Why should you contact an appraiser of oriental rugs?

If you wish to sell, exchange, swap, insure, claim for damages, pawn or divide the value of a rug in the case of inheritance, it is first of all necessary to know the effective value of the rug or tapestry, in its current state of preservation and the present market.
Surfing the most important sites on 'oriental rugs' present on Google, or visiting the shops that sell rugs in your hometown, it will certainly be difficult to understand the current value of your rug. In such cases, it is necessary to have a certified appraisal that safeguards the owner of the rug. The person who carries out this appraisal cannot be a trusted shopkeeper, or an appointee of a saleroom, nor an improvised 'expert'.
The shopkeeper, in the case of exchange or purchase could tend to under- or overvalue the rug (for obvious reasons). The appointees of national and international sale rooms have the task of organizing auctions with a number of lots that will sell easily because of their beautiful appearance and their appealing prices; therefore, their estimates of value could be quite low, in order to attract the public to the auction and sell as many lots as possible.
Therefore, as a safeguard, it is necessary to contact an official appraiser and, before meeting a buyer or an intermediary, it is essential to be well informed about the item that is to be sold. The final price of the rug will depend on your business acumen and the buyer's willingness to make the purchase. The existence of an official appraisal of the rug will be a considerable incentive for the buyer. Frequently, given the extent and the complexity of this sector, it is not easy for the appraiser to establish the exact origin, the age and the estimated value of the item and this research could take days or even weeks.

What information should I send if I want my rug appraised?

In order to appraise a rug or tapestry, it is necessary for me to examine it carefully and personally.
In any case, for the appraisal a photocopy of the certificate of guarantee and authenticity, the sales receipt or invoice, auction catalogues and any other document regarding the item are of considerable help. For the purpose of offering an opinion and deciding whether to carry out a real or virtual appraisal, it is essential for me to see photographs of the front and the back of the rug.

Which parts of the rug should I photograph and what format should I use?

A – clearly, the value of a rug depends not only on the materials used, but above all on the time taken to weave it, which comes down to the number of knots in it. A good quality rug for the sitting room fine Tabriz 49-50 3 m² (200x150 cm) will in effect have 700 rows of knots in a metre chain, that is 490,000 knots per square metre. If the single knot (the tak-baft) is used, it will take about 108 days' work (almost four months) by a skilled weaver, at a rate of about 13,500 knots per day.
B – to appraise the rug, it is necessary to have a photograph of the right side, of the details of the centre, the border and the corner design (the spandrels).
C – in order to count the number of knots, it is necessary to have photographs of the back of the rug, taken near the edge and of the fringes, with a ruler or a banknote placed exactly parallel to the selvedge of the rug. See the photographs below.
D – it is preferable for the photographs to be saved in a lightweight format, such as .jpeg.

Figure 1: Rear and front of an Ardebil (Iran) rug, with a banknote for counting the knots.

Figure 2: the rear of an Ardebil (Iran) rug, with a €10 banknote for counting the knots

Figure 3: checking the knots, rear of a Tabriz 50 Raj rug.
Checking the number of knots on both sides using a €20 banknote on a Tabriz (Iran) rug, wool and silk on the cotton structure (warp and weave), with 50 rows of knots (Raj) in a greh of 7cm. The greh is a unit of measurement used in the area of Tabriz and is equal to 7 knots in a linear centimetre and 490,000 knots in a square metre.

Figure 4: Herekè (Turkey) silk on silk, thickness 3mm, counting the knots using a ruler. 8 knots in 1cm width, equal to 640,000 per square metre.

  • Why should you contact an appraiser of oriental rugs?

  • How much does it cost to have a rug valued?

  • What information should I send if I want my rug appraised?

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