Newsletter July 2009
Should you Throw that Rug Away?
Have you ever had an item you found in your attic or garage, or something you've used for years that just seems to have lost its appeal? Oriental rugs commonly fall in this category, and often find their way into trashcans as a result! You might be surprised to know that many Oriental rugs, even if worn or hiding in an attic, can retain value for years. Read the article below to see if your trash may actually be a treasure!
"One Person's Trash is another Person's Treasure"
It is a common assumption that Oriental Rugs, like fine pieces of art, appreciate in value with time. This can be true -- but not always. So, how do you know if your rug is worth anything? There are many things to consider when evaluating whether to throw that rug away, restore it or sell it to the highest bidder. First and foremost, you need to know what kind of rug you have. Machine made rugs, especially those made with synthetic products, may look like Oriental rugs, but truly are not. A true Oriental rug is hand made, knot by knot, with natural materials. Many times you can distinguish a machine made from a hand knotted rug by looking at the underside. If the backside looks like a grid with perfectly straight rows, it is most likely a machine made rug. If you can clearly see the rug pattern on the backside and see the knots rather than the foundation of the rug, and if the rows seem somewhat imperfect, this is a hand-ade rug. Looking at the fringe can also help identify the rug. If the fringe has been sewn on it is most likely a machine made rug, added at the end to give it the look of a hand made rug. The fringe on a hand made rug is an extension of the rug itself (it is actually the warp threads of the foundation of the rug). Because of the time, effort, labor and skill used in making a hand knotted rug, these pieces are more valuable and can increase in value over time. These pieces are works of art. Once you have determined your rug is a hand made Oriental, you can look further at the quality of the rug by checking the materials used and the knot count. Most Oriental rugs are made with wool pile and cotton or wool foundations. The wool pile should be soft and dense. You may also see rugs made with silk, but be careful as some "silk" rugs can actually be cotton made to look like silk (art silk). Knot count is the number of knots tied per square inch in the rug. Generally, the more knots, the higher the quality of the rug. Look at the back-side of the rug. If the pattern on the back is very distinct, you probably have a rug with a good knot count.
Another important factor to consider is the condition of the rug. Whether it is brand new (less then 10 years old) or an antique (over 100 years old), serious damage that devalues it considerably. Animals are prime culprits of damage to rugs -- urine stains and chewed ends can affect the rug greatly. Moths can also cause quite a bit of damage by eating away the wool pile of the rug. This sort of damage is sometimes repairable, but will devalue the rug if not repaired. Traffic patterns can also cause damage and wear away the pile (and sometimes the foundation) of the rug. If not too severe, this sort of damage may not affect the value too greatly of an antique rug. Many times, damage to a rug can be repaired. Fringe can be re-tied or added, patches can replace worn pile, selvege can be re-sewn to the sides, worn pile can even be replaced with new knots. These repairs can be costly. You should consider the value of the rug versus the cost of the repair when investing in the restoration. Many times, it is worth the expense -- but not always. Consultations and appraisals are available at many Oriental Rug dealers, including Mousaian Oriental Rugs. Always get a professional opinion before throwing that rug away!!!