How can I tell how old my blanket is?

There are a number of clues to dating the manufacture of various point blankets.  If the blanket has a label the task is fairly easy.  I have identified and dated some two-dozen styles of labels used by the Hudson's Bay Company since 1890.  I have also done a considerable amount of research on the dates of labels used on blankets made by many mills like Early's of Witney, Pendleton and Jacob's of Oregon, as well as for blankets marketed by retailers other than HBC, like the T. Eaton Company. In my second book The Collector's Guide to Point Blankets there is an extensive section on labels and their approximate dates.

If the blanket does not have a label the task is considerably more difficult and involves developing the skills to determine the style of weave, the differences between hand and machine weaving and analyzing the colours and types of dyes used to make them.

Are point blankets valuable?

Generally older point blankets are more valuable than regular wool blankets of the same age. Some unusual patterns, like the 1936 Coronation blanket, and particularly old point blankets may bring up to a thousand or more dollars at auction. However, the collecting of point blankets is a rather new field and it is expected as more information becomes available to collectors that even higher prices will be reached. I have yet to confirm the rumour, apparently circulated on the Antiques Road Show, that certain point blankets are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Part of the fun of collecting point blankets is that most antique and second hand dealers don't know what they have and the astute collector armed with solid information can find particularly old or unusual point blankets at a "steal".  In my second book, The Collector's Guide to Point Blankets, I have prepared a pricing guide that will help the new collector determine the current value of most point blankets from the late 19th century to the present.

Two examples of the many labels used by HBC over the past 115 years. The "Trademark A" label (above) was used by Hudson's Bay Company on its blankets around 1890 and the "Stacked" label (below) was used from around 1934-1940.