Rug Valuation – How much is a Hand Knotted Rug Worth?

Good quality carpets and luxury rugs can be worth large sums of money, especially if they are considered rare or antique. Earlier this month, a New York auction witnessed four bidders fighting over a 17th Century Persian rug, that sold for £21.8 million, to an anonymous buyer- triple the previous auction record for a carpet. This has reignited the public’s interest in rug valuation of antique and hand knotted rugs.
Whether you have a stunning oriental carpet inherited from your family or a more contemporary piece that no longer fits with the rest of your interior, you may consider having it valued. However, prices can vary hugely, with poor quality or mass-produced rugs having almost no resale value. To begin the process it’s worth finding out the basics of rug valuation yourself. Here is our brief guide to help you identify the hallmarks of a high or low value rug, so you get an idea of how much a rug is worth.
To find out how to buy a high quality contemporary rug read our comprehensive guide
how much is a rug worth 17th Century Persian rug
17th Century Persian rug sold for £21.8m
This antique carpet, dated to the first half of the 17th Century, is believed to originate from South-eastern Iran, with a rare ‘vase’ pattern and unusual red background.
So how much is your rug worth? An antique rug for example could be worth anything from £1,000 to £1 million. The size, dyes used in manufacture, and current design trends all play a part in determining value. And as with any product, it’s rarity will also have an impact. If it is a unique one-off piece in a sought after style this is likely to fetch a higher price. Also similar-looking vintage rugs may actually turn out to be worth very different amounts when examined closely depending on their condition and quality,
However, the only type of luxury rug which has any real resale value is one created using the traditional method of hand knotting. Hand Knotted rugs stand apart from any other handmade rug as well as anything made by machine. (At Bazaar Velvet all our rugs are hand knotted, view our collections for some stunning examples.) A sure way of checking whether an existing rug is hand knotted is by looking at the back. A hand knotted rug will show the design on the reverse with the same depth of colour as on the front. There will be no backing or visible foundation threads, only the knots of the wool and silk yarns themselves.

Rug Valuation Check List

A silk rug woven onto silk foundation threads is considered to be the most premium of luxury rugs. Silk has a long history as the most sought after luxury textile due to its tactile and aesthetic properties. Second to this comes a silk or high quality wool rug, with pile knotted onto a cotton foundation. Kurk, Bikaner and Himalayan Wools are great examples. In contrast, a rug created using a low quality wool (or an artificial material) or created on a jute foundation is considered inferior.
Knot Density
Another variable is the tightness of the weave or knot count. The more knots, the more valuable the rug. This is because a rug with a higher knot density is more difficult and more time consuming to weave, with intricate designs sometimes taking several years to complete. Knots density is measured differently depending on the rugs origin. The knot count may be written on the rugs label, but knots can be counted by hand from the back of the rug. In Nepal knot density is measured per liner foot. A knot count of 100 or more is considered high quality. In India Knot counts are measured knots per inch. A 11/11 quality (11 knots in every inch length and width) or more is seen as a luxury rug.
Quality of Colours and Dye Techniques
The most expensive rugs will feature a large number of colours that blend and compliment perfectly. This effect is very difficult to achieve and is therefore highly sought after. A rug with less colours, or with the odd colours that stands out unappealingly, will affect the value of the rug. Furthermore, rugs with damage to their colours such as areas of bleached colour will be very difficult to sell.
Plain or very simple geometric design rugs are unlikely to fetch a high price at auction. The more complex, dense and curvilinear the design, the more the rug will be worth. In regards to traditional rugs for example, an Indo Aubusson will be at the lower end of the scale whereas a fine Turkman design will be at the top.Think detailed floral patterns and abstract designs with no repeating patterns. Also, take a look for a master designer signature that will be incorporated into design in the middle of the upper edge of the carpet.
If a rug is in good condition, generally the older it is the more it will be worth. A rug less than 10 years old will not have any added value. Conversely, a rug of 70-99 years is considered semi-antique so is much more desirable, especially to rug dealers, collectors and enthusiasts. A rug of 100 years or more is considered antique and will fetch the highest price.
Rug Condition
The less signs of wear a rug has the higher a price it will fetch. However a luxury vintage rug with slight wear to the fringe, or even wear across the rugs surface, reducing the height about a quater of an inch is still considered to be in good condition, as is a rug with small and inconspicuous repairs. If however the rug has severe wear revealing the rugs foundation, has stains which cannot be removed, or needs thorough restoration, this will greatly reduce the value of the rug.
Demand and Availability
As with any product, supply and demand will have a huge impact on the value of a rug. Rare and Semi-Rare Antique Oriental rugs predictably fetch the highest prices at auction, as do rugs that are no longer being produced. However a high quality luxury rug that is only being created in very low volumes, such as designer hand knotted rugs by Bazaar Velvet, can also fetch a reasonable price.
For an accurate auction value, always contact an expert for a formal rug valuation to find out how much your rug is worth. Or, if you are looking to invest in a rug that might just be worth a fortune in a few generations, go for a high quality, hand knotted beauty such as the luxury contemporary rugs by Bazaar Velvet.
Find out more about rug quality in our definitive guide, or contact us with your questions
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