Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Patriotic CoverletQ: I have a coverlet that has been in the family since the early 1900s. It was given to my grandparents by an English woman in India as "something of great value" that had been around the world seven times. Supposedly it had come from an estate auction in Europe. What can you tell me about this coverlet? Is it very valuable?

A: There are 125 known examples of coverlets with this "Agriculture & Manufactures" design, according to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Many were made between 1824 and 1827 to commemorate General Lafayette's visit to the United States in 1824-25. Several variations have been found. Most have borders on the sides and bottom and two corner blocks on the bottom. Symbols woven into the coverlet include Independence Hall, soldiers, eagles, laurel leaves, deer, monkeys, and Masonic columns, squares and compasses. Lafayette, who was a Mason, received several degrees in the Scottish Rite during his visit. The design was used on single-width, double-panel, and tied Beiderwand coverlets. The most common colors are blue and natural. The name of the weaver is not known, but it is thought that at least two weavers in New York State made coverlets with this design. The name "Phebe Leach" woven into your coverlet is probably the name of the original owner. Expensive coverlets usually sell for about $500, but yours is so rare it might go for more.

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