FOUND > Blanket Fetches $1.5 Million

Discovered by man living in shack, barely getting by

FOUND > Blanket Fetches $1.5 Million

August 2, 2018
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best News

LEONA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - In 2012 People Magazine reported that a man living disability check to disability check in a friend’s shack sold a rare blanket for $1.5 million at auction.


Jason Duaine Hahn, writing for People Magazine, reported that Loren Krytzer (or LT as he likes to be called) struggled for years following a major car accident that led to the amputation of his left foot. His career as a carpenter was over, and he fought to make due with $800 per month in disability.

Zack Guzman, reporting for CNBC, wrote that following the 2007 accident, LT made the hard choice to send his children to live with their grandparents because his disability check just didn’t go far enough each month.

2011 gave LT a great blessing though. He was watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow when he saw a gentleman who had brought in an old blanket for appraisal. On that episode Don Ellis, an appraiser, gives a conservative estimate of $350,000-$500,000 for an old Navajo blanket. The show’s guest is clearly floored, and this revelation gave LT pause.

Don Ellis appraising the Navajo blanket on Antiques Roadshow (4-minutes).

He recalled having a very similar blanket that belonged to his great-grandmother. She let her cat deliver kittens on it once. He thought it looked very similar to the blanket on the show, holding it up to the television for comparison.


LT contacted John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, California. After they laid the blanket out on the floor, John Monrovia felt excitement run through his body. He knew they had something special. They sent fibers off for testing which confirmed their conclusion: this was a Navajo First Phase Chief’s blanket. They put the blanket up for auction in June 2012.

The First Phase Chief's Blanket sets a World Record at John Moran Auctioneers (7-minutes).

The bidding immediately leapt beyond any previous appraisal, and even beyond LT’s wildest dreams. The bidding closed at $1.5 million, with Don Ellis as the purchaser. He was the appraiser from Antiques Roadshow episode that inspired LT to take his family blanket to be appraised.


Based on information from PBS, first phase blankets were made up until 1865, and only 50 or so have survived from that era.

How to identify a Navajo Chiefs Blanket by Medicine Man Gallery (5-minutes).

First phase blankets were made from 1800-1865. Their rarity makes they increasingly sought after by Native Arts collectors.


This particular Navajo First Phase Chief’s Wearing Blanket made headlines with its hammer price of $1.8 million ($1.5 million plus a 20% buyer’s premium) at John Moran’s Auctioneer’s on June 19th, 2012. This completely obliterated the previous record of $522,500 for a similar first phase blanket.


The following links track the highest amounts buyers have offered to pay for antique and vintage blankets on eBay.

This can be a way to see different types of blankets, and textiles, which may be valuable to online buyers (research tips).

The links only work reliably on laptops, desktops, and some tablets due to eBay's mobile site limitations. All links open on eBay.

Cultural & Ethnic Blankets
Antique Linens & Textiles (Pre-1930)
Blanket Related Antiques