Much confusion surrounds what is an authentic Hudson Bay Point Blanket. The original merchants of this time tested and highly prized linen is the Hudson Bay Company(HBC). While the HBC was not the manufacturer of the point blanket, the two have become one over time. Authentic HBC point blankets come in a wide array of colors and sizes.
Size is indicated by a point system (a point is a woven line about 4 inches long that appears on the side of the blanket's edge). The point system ranged from 1-8 and included 1/2 point increments.Contrary to popular myth, these points did NOT indicate the number of beaver pelts needed to purchase a particular sized blanket. Any "expert" who makes this claim does so in direct contradiction to the Hudson Bay Company's own statements dispelling this myth. As a rule of thumb, a 4 point blanket would fit todays modern double bed , 6 point a queen size and an 8 point blanket is comparable to a king size. Please note that many people have washed these blankets which has caused them to shrink. Always ask for dimensions before yor bid.
Colors range the gambit from the most popular "Candy Stripe" to reds, blues, greens, pastels and on and on. Two colors do not exist, black and pure white. While many believe the darkest band found on HBC point blankets is black, the color is actually a very deep indigo and since the wool is never bleached, pure white does not occur. Again please note that people often wash these blankets and as a result the colors are far removed from their vivid original appearance. Make sure you have a clear "day light" picture to view before you bid. In my opinion, color is more important than size since most people will use the blanket for display rather than keeping themselves toasty warm on a cold north Canadian winter night!
The only thing that loves HBC point blankets more than people is moths. In the 100s of blankets I have owned, I have yet to find one pre-1950's that doesn't have some moth tracks. I can also say that the majority of 1920-1930's blankets I own are not greatly diminished by the occasional moth track. Fraying typically is not a problem with slight fraying of a top or bottom edge on a pre 1960's blanket is Ok within reason. Fraying on the side of the blanket is a BAD sign of poor condition and such a blanket should not be purchased. The knap of the blanket should still have a nice pile and not be worn down as this is a sign of heavy wear and tear.
Ebay is a great place to buy Hudson Bay Company point blankets but not so good a place to sell them if you are looking for fair market value. Typically a good condition blanket will auction for around 80-90 for a 4 point and 150-200 for an 8 point. In an antique shop the same item would sell for 150-200 for 4 point and 300-500 for an 8 point. This is the market price here in the Adirondacks and will vary based on your location. On occasion you may see a "double" HBC point blanket. This is two blankets that were not separated and are extremely rare and as such, demand a greater price. It is fair to say that the price should more than double as not only are you getting two blankets but the rarity of them still being connected adds another 20-30% in value.
Other Point Blankets
Every merchant from JC Penny to Whitney have manufactured and/or sold a version of the point blanket. One company, Horn Brothers, still fools people today with their "HB" label. While some come close to the quality and value (Whitney Point comes to mind), the others are poor knock-offs and should only be aquired for practicle use and not for investment of display.
While an HBC Point blanket in poor condition is better than a JC Penny Golden Dawn any day, you should show caution. If you are lucky enough to be the high bidder on a good condition HBC point blanket, you will quickly become to love this amazing peice of North American history.
Please let me know if this was helpful. Thanks to all who have contacted me, I hope I helped!