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Coverlet & Car Maker Combination Yields Big Price

Collectors have long prized jacquard coverlets. Although they were made throughout the eastern United States during the 1820s through the 1850s, the coverlet weavers of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana were particularly prolific. Woven of bright colors, jacquard coverlets were, and remain, popular because of their complex patterns, often including trees, buildings, birds, and even trains and steamboats. One of the most popular patterns was the eagle.

During Garth's May 15, 2015 auction of Early American Furniutre & Decoratve Arts, this coverlet, adorned with a central field of eagles, was offered as lot 459 and came from the collection of the late Margaret Brusher of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The coverlet sold for an outstanding $3,240. Each eagle was surrounded by 26 stars, and it so happens that Michigan was the 26th state to enter the Union. It's hard to say whether the weaver intentionally used 26 stars to commemorate Michigan statehood in 1837, or if it was mere coincidence. But, we do know that this specific coverlet was used in a commemorative fashion - more than a century later, and by, of all things, a car maker! In the mid-1970s, Chevrolet produce a number of special Bicentennial edition cars, including the 1976 Bicentennial Chevette. The ultra-compact Chevette was released in 1975 as a response to the numerous fuel-efficient cars coming to America from overseas (likely inspired by the then-recent oil embargo). Margaret Brusher's husband, Fred, was an executive at General Motors, and he apparently convinced the designers to use this particular eagle coverlet as inspiration for the upholstery used in the Bicentennial Chevette. The car was ultimately produced with red paint and the interior upholstered in eagle fabric and trimmed in white vinyl. Although this fabric was only used in 1976, the Chevrolet produced the popular Chevette until 1987. For photos of one of these classic American compacts, visit: (Ironically, the car sold for just a few hundred dollar s more than the coverlet!)

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