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Trading 'Indian' Blankets

Is any of that junk in your attic worth some money? How do you sort the trash from the treasure? CBS News Saturday Morning continues its series with collectibles expert Tony Hyman.

The "Indian blanket" is a hot area of collectibles with a misleading name. These are not the hand-woven products of Native Americans, like the coveted and extremely expensive Navajo weavings. These are machine-made blankets in "Indian" patterns, and they were made for Native Americans, not by them.

Produced by a number of U.S. manufacturers beginning more than 100 years ago, the blankets often were well-made. Many of those manufactured before 1942 have survived.

If you have the right blanket, it could be worth up to $1,000. One 100-year-old blanket was bought at a yard sale a few months ago for $10. A blanket specialist paid the new owner $1,000 for it.

That blanket had rounded corners, which is one thing to look for, according to Hyman. Another is fringed eges. They could put $200 to $400 in your pocket.

The value of all Indian blankets is based on condition, pattern, colors, age and manufacturer. As far as manufacturers go, "Pendelton is the very best," Hyman says.

Indian blankets all were multicolored, and the most valuable are mainly red and black. Blankets with lots of brown in them are currently much less valuable.

Go to Tony Hyman's Web site for more information on collectibles.

Go to the archive of Saturday Morning segments with collectibles expert Tony Hyman.

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