Harold Tichenor wrote and researched The Blanket: An Illustrated History of the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket. We asked him a few questions regarding his love for point blankets. This interview was conducted in April 2004.
LC: Why did you start collecting point blankets?
HT: I became curious about how to date them. The research led to the need to look at and inspect a number of examples to try to work out the dating scheme.
LC: What compelled you to write "The Blanket?"
HT: The Hudson's Bay Company became aware of my research and asked me if I would write a small book on the history of their blanket trade for them.
LC: “The Blanket” contains lots of fascinating history on the HBB. How did you conduct your research?
HT: Most research was through the HBC collection at the Museum of Manitoba. I also researched collections and info at Alberta and BC provincial museums. In addition I did a great deal of reading, including numerous copies of The Beaver and the Journal of the Museum of the Fur Trade as well as correspondence with mills in England.
LC: In researching point blankets, what is the most extraordinary thing you’ve learned?
HT: I have to admit that I didn't come across any thing that I would call extraordinary.
LC: Do you have any tips for collectors who wish to start collecting point blankets? How should they start? What should they look for?
HT: The most important factor is personal taste; does the blanket appeal to you? Try to buy blankets in the finest condition for their age.
LC: From a historical perspective, what is the most valuable point blanket and why is it so valuable?
HT: Very old blankets would obviously be the most valuable. I would assume the Revolutionary War era blanket held by the Museum of the Fur Trade would probably be the most valuable point blanket. Provenance as well can add to value. If the specific blanket can be proven to have been the property of a certain famous person, then that would have great value as well. Of the general issue blankets the Coronation blankets bring the highest prices at auction. I have seen a mint condition 1953 Coronation blanket sell for US$600. The 1936 Coronation blanket should be worth even more but rarely change hands. I would estimate a mint condition one should run about $2000.
LC: It is mentioned in the book that you have quite a collection of blankets. What tools do you use to find your blankets? How do you store them?
HT: I buy from dealers, second hand stores and through eBay. I store them in separate vinyl bags.
LC: Can you tell us more about your new book?
HT: The Collector's Guide to Point Blankets is just now coming to me from the printers. It will probably sell for 24.95 US (29.95 CDN).