Looking for Antique Rugs through the Eyes of a Collector
Guide to Collecting Antique Rugs – Collectors are a special breed of antique carpet enthusiast. While they are motivated fundamentally by a “passion for rugs” and the world that produces them, their interest tends to be inordinately intense, knowledgeable, and idiosyncratic. There is no telling what particular set of concerns and objectives will motivate an individual collector, but every collector has such a unique motivation along with a huge store of knowledge accumulated over the years.
Collectors literally see rugs differently from other people. They look at rugs creatively, through the lens of knowledge, in a way that allows them to see past problems of condition or damage in order to appreciate the artistic worth of a great piece. At times they are not motivated by the immediate impression that the rug may make, but rather by its uniqueness or its historical importance. In the latter regard, collectors depart substantially from the great majority of rug buyers and enthusiasts.
View our entire Antique Rugs Collector’s Guide below, with links to useful information about rug age, rug restoration, and more.
1. What is Desirable to Collectors?
Given the highly particular and personal nature of rug collecting, it is difficult to characterize what collectors strive for in general terms. Nevertheless, there are certain goals or motives that many collectors seem to share. Whatever type of rug they may specialize in, collectors tend to strive for works that are “culturally authentic.” [Read More Here: What is Desirable to Collectors?]
2. Antique Rug Designs
When it comes to artisanal rugs and carpets, there are few things more important than the rug design. After all, the design of a rug or a carpet is what makes it distinct, what makes it unique. Just as individual taste varies incredibly from person to person, so to does the design of a carpet cary from piece to piece. [Read More Here: Antique Rug Designs]
3. Antique Rug Drawing
While you might be surprised to learn that “drawing” is an extremely important facet of rug design, collectors and aficionados of antique rugs have long considered the drawing of a piece to be a crucial component in its overall quality. Just as it does in other art forms, the term “drawing,” when applied to rugs and other weaves, refers to the particular rendering of form and line. [Read More Here: Rug Drawing]
4. The Importance of Dyes and Colors
Rug collectors obsess endlessly over color and the dyes used to achieve them in antique rug weaving. The introduction of synthetic dyes between about 1860 and 1880 marks a kind of cutoff point between what is generally collectible and what is not. Even small amounts of synthetic dye will put some collectors off from buying a rug for fear of the reaction the piece will provoke. [Read More Here: Rug Dyes and Colors]
5. Antique Rug Weaves and Their Structure
One of the most important aspects of a rug is its weave. Collectors pay considerable attention to how a given rug is woven since this is among the better indicators of where the piece was originally made, its quality, and, some times, its age. Knot types, warp-depression, and wefting are important indicators of the various groupings whose identification so preoccupies and fascinates collectors. The rug weave is among the most important characteristics of a rug. [Read More Here: Rug Weave and Structure]
6. Rug Age – How Old is a Collectible Antique Rug?
There are many factors that go into determine the collectibility of a particular antique rug or vintage carpet. Naturally, the age of the piece in question is an important piece of information to consider. Strictly speaking, the need for a rug to be old depends on what one seeks to collect. Collectors generally want rugs that are antique, at least one hundred years old. [Read More Here: Rug Age]
7. Rug Rarity – To a True Antique Rug Collector
The rarity increases the value and interest in any antique, and this is certainly true in the case of rugs. Collectors prize what is rare and unusual and should be willing to compete for it if they value it. Rarity is a function of production and age. Some types of rug were made in limited quantities, which account for a few of them being preserved. [Read More Here: Rug Rarity]
8. The Importance of the Condition of Antique Rugs
At times these various qualities of condition, age, and rarity affect one another mutually, and collectors must decide which of them they are willing prize at the expense of the other. One may demand excellent condition for rugs a century or so old, but as one moves in older pieces, good condition becomes increasingly rare. [Read More Here: Condition, Age, and Rarity]
9. Imperfections in Antique Rugs Could be Intentional
One of the the more subjective aspects of judging a rug have to do with assessing its quality and its imperfections. When quality is assessed on the basis of the wool, dyes, and weaving technique, it is a fairly objective process. When the issue turns to drawing style, it becomes more of an issue of taste. [Read More Here: Rug Imperfections and Authenticity]
10. Focusing on Collecting Selective Antique Rug Styles
Anyone seeking to become a serious collector needs to find a focus, or at least a set of boundaries that will govern the range or nature of the collection. One approach is to focus on antique rugs from a particular region, say Turkish rugs, or Caucasian rugs, or Turkoman rugs. Within such an approach it is even possible to settle on sub-groupings. [Read More Here: Specialized vs Eclectic Rug Collecting]
11. Should You Collect Classic Antique Rugs or Unusual Rugs?
Because of the wide variety and ancient history of antique carpets, there are a myriad of factors that one needs to consider when determining whether a carpet may be classified as a classic. In addition to establishing general parameters for acquisition, collectors must also decide whether they wish their rugs to be a representative selection of classic, well-known types, or something entirely different and unusual. [Read More Here: Collecting Classic Examples vs. Unusual Rugs]
12. Collecting Trendy Antique Rugs or Setting the Trend
Rug collectors do not operate in a vacuum. They function within a larger community of collectors with whom they share their passions and against whom they compete on one level or another. Within such a community it is always possible to discern trends, largely though tracking rug auctions and dealer sales. [Read More Here: Rug Trends]
13. The Effect of Antique Rug Restoration in Rug Collecting
Restoration of worn and damaged rugs is widely practiced in the old and antique rug market. High quality restoration is not immediately detectable, and often it is can only be detected on the reverse of the rug to a well trained eye. There can be no doubt that the average buyer and user of antique rugs desires pieces that appear complete. [Read More Here: Rug Restoration]
14. Antique Rugs for Investment
As a finite commodity antique rugs have an intrinsic value which generally appreciates over time. While financial investment or value may not be a primary motivation for rug collecting, it does become an issue in various ways. Collector trends or demands can have a direct effect on the value of a rug. Rugs in high demand will have commensurately higher prices, so following collector trends can be costly. There are many ways to approach antique rugs as investments. [Read More Here: Rug Collecting and Investment]