Learning about antique rug collectors and what they look for
Rug collectors are a breed apart. While they generally have a virtually professional familiarity with rug types, designs, etc, and well-developed critical judgment in evaluating the quality and origin of rugs, they are motivated by a peculiar sensitivity to the personality of the weaver that resides in all good antique rugs – collecting what may be termed the life of the rug.
Collectors are deeply concerned with the cultural authenticity of rugs and strive for pieces that they judge to posses such authenticity. Most immediately this translates into searching out rugs that predate the process of commercial expansion that took place in the later 19th century, a process which collectors feel led to the production of rugs for western markets, pieces that were therefore inherently less authentic than those made for local consumption.
Some collectors are sticklers for condition, but since they are frequently seeking out older, more authentic pieces, many collectors have learned to place less emphasis on condition if the piece has outstanding artistic merit. Collectors also prize rugs that are unusual and rare, for these too are deemed to reflect a greater cultural authenticity rather than catering to the marketplace.
Some collectors are focused, concentrating on building a representative collection of a specific type or rug. Others have more eclectic taste, focusing purely on quality or rarity.