitely not quilt it. If you have a local quilt store they might be able to tell you more about the top.

Looking for a new quilting machine? Click here to read our reviews.

Leave a Comment