Contact One of Our Rug Experts to Assist You in Choosing Investment Quality Antique Rugs
Investment Rugs – Today the new investment trend is toward hard commodities whose value has been demonstrated and stabilized over the long term. Within this climate antiques generally have assumed a new status and desirability as investments because they have weathered the test of time and taste so well, and because their rarity causes demand to become ever more competitive, which in turn makes their value escalate. In addition to their appeal as investments, antique carpets and other decorative furnishings remain what they have always been, objects of art that beautify the home as expressions of taste and sophistication.
Investment rugs can come in any rug patterns, size, and origin as the only defining factor in investment quality rugs is desirability. This common characteristic can be seen in such rugs as this immaculate silk Tabriz rug, and this one-of-a-kind polychrome rendition of Persepolis by master weaver Aboul Ghasem Kermani:
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Rug investment trends and trends in antique carpet investing
I was asked by a young collector about recent rug trends in the antique rug industry and how it pertained to investment rugs. I thought it would be nice to share some of my thoughts. It is my feeling that the wave of the future may just rest in the past. As a part of the antique rug trade for the last 20 years, I can’t help but fall in love with a new rug every single day. Rugs, tapestries and textiles of the late 19th century are some of the most beautiful / decorative art forms in the world, and there are days when I can’t help but feel like a kid in candy store. As the years go by, I tend to gravitate more towards the early rugs of the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of these early antique rugs are a true testament to the greatness of empires long forgotten.
It feels like no matter how omnipotent and grand the empire might have been (like the Safavid, Mamluk, Mughal and Ottoman) they were no match for the longevity of the art that they bestowed onto us all. Early rugs have a uniqueness that cannot be matched, and they are the best examples of the roots from which this whole industry eventually blossomed. More and more young collectors are turning away from the art world in favor of antique rugs. Economically, it makes a great amount of sense… if someone would like to acquire a painting by an old master, it would be practically impossible to find one for less than $1,000,000 (and naturally, that is a very low estimate and by no means is representative of any great piece from any such artist).
In contrast, early pieces are still tremendously undervalued and would make great potential investment rugs. For a fraction of the price of a great work of art, one can easily attain one of the best early pieces in the world – a true museum-quality piece (a term that is used all too loosely in our industry). Fortunately for me, I work for one of the world’s top wholesalers of great antique carpets. Jason’s taste is not in the interest of buying purely for the sake of making money.
That is why so many unique pieces come through our doors every year. It is my opinion that over these next few years (and as the economy around the world strengthens) this continuing interest in early pieces will only escalate. If I were a gambling man, I would surely bet the house on these pieces (and I guess I kind of am)! I will follow up with some additional entries and examples of such rugs.
Learning About Antique Investment Rugs
Should Investment Potential Be a Factor When buying a Rug?
While most people may not factor in the rug’s investment aspect or long term monetary value, it may be something that is worth while taking into account.
It is important to note that prices may fluctuate as a direct result of the trends set forth by both rug collectors and interior designers. Naturally, those trendy rugs that are in high demand right now, will probably have higher price points. So it is important to note that following the current trends can result in paying more for these rugs. Equally important to note is the fact that once the trends change, it may have an adverse effect on the price of these “now in demand” rugs.
That said, the best and rarest examples of antique rugs do tend to be good investments as they have a solid track record of going up in value over time (unless the rug was purchased during a “hot trend” at “peak price”).
Buying rugs with the investment potential in mind offers flexibility down the road. Should one’s needs or tastes change, an antique rug that maintains it’s intrinsic value can be traded in and credit will be given towards any new purchases, or, it can simply be sold as liquid asset.
Investment potential is therefore a reason to purchase an antique rather than a new rug, whose value will not hold or increase after the initial purchase.
Buyer’s Guide to Antique Rugs for Investment – The Wall Street Journal
Investing in Antique Rugs:
Buyer’s Guide to Investing in Antique Rugs – For some time now, we at Nazmiyal have been strong advocates for the investment potential of antique oriental area rugs and vintage rugs. Tastes may change or evolve over time, but the best antique rugs have a classic quality that will never go out of style. With every passing day the rarity of such pieces becomes more special and precious, especially as the demand for them becomes ever more intense and competitive.
It would now seem that general awareness of this situation has finally reached critical mass. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal has assembled the facts in stunning detail. Demand is now spiking astronomically in response to a new array of players within the rug market.
Newly founded museums in the Middle East and Europe underwritten by oil wealth have emerged as strong competitors in the quest to establish outstanding collections of Islamic art, among which carpets figure prominently.
The divide between modern and traditional decor has begun to dissolve as wealthy collectors of contemporary art are increasingly accustomed to placing fine antique carpets beneath the walls hung with abstract modern painting. As they witnessed the precipitous descent or collapse of inflated prices for trendy, contemporary art, these collectors have acquired a new appreciation for the more enduring value and appeal of historic antique decorative arts more generally, and with a strong focus on rugs and carpets.
As a result, quality antique rugs and carpets have suddenly begun to command prices that even the most committed and knowledgeable collectors and dealers could not have anticipated. The gradual recovery of the global art market and the larger world economy has undoubtedly played a role in this process and in creating a great environment for the potential future profits derived from investment rugs.
Potential buyers are no longer quite so reticent to spend and invest, particularly the kind of wealth and celebrity collectors who had always constituted the main clientele for Oriental carpets. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out:
“Henry VIII owned several hundred Turkish rugs. Hans Holbein, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Sigmund Freud, who kept a rug draped over the couch where he conducted his psychoanalytic sessions, were Persian-rug aficionados.”
Still, the rising price base of the rug market is not simply the result of a renewed competition among the former collectors. It represents the involvement of new buyers and even whole institutions that have considerably more resources than the older, traditional rug clientele. In addition, antique rugs have now come to be seen as full-fledged art works like painting and sculpture, no longer simply as artisanal decorative arts. This means that they have become attractive to fine art collectors and that they can command prices comparable to those realized by the works of the great masters. The Wall Street Journal has emphasized that
“Many buyers of modern art like television producer Douglas Cramer, a founder of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, are turning to tribal rugs speckled with jewel-toned, geometric shapes. Chicago real-estate developer Ron Benach, who owns pieces by Willem de Kooning and Gerhard Richter, is also a rug collector.”
There is of course a certain cultural hierarchy that also affects the value of antique rugs. The more rustic tribal nomadic tribal and village rugs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries tend to go for prices from a few thousand dollars up to several hundred thousand. In contrast, the earlier and more refined rugs produced in the court workshops of the Turkish, Persian, or Mughal empires in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have now begun to command prices in the millions.
But antique rugs provide a remarkable window onto the social anthropology of earlier, traditional civilizations. There are also indications that a growing interest in cultural history and folklore has even begun to accelerate the rise of the best tribal and village rugs. Among the latter, Caucasian rugs have always tended to bring a higher price because of their exceptional use of bold design and brilliant color, but competition has recently intensified, as the Journal article also indicated:
In the light of this development, we at Nazmiyal would encourage our clients to consider the remarkable investment opportunity that antique rugs and carpets can still offer, while the escalation in price is still in its early stages.
With the experience of having built a first-rate collection of antique rugs for several decades now, we have a wide spectrum to choose from, all the way from the tribal or village rugs to the Persian workshop masterpieces of the nineteenth century, and earlier classical pieces as well.
The best indication of this is perhaps is the exquisite Sultanabad pictured here. It was acquired from the collection of Sigmund Freud’s London residence. Nazmiyal is pleased to offer its clients the only rug from Freud’s collection that is available for acquisition today.
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