Buyer Beaware revisited

I am a big fan of eBay.  My collection of antique and vintage quilt tops has mostly come from eBay.  In the years of looking at quilts on eBay almost daily I have seen a lot of them.

I also am a member of a group on Facebook called “Quilts Vintage and Antique”   This is a group of quilt Historians, collectors, dealers, certified appraisers and basic quilt heads like me….these people know quilts!  Occasionally someone will post a listing from eBay and ask the group if anyone has seen it before, or if they have any information about it.   Someone always does!

A few days ago a seller on eBay listed a quilt that didn’t look right to one of the members so he posted it on the Facebook page with the note:  recent import?

lace wedding ring

A few of us had seen it before…the seller had it listed as: American Quilt folk art made in Missouri.  Antique 1900 Victorian Turn of the century, probably 100 years old .

we knew that was not true because it is a recently made import quilt….I found another just like it also for sale on eBay$T2eC16h,!)UE9s3wEg5FBRT3mvgOeQ~~60_12

and also listed as an antique.   So we as a group knew that it was an imported quilt, many of us had seen it before and several said that it was sold on QVC when it was new.  Did the seller believe that it was truly an antique?  I don’t know because I did not contact the seller of this one (it sold for $100.95, and we think it sold for about $60 when new on QVC)

When I was looking for other examples of this quilt on eBay I came across several others that are also being misrepresented.

One seller had this one listed as being from the 30’s and based  that on the fact that it had belonged to her aunt who was married at about that time so she was sure that made the date correct.  It was a double wedding ring quilt with all the hallmarks of an imported  and not old quilt.  (pillow shams that match are a dead giveaway)

wedding ring with matching shams

My Friend from Facebook wrote to the seller and told her about the true history of the quilt and the seller was amazing!  Here is what she wrote

I very much appreciate your writing to me my aunt passed in 1992 and this was in her storage andd i have stored it in my own attic since, i believed it to be part of her early marriage items and never unpacked it until last month. i have sold a number of her linens, tablecloths and quilts previous. i never even considered she might have bought this and not made it and i would say based on your info then it would have had to be late 1980s or thereabout as she was not going out much from 1991 till she passed. i so much value your taking the time to write to me and i will pull the listing immediately, i always do my best to put full background on all my items and often letas buyers know i have no idea of any age or origin with this i thought i was totally safe that it was from her early marriage days. thank you for the kindness of writing, much appreciated and i will pull the listing immediately, kind regards, patc

If only every seller was so honest!!!

There are currently 2 other sellers with this same quilt….one listed as an antique, and one listed as being “Amish made”  they have not yet responded to the letters.

there are at least 6 more of this very same quilt listed in the vintage category but according to eBay rules that is correct….eBay vintage means 1935 – now

There is currently one listed that claims to be from 1900….the listing says : I purchased this quilt in an antiques store in Illinois and have since had a quilters organization appraise the work.  Their conclusion was that this quilt was most likely made in the early 1900s, perhaps by a farmer’s wife or the Mennonite in the area.  The cotton fabric (both front and back) and the colors used were consistent with that time period.  Although there is some machine work, a great deal of handwork has been done on this quilt as well.

here is the quilt

$T2eC16d,!)cE9s4Pu,9qBRVKf1Szuw~~60_57

this is an import, and I sent the seller a link to one that sold just a few days ago on eBay prove it…she was undaunted

Here is the other quilt

myway

….my Facebook friend sent her a note and picture documentation…even a picture of the quilt with its original tag….she is not buying it….she believes that her quilt is real and that the Chinese manufacturer copied it….how they did that one will never know…sine the quilt is here and not in china.  Here are a few of her angry words in response to us:

“I am housebound so my husband took the quilt to a group of quilters meeting in Brunswick, Maine. Mike does not recall the name of the group and no formal, wirtten appraisal was given. All of the ladies (who appeared to be senior citizens and very knowledgeable) concurred in the assessment of the quilt, and I briefly spoke with one woman by phone. The details of their evaluation are included in the auction description.” ( an unnamed group of quilters who are not appraisers and gave no written information)

“All I can add is that the quilters who advised me were specifically asked if my quilt was a reproduction. The group took a very minute and thorough look at the material and the stitching and determined that I had a genuine antique. I am putting this article up for auction in good faith and on reliance on their expertise.”

Based on the information given to me at the antiques store and the quilter organization appraisal in Brunswick, Maine, I re-placed this ad in good faith and will not be withdrawing it.

I purchased this quilt in an Illinois antiques store near a farming community about 20 years ago. A year or two ago, I had this quilt appraised and specifically asked if it was a reproduction. After a very minute and thorough examination of the material and stitching, each member of the group in Brunswick, Maine, agreed that my quilt was a genuine antique. It is not surprising that the Chinese would reproduce an antique or this particular quilt pattern, but I am satisfied, based on the findings of the appraisers, that mine is the real deal.

What’s amazing to me is that you cannot conceive that the Chinese based their reproduction on an actual antique and that you are unwilling to concede that I might actually have such a quilt. The experts I consulted with–after specifically being asked if it was a reproduction and they did a very minute and thorough examination of the fabric and hand stitching–concluded that I have an antique quilt. I would not be representing it as such if they had not made that their assessment.
The woman with whom I corresponded (one or two years ago) was from New York. (but earlier she said it was Brunswick Maine)

and her last response to me:

It is good that there are watchdogs out there to protect eBayers. But in this case, you have stepped way, way over the line in inferring that I am deliberately deceiving potential buyers and that what I am selling is a poor quality imitation. Your arrogance is astounding, especially as you have never personally seen my quilt. I believe your so-called “evidence” does not apply to what I am selling. I did what I could to verify the authenticity of the quilt and have posted the questions of concerned quilters on my ad site so that the buyers can be aware of both sides of the issue. …..very sad indeed

My goal was not to make this woman mad, it was actually to help her out.  eBay sellers depend on positive feedback from buyers and they need to protect their reputation….I also wanted to protect the buyer because someone bid on it ($149.99) based on her incorrect description.

So some eBay sellers are amazing people who really and truly want to be fair and honest and some are horrible liars and intentionally try to deceive.  so quilt buyer beware!! I wrote a full page about how to look at quilts and see if they are new imported quilts and you can see it here: Quilt Buyer Beware  If you have read it before it might be worth another look because I have added many new pictures.

Not a Happy Post today I am afraid but I feel better now

Tim

UPDATE!  the seller did change her mind …here is what she wrote:  Thank you for your concern. After praying again about this situation, I wrote to the sole bidder on the quilt this afternoon and alerted her to the controversy surrounding it. She was referred to the accusatory comments posted on the ad and was given the opportunity to back out of the contract. She wrote back this evening, thanked me for alerting her and indicated that she liked the quilt anyway and did not wish to withdraw.

The buyer will be overpaying by quite a bit, but the buyer will know what they are getting!!  Thank you seller

39 thoughts on “Buyer Beaware revisited

  1. karen says:

    the last two quilts you show sure do not look like antiques to me – some people are honest some are not – and yes it is up to the buyer to try to make sure they know what they are getting.

    • timquilts says:

      I guess I am too idealistic ….and think the buyer has a duty to correct the information when it is proven to be false….it makes me sad when I look at these and think of all the people what take the buyer at their word and believe that they bought a treasure

  2. Sara says:

    You and Teddy are great watchdogs for the quilting industry!

    • timquilts says:

      We try!….but this kind of stuff is very sad to me….misrepresented quilts pull down the value of the real deal, and I hate to see people get cheated 😦

  3. cmosey says:

    Tim, you did the right thing, and your article will most likely help others who are looking at quilts online for purchase or sale. That lady “got her hands slapped” and doesn’t want to admit she’s wrong. Shame on her!

    • timquilts says:

      thanks Caron! In the past I tried to contact all the sellers who had repro quilts for sale and listed them as antique….so many of them were grateful and made the changes….but there are always some like this one…and I get so sick over it (literally sick to my stomach and headache) that I give up and try to ignore them all…and then something comes up and I cant help it and I try again…..For now I will hope that the post will do the job

  4. Mary Britton says:

    Tim, Thanks for the education today! I seldom look at quilts on ebay but when I do I always find some that I think I would like to buy if I could afford to indulge my passion. But then I am wary and don’t bid. My collection so far includes family quilts handed down and what I have made personally. I did buy one small double wedding ring top at an antique store which I plan to finish. I am pretty sure the fabrics are from the 30s or 40s, comparing them to my grandmother’s quilts and my limited knowledge of fabrics.

    • timquilts says:

      I think that family quilts are wonderful!! and I am a big fan of finishing up old tops….I hope you have fun with that!! and if there is one that you would like to buy on eBay …send me a message here with the item number and I will let you know what I think

  5. allie aller says:

    I have that exact Double Wedding Ring quilt. It was made in China and I believe purchased at a department store in the 1980’s. thanks for the words of caution.

  6. 54allie54 says:

    I have that exact same Double Wedding Ring quilt. EXACT. Made in China, purchased in the late 1980’s I believe, at a discount department store.

  7. Mary Anne says:

    The so-called “experts” who “appraised” the quilt were not certified quilt appraisers. She just doesn’t get it.

  8. macuser1 says:

    I’m lucky, because these mass-produced quilts just don’t appeal to me visually. There’s something about them that feels like their soul has been stripped away. I have one mass-produced quilt, purchased knowingly because it was a New York Beauty. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bite. The worst is when someone brings one in to a quilt study day thinking it’s vintage. Ugh!

    • timquilts says:

      I agree…. I can tell by looking at them that they have no love in them….they were never made from the heart and it shows….I have seen a NYB and I imagine that for your collection it does fit and do its job….but you know what it is and can appreciate it as such…..Not a Treasured Antique…but an example of the pattern and its evolution

  9. So well said. Thank you for taking the time away from your beautiful quilting to educate online Sellers and to write this far reaching blog post. In the end, both of these Sellers will have to live with the consequences of their actions, and one of them will be able to hold her head high and sleep peacefully at night.

  10. trish says:

    This makes me sad too. When a buyer believes that they are getting an American made vintage quilt, it hurts the entire quilt community. I see them listed and want to scream NO NO NO!! Oh well, thanks so much, I have posted your article and again, am very impressed by it! 🙂 trish ~vintageblessings

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Trish! you are so right….these sellers do everyone a disservice! I know that if they compared them to the beautiful quilts that you offer on eBay they would see the difference!

  11. Kate says:

    eBay is a microcosm of the world…there are genuinely honest sellers and then there are the scoundrels…seems like you have had a run-in with the latter!! Well done,Tim for your words and shame on the seller for their stubborn ignorance.
    BTW Trish (above commenter) is one of the truely wonderful eBay sellers.

  12. Janet says:

    The first seller had integrity and that was a marvellous response from her. What would be disconcerting is that whoever buys the second quilt in good faith may go on to sell later on and so the next buyer could be duped as well. These Chinese imports have had a long lasting effect going back from when they first started importing them.

  13. Jill says:

    Good job Tim, someone needs to try to keep sellers honest. Thank you from so many potential buyers.

  14. Kristen says:

    Tim! Quilt police officer reporting for duty. Send me the item numbers, please

    • timquilts says:

      Hi Kristen (agent quilt)
      the seller of the star changed her mind and told the buyer about it…the Amish one had not responded but changed the listing to say it was bought in Amish country but removed the Amish attribution…so there had been some movement.

      • Kristen says:

        Thanks, I’ll take a look this weekend and play good cop. Does your Facebook group do many of these policing actions? If so, I suppose I should join. As we know from the past, working as a team is really effective in getting sellers’ attention. If there are more than the two of us, wow, the recalcitrant sellers would not be able to ignore or be reflexively nasty. If I get any responses I’ll send them to you.

      • timquilts says:

        we dont get into this kind of thing often….usually we just say “yes that is a reproduction” and then someone says we should send them a note, this is the first time it escalated to this level (since I have been a member) But I feel like it wont be the last….mostly share pictures of beautiful quilts and talk about the pattern, the fabric dates, quilting…things like that…anyway I know you would like it but it…if just for access to the picture files…http://www.facebook.com/groups/quiltsvintageandantique/ you do need to request access from the administrator to become a member

  15. laura fisher says:

    Tim – all this is excellent. I think you should send it all to the director of eBay’s authenticating division or whatever person oversees the posting of items. Ebay seems to express concern about monitoring sellers as to misinforming the public, so perhaps they could use this helpful information as a guide to potential listers. Laura Fisher’s tel :212/ 838-2596

    cell: 917/ 797-1260 http://www.laurafisherquilts.com Facebook: Laura Fisher Quilts

    >________________________________ > From: Tim Latimer – Quilts etc >To: fisherheritage@yahoo.com >Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 11:51 AM >Subject: [New post] Buyer Beaware revisited > > > WordPress.com >timquilts posted: “I am a big fan of eBay. My collection of antique and vintage quilt tops has mostly come from eBay. In the years of looking at quilts on eBay almost daily I have seen a lot of them. I also am a member of a group on Facebook called “Quilts Vintage and ” >

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks!
      I don’t know that there is a person overseeing the posting of items (at least based upon the things that I see!) but I think there must be someone in eBay land that might find it helpful …Just wish I could get every potential buyer to read it!

  16. Dawn says:

    I’m not a lover of E bay as I have been ripped off from a seller for $100 and basicaly Ebay did nothing. The seller never sent my item but they kept in communication with me as if they did until it was past the time allowed for complaints by Ebay. His rating was 98% and I realized he ripped off every so often and I just fell into that category. Ebay can be good as I just bought a humingbird whole cloth kit for $10 true vintage and can’t wait to start on my 1st whole kit for my mom who has hummingbirds in her home for decorations.. It is refreshing to see someone do the right thing although it may not be the popular thing. Thanks for being an example and living by the golden rule.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Dawn
      and I hope you have fun with the kit! sounds like you got a great deal!! I have had a few bad experiances with eBay sellers but so far eBay has been able to fix them for me…I think I am lucky

    • Carolyn Black says:

      The white on white quilt with the lace is definitely a chinese made quilt. I bought one from an outlet store in North Carolina about 15 years ago. I knew what I was buying and it was just for a summer bedcover. Yes, I quilt, and I know the difference between real and fake. I also came across a small quilt at an auction that looked like a very authentic piece of folk art quilting that almost fooled me. I was surprised that the Chinese were able to copy something that well.

  17. Sherry says:

    Tim Thank you for all the pictures and information about quilts and reproductions out there.I learned a lot Sherry

  18. bean1 says:

    It goes both ways. Are you doing it both ways? There are people selling things listed as say vintage or quilt top. Which anyone educated in quilts will know is antique. Do you tell that seller there quilt listed as vintage or just listed as quilt top is in fact full of fabric from example1880? Or do you buy it knowing what a bargain you are getting? In the case where you pick up a cheap quilt top by someone who has no quilt education do you tell them ahead of time the true value of the quilt top or quilt blocks? Or do you just get it way under its actual value? I find it interesting that you think it is appropriate to be supervising Ebay. To the point of contacting sellers, copying their photos and putting them on your blog. Overstepping is putting it lightly . FYI I have never sold anything on Ebay. Normally I stay quiet but these posts are inappropriate.

    • timquilts says:

      As a matter of fact I frequently contact sellers to share information about their quilts, including date information, pattern identification, and market value. I am not in any way trying to “supervise” eBay, my goal is to educate the potential quilt buyer about the differences in vintage/antique and modern/imported quilts. reputable sellers appreciate the information and find it very appropriate.

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