Rugs as Investments
Are persian or other oriental rugs investments?
There is not a simple answer to this question.
Many rugs have historically appreciated in value, some greatly.
However, this is no absolute. In the 1950s and 1960s Persian Kermans were all the rage in the United States. They were well made hand-knotted rugs often featuring ivory fields with floral, pastel motifs. Unfortunately, today most have little value. The designs and colors simply aren’t considered terribly attractive. So, they don’t sell. The value of rugs is closely linked to (if not determined by) whether they are desired by rug purchasers. Conversely, other rugs from the same time period (Persian and otherwise) have appreciated greatly.
The trick to purchasing rugs as an investment is knowing which ones will be desirable in the future.
This requires a bit of a crystal ball to determine. That being said I’ll try to present some things to consider. One consideration is whether a rug is very trendy. A striped rug in today’s hot colors may not be not be very desirable in the future when the colors are perceived as being dated. This isn’t to say you should only buy rugs in reds and blues, just that you might want to avoid a tangerine colored rug just because the color is “hot”.
A cheap, poor quality rug isn’t likely to appreciate–ever.
Insist on quality. A machine made or hand-tufted will never appreciate. Insist on a true hand-knotted oriental rug. The uniqueness of a rug is a factor. I predict many of today’s Persian tribal rugs will appreciate. The best ones are woven of hand-spun wool that has been naturally dyed. I like some of the fine pieces woven by the Quashqai tribe in particular. As tribes continue to settle and integrate into modern society this production is certain to disappear. Purchasing “the best of the best” of any kind of rug is a good assurance that the rug is likely to appreciate.
Don’t expect a rug to appreciate overnight.
I spoke to someone recently who had purchased a rug from a dealer with the promise that it would double in value in 10 years time and they’d be happy to buy it back. When she went to sell it back to them they wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I expect my personal rugs to have appreciated quite a bit by the time my daughter is in her 50s or 60s. She’s ten now. Keep in mind that condition will also be an important factor. Quality hand-knotted rugs are virtually indestructible. However, if you take no care of your rug (never have it cleaned, allow it to be covered with urine stains, etc.) this will affect the value.
By and large I prefer to sell rugs as decorative art, not investments. Yes, I’d be happy to provide my expertise as to which rugs will be beautiful, durable pieces and which ones will also likely appreciate. But, I wouldn’t advise you to purchase them as an investment for retirement.