As An Investment
Many older carpets can appreciate in value and potentially provide a return on your investment. New rugs are not Mutual Funds. They are investments in the sense that they typically last a very long time and do not need to be replaced. Each rug, old or new, must be evaluated on its own merit, condition and very time-bound elements of decorative style.
Here are some common rug investment questions (click for the answers)
An appraiser just gave me the value of my rug. How do I know it's right?
Your comfort level with the evaluation should rest on the qualifications of the appraiser. Some appraisers are association-certified. Others are unofficial and have not been formally tested but are no less qualified to judge the value of a rug iven their day-to-day experience. Ask to see examples of an appraiser's work and ask questions about his or her volume of buying and selling activity in the current market.
How does an appraiser set a price?
Properly evaluated, a rare rug's estimated value should be based on references to published materials that specify selling prices. A Sotheby's rug auction catalog is a good example of quality documentation. More commonly, in the case of a less rare rug, prevailing local market price most accurately defines value. For example, a rug that might sell in Providence for $4,000 may well command $5,000 or more in New York. The size of the market affects the price accordingly, and the appraiser must define that market.
What should an appraisal include?
A complete appraisal should include the following:
- A physical description of the rug, including its current condition, size and a summary of any prior repairs made to it.
- Its age.
- Its provenance, including country, tribe, village and/or city of origin.
- Its defined-market value.
- A technical description of its construction, materials and knot type.
Are rugs made in one country a better value or investment than those made in another?
No. All rug-producing countries make carpets of both very high quality and marginal tolerability. Ultimately, quality depends on the materials, construction and aesthetic displayed in the final product. Currently, a rug's manufacturer or importer may be a better determinate of quality than its country of origin because of the controls and production standards the firm maintains in its weaving facilities.
Do all antique rugs appreciate in value?
No. Common rugs of lesser quality will not increase significantly in value. However, there is a growing demand for an ever-lessening supply of find, old rugs. Their ultimate value rests on a combination of relative scarcity, conditioin, classic design and the whims of decorating trends. In the collector's world, different types of rugs go in and out of vogue; hence, prices of specific goods may fluctuate significantly in the short run. In the decorative trade, just as harvest gold and avocado refrigerators are a matter of the past, there will always be a rug and a rug look that marks time. Herezes and Serapes are examples of staple antique carpets that are consistently in demand. Other items of current interest, such as Oushaks in the 1990's, will also command a premium price. All of these fine pieces, when well maintained, can be expected to escalate in value over the long term.
What determines whether an oriental rug is antique?
U.S. customs regulations specify any antique to be no less than 100 years old. The term "semi-antique," although not an official classification, is widely used in the rug rade to describe a carpet between 50 and 100 years old.
Should I insure my rug separately or are oriental rugs covered under an average homeowner's policy?
Talk to your agent or insurance company to discuss the coverage provided by your policy. Insurance standards tend to change. During the 1980's, for example, silver and jewlery were typically excluded under homeowners' protection, requiring the policyholder to carry a rider. This same exclusion may apply to y our oriental rugs in which case specific coverage must be purchased. In either case, you must prepare for the possibility of a loss by procuring an itemized appraisal of each rug in your possession. Periodically update appraisals done on fine, antique pieces.
What are the various types of coverage available?
Because an oriental rug should not be subject to the same depreciation schedules that anticipate devaluation through normal wear and tear, it is important to investigate replacement cost insurance for both old and new rugs.