Lindac? or anyone--? re Antique Lace tablecloth-

mahatmacat1November 1, 2012

Hi folks,

I'm having the devil's own time trying to figure out a ballpark value for a tablecloth I found (see flickr)...literally, the only one Ive been able to find like it was one that went for over $900 on eBay recently, but that one had figures and a nice provenance. Mine is an Italian Cantu cloth, banquet size, made of thousands of the finest cantu curls and flowers *all over*...and in fabulous shape. There is a center area where the four rectangles of pattern converge with larger scallops making a subtle centerpiece, but not with a huge medallion.

But even without extra embellishment, it's unreal, it's *so* gorgeous. I also can't keep it, because never in my life will I have a 12' table, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't use this work of art to put under food.

I have no idea where I could get it appraised. Does anyone know? I've tried to find online and all I've gotten is confirmed that it is cantu, but no value. I wouldn't trust a general antique appraiser because lace/textile folks are their own specialty, compared to say, glass, toy or furniture people.

Any leads at all would be most appreciated. I can only imagine the grandmother who is spinning in her grave to see that her grandchildren donated this masterpiece to a thrift shop. But it's happened in my family (my father did it), so I guess it can happen in others...

Here is a link that might be useful: link to some photos

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I should add that the one expert who looked at the photos said it was definitely handmade. Lacemakers fill me with awe.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Oh yeah it's hand made!!...The value has to be inestimable...I can't believe one went for only $900.
Not sure it's cantu.....there are several similar, like Bruges and another Italian lace....but that's all moot...."a rose....etc".
I would suggest a museum....for appraisal. Surely you have seen the site linked below?

And remember, it doesn't take a 12 foot table to use a 12 foot cloth...only an 8 foot table. But I wouldn't be serving spaghetti from that table cloth!!
Just curious......where did you "find" it??

Here is a link that might be useful: lacy stuff....

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 3:01PM
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To me, it looks like crochet and handmade. It is fantastic. It is very difficult to make large crocheted pieces to come out square and straight edged. I would use it as a table cover, but never serve food over it!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Linda, thanks very much for your help. I didn't read that site carefully before because the piece is figural and mine isn't--but because you linked to it and I decided finally to read it through, I found the name of the person who looks to be the preeminent lace evaluator in the US! I'll let you know what she says. I'm contacting her tonight.

jem, thanks for your reply. It's not crochet. I have crocheted lace and it has a dimensionality that this doesn't. All of it lies flat.But you're right about the rest of it : )

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Well, update of a kind: I have written her twice, once even with a link to the file even though I had said I didn't want to bother her with pics until I was sure she is still appraising lace, and she hasn't gotten back to me : ( I want to know about this tablecloth!! Everyone else seems to have gotten appraisals from her...I hope she's o.k. and there's a simple seems like she would be The One to ask.

*long, patient but self-pitying sigh*

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Patience......and I think that's an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan....

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Yes I believe it is, one which I've meant to see and *still* never have! Thanks for diverting me for a little while : )

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Um, Linda...

I got a reply from a person who wrote on behalf of The One, so presumably the information comes from T.O. herself:

It is indeed what I thought it was, every bit, and it's worth a minimum of $2/*SQUARE INCH*.

It's 144x70.

I'm still feeling a bit weak in the knees.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:48AM
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I bought some acid-free wedding gown paper to wrap it in. I think I'll do that tonight.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:10AM
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I think I would....(fanning herself and feeling weak in the knees...)
But the question is....could you find a buyer for...say $.50 a square inch?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:28AM
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Exactly; that's just the followup question I wrote back just now. I am wondering what are the most reputable venues through which to sell this kind of thing, and what that figure is: auction, retail, insurance replacement value? I mean, .50/sq. inch would still be the best thing I've ever found (it's closer to two other things, but it would top out the other two, and be the bottom estimate of the lace, so the lace wins : )).

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Keep us updated....if you would get close to what it's could finance a lot of other thrift store buys!:-)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:52AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Such good news, Fly! Hope you find someone who will treasure and use it! If so, what are you going to treat yourself to with the proceeds?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Hi Cyn & Linda - Cyn, I wish I could say it would finance a trip to Auckland to camp outside a certain dome-cranium recording studio...but I'll be responsible : )

I'm actually thinking of saving it/using it to start purchasing higher-end pieces that would be investments over time. I've realized my best investments have been my thrift shop purchases, seriously, and the next step up, with a corresponding loss in multiple of return, would/will be auctions, but that is much tricker...but at any rate, I am not going to count my eggs before they hatch - I want it to find its right home, which may take months, before I start fantasizing. That way lies madness.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:27PM
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At $2 per square inch, you piece computes to $20,160. This is a large sum, however, $2 per square inch seems a reasonable price for handmade antique lace in good condition. You have a winner. Your problem will be getting a fair price for it.

It might pay to have an appraisal made. Is the Antiques Road Show coming your way soon?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 4:10AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Lol Fly. I was going to suggest that it might pay for concert tickets-ha. I like the way you think better-go for it all!

I will look around to see what I could sell and go with you. :)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Cyn, just for you: have you heard this? Find the 1992 Roskilde transmission, and click on the first one. See, I find treasures everywhere : )

Here is a link that might be useful: for a beautiful Sunday...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:28PM
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I know, jem!!! I did the math several times just because I couldn't believe it. And T.O. said that the fact it's a 144" long and the fact that it's in such good condition (a few tiny brown stains but no tears at all -- it's actually very *strong*) *adds* to the $2...she couldn't give a full appraisal, but she will in February, evidently. She's got over a hundred people in her queue and isn't taking any more until then; I was just very lucky that she so generously gave me the brief version to tide me over : )

I was thinking Antiques Road Show too...I just checked, though, and see that they're done for the year.

And yes, the problem...I do wonder what the most highly-regarded venue for such a piece is, where I could see the best return. I figure T.O. is highly-regarded herself, pretty much the standard for reputable lace appraisal, **and whom for some reason I hadn't found until Linda hadn't posted that link--THANK YOU, LINDA!** so she wouldn't have put such a figure out without it being realistic. Any ideas, warnings, etc. would be most gratefully accepted! I'm not going to rush this.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Wrap it well and acid free, and take out a short term insurance rider on it....just as you would a nice diamond ring.
Think you may have to sell it to someone in either a museum or with an unlimited supply of $$ an Arab sheik!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:15PM
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I actually had ordered some wedding-gown acid free preservation tissue a couple of weeks ago, and we wrapped it in some yesterday. DH is on the rider (that's the part he can comprehend : )) and, re the sheik: who do you know? (I'm thinking mtnrdredux might be interested ; ))

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:39PM
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And of course I forgot I'd mentioned the paper...too much going on around the house right now. Should read my own darn thread before I post!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:41PM
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I read thru this and this is really interesting. I had lots of old linens from my grandmother that I did not pay much attention to.

As far as looking for a buyer, do you mean Sheik, or Wall Street financier?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:30PM
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mahatmacat1 daughter keeps saying "but it's just a tablecloth!" And I tell her that it's thousands of hours of surgical-level work by women who almost never got the credit they should have.

My Armenian grandmother made lace -- I never met her but I have a few small pieces she did and I think from looking at them as a child, and imagining what her life as an unappreciated, abused woman who gave birth to 13 children who still sat and made such intensely focused made me feel an instant kind of emotional bond with good lace when I see it.

There is a world of difference in the way this comes across vs. say Battenburg, much less anything machine made. It just Spoke to me from the shelf. I have to say I keep feeling slightly bad for the grandkids who obviously weren't sensitive to this piece's 'voice', as it were, and I hope you're not one of those, that maybe the pieces you saw and passed by weren't of this quality.

All that said, I'm not going to rush to a sale, but ultimately I can't keep it. Our family can use that kind of money more than I need one nice thing to look at and ponder.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Is there a museum nearby that displays textiles or handmade items? I once saw a quilt displayed at a museum and shop near Ashville, NC. The price tag on the quilt was $800.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 3:07AM
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I was thinking...the best that might come of this is to donate it to a museum and get the museum to verify the appraiser's value...just take the deduction and call it a day. Then I know it will be taken care of, at least, and I don't have to go through the hassle of selling it. Although I'm not too sure about this place...

Here is a link that might be useful: scroll to the doll exhibit; you *know* they rushed back to their places around 6:30 am...

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 6:21AM
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That tablecloth is the sort of thing you see on First Dibs ... it's definitely looking for a rich buyer.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Hm, lazygardens...I went there just now and found the first two tablecloths I've ever seen there--thanks for the lead.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:11AM
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