Silk Kashan Rug, ca. 1920

Value (2011) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I assume it was my grandparents' and they must have, perhaps, bought it in Europe, I'm not sure, back in the '20s.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
My mother, I'm sure, inherited it and I don't ever remember it being displayed, being rolled out. My grandparents had a lot of rugs similar to this that they had displayed in their house, but I don't recall this one. And then when we inherited it, we have dogs, so we didn't put it out then, either.

APPRAISER:
Right, that's a good choice.

GUEST:
We enjoy it very, very much, and my wife took it to a rug dealer in the area where we live and had it appraised, and the appraiser there said it was worth, and offered her, $3,000 for it.

APPRAISER:
Did he tell you what type of rug it was, or anything more about it?

GUEST:
No, as I remember, my wife didn't say that.

APPRAISER:
It's a silk Kashan rug from the city of Kashan, which is located in central Iran today, but it was central Persia at the time this rug would have been made. This rug dates from about 1918 to 1920, 22...

GUEST:
So the timing is about right.

APPRAISER:
The timing is dead on. It's the sort of rug that was very popular with American collectors and European collectors at the time.

GUEST:
Where could it have been... Could it have been purchased in this country?

APPRAISER:
It probably was purchased in this country. They were buying these in room sizes, small sizes like this. Most of the production was wool. This is knotted with a silk pile, which is why it's so shiny. And fortunately, none of your relatives, including yourself, ever used it, because silk on the floor does wear out and tends to get dry, brittle and fall apart. Never really having it on display, it's basically in off-loom condition.

GUEST:
So it shows no wear at all.

APPRAISER:
Shows no wear whatsoever. In fact, it is in incredibly full luxurious pile, which you normally don't see in silks, but it creates this wonderful effect of where it's not crisp clean lines, it's more of a diffusion, really adds another element, a three-dimensional element to the piece, that helps separate it from most silk Kashans made about 1920. The one thing I really want to point out, we have to look at the back of the rug to get the good comparison, but it is outrageously finely knotted. I haven't counted it, but I would imagine there are about 600 to 800 knots per square inch in this rug, that's how fine it is. And when you look at the back versus the front, you can really see how well delineated the pattern and the design is and see the quality. And when you see the back, it's really spectacular, as spectacular as the face, which is the hallmark, often, of a very good rug of this type. So you said when you had it appraised, they offered you $3,000.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Well, how long ago was that?

GUEST:
Uh, probably about three or four or five years ago.

APPRAISER:
Wow, okay, so not so long ago. The market for something like this has really grown and kind of taken off. I would say if this was to come up at auction today, the estimate would be $15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow!

APPRAISER:
And it would probably be conservative.

GUEST:
Wow!

APPRAISER:
It could easily sell for more than that.

GUEST:
That's incredible.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Beauvais Carpets
New York, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Rug
Material
Silk

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