Written by Laura | Updated 18 April 2023
An antique rug’s uniqueness, intricacy and complexity is only limited to its creator’s imagination. One-of-a-kind oriental rugs can take time, skill and effort to produce. Consequently, the price of a high-quality rug can be astronomical. So how can you tell what your rug, or any, might be worth? We asked Experts in Rugs Gijs Hamming and Richard Ebbers, to put together a guide on estimating and determining the value of oriental rugs.
Rugs are arguably one of the most important parts of any home. And decorating with them is a tricky but essential part of making any house a home. Oriental rugs are in particularly high demand; from Turkish rugs to Iranian Heriz and Moroccan Berber rugs. So if you're looking to sell on a rug for a new one, you'll need to know its value, or similarly if you're looking to invest in one, it's worth knowing if the price is right. But where to begin?
Factors Which Determine a Rug’s Worth
There are multiple factors to consider when determining the value of an antique rug. These include size, knot density, the materials used, design & colour, and age & condition. Find out more:
Let’s start with the obvious. The larger the rug, the the more materials and effort required to produce it. Therefore, a higher price tag. Shapes and sizes can vary from a smaller rectangular 1’1" x 1’8" to a grander 12’ x 20’.
Also known as knots per square inch, this measurements signifies the complexity and tightness of the way a rug has been woven. Take a look at the reverse side of your rug and choose a 1 inch x 1 inch area. Count both the horizontal weave and the vertical run. Multiply the two together to find the your knot density. Generally speaking, the more densely bound a rug is, the higher its quality and thus its price.
Wool, cotton and silk are the three main materials used for producing high quality floor pieces. The choice of material is important not only for the look and feel of a carpet, but for it’s durability and ability to last. The highest value rugs are usually silk on silk, or silk with a fine wool blend.
Design & Colour
Ultimately, a rug’s purpose is to be aesthetically pleasing. It’s design should catch a viewer’s eye and keep a viewer captivated by its intricacy and detailing. Take a look at your rug from afar and up close. Does the detailing cover the entire rug or just parts of it? Does it have a wide variety of colours? Intricacy and range of colours command a higher price. Some high value styles of rugs include medallion, portrait, repeating patterns and excessive blends of colour.
Age & Condition
If a rug is over 100 years old, it’s considered antique. Naturally, because rugs are made to be walked upon, there’s a strong chance a rug this old will be in a relatively poor condition. But if you have an antique rug which has been kept in excellent condition? You’re onto a winner!
High-priced rugs on Catawiki
To give you an idea of what prices rugs can fetch at auction, we’ve put together a selection of some of our highest-priced oriental rugs ever to have sold on Catawiki.
5. Dwarf Habibian Rug - €7,500
At 1,000 knots per m², this rug is an impressive floorpiece. It’s made of kork wool with silk motives on silk warp and came to auction from a private collection, only to be sold for a solid price tag. Notice its repeat pattern across the centre.
4. Iranian Nain Habibian - €8,001
This high density rug is known as a Nain, handmade in the city of Nain in Israel. It’s a Habibian, which is the most famous name in Nain workshop rugs today. Let your eyes wander over it and take in its beauty.
3. Persian Silk Ghoum - €9,500
Master knotter Mohammadi, one of the most famous weavers of Ghoum, weaved and signed this exceptional red oriental rug. It’s made of full silk and is very finely woven. Take a look at the close-up images to see the true intricacy at the work. Wow!
2. Persian Nain Habibian - €9,500
This is another great example of a beautiful Iranian carpet, made in 1985. Yet more fantastic detailing, the chalky, earthy tones are great for texture. But keep scrolling for number one...
1. Nain Rug - €11,500
Made with plant-based dyes around 1980, this is the most expensive rug to have ever sold at Catawiki to date. It’s particularly large, and exceptionally wonderful to look at. No wonder it was picked up for €11,500.
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