Vintage Quilts

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bright vintage quiltbright vintage quilt

What are vintage quilts? What makes a quilt vintage and not just old or antique? Surely there is some difference between these terms, something more than the funny way the English language seems to have multiple words that can be used interchangeably to describe the same thing.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the adjective form of the word vintage is

1 of wine: of, relating to, or produced in a particular vintage
2 : of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic
3 a: dating from the past : old or b: outmoded, old-fashioned
4 : of the best and most characteristic —used with a proper noun {vintage Shaw: a wise and winning comedy — Time}

Cherished Treasures

Synonyms of vintage include antiqueoldfangledold-schoolold-timeold-timeyold-worldquaintretroretrograde, and old–fashioned.

At first glance, the definition seems to affirm the original suggestion that perhaps there's no real distinction, and vintage simply means old. But further consideration of the definitions reveals there is indeed a very real difference, one that when applied to quilts and their history, is critical. The distinction is one of "recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality."

Colorful vintage quiltColorful vintage quilt

Does that provide the answer to the original question? Sort of. Yes, vintage quilts are old. But how old? And yes, old quilts are often valuable, but in what way? Even with a dictionary definition, the answer is still vague and ambiguous, so in many ways we're left with an "eyes of the beholder" situation.

Is your old quilt a vintage quilt?

If after considering the definition, along with its vagueness and ambiguity, you think your quilt is indeed vintage, please consider sharing pictures and stories of it.


How old is old? For purposes of this site, pre-1970. That is by no means any kind of "official" definition, just a guideline for this site. If you have a treasured old quilt that is not old enough, please consider sharing it on the Heirloom Quilts page.

What makes your quilt "valuable"? Perhaps the craftsmanship, or the exquisite hand-stitching, or the beautiful colorplay of the fabrics, or even its sentimental value. Sometimes the "value" is obvious from the picture, but usually there's a lot more that makes a quilt special than just what can be seen.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Brightly colored patchwork quilt created between 1874-1952 
This quilt was sewn by my Great-Grandmother, Maggie Hellman in Lebanon, Pennsylvania sometime between 1874-1952. I would like to get an idea of its age …

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Not sure of type of pattern 
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For as long as I can remember Not rated yet
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Vintage Star Flower Quilt Blocks Not rated yet
This lovely set of 12 vintage star flower quilt blocks was donated to the Lubbock Chapter Project Linus by a "blanketeer" as a fundraiser. Measuring …

Rescued Vintage String Star Quilt Not rated yet
Last year a vintage quilt cataloging task force went from city to city in New Mexico, and when it came to my town, I participated in the event. I think …

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