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Robert Rants on Rugs

All excerpts are compilations taken from postings submitted by a Rug Rag affiliate (Robert), most all have been taken out of context.  The following content provided by Robert do not necessarily reflect the opinion or sentiments of rugrag.com, however some excerpts do hold water:

On an ebay mashad rug:

Ok, first I am going to say something I hope does not offense anyone. These kashmar rug first of all is not at all an antique. This carpet is no more than 60 years old, and the term antique is defined by US custom laws specifically for an oriental rug to be of 100 years and older. If you see a seller throwing around the word antique for anything less than 80 years old, you know he probably has no clout. This kashmar rug probably originated from one of many ebay sellers who import them from Iran used. Although you could be getting a good deal even at 2000 in mint, untouched condition (as though it were just cut from the loom). This rug does show classic signs of wear such as blooming of the pile. You can assess wear yourself, but it takes a pro to do it thoroghly. Always carefully consider condition on an older rug, uneven wear or exposure to the foundation is a very bad thing. A lot of seller of these lower end goods literally marker the pile to avoid costly repairs where foundation shows. All this should be very, very carefully considered in the purchase. I entirely support your desire to buy the rug, but I would encourage you to take some detail photographs of the reverse side, and detail of the pile and knot count, and submit it to the pros. If you truly love the rug, you won't need to be told what is and is not the value. The value will be willing to pay - but an honest seller should not exploit this. This other red rug someone posted from their living room is another classic example from ebay which looks great, although often colors run in this carpets when washed, and wear shows fairly quickly. this is often called a "mashad."

Value and condition are hand in hand. Keep this in mind when purchasing. If you have any and all questions I belong to a forum you can come to and ask questions. we talk specifically about authentication of ebay items, craigslist rugs and other. Just be sure to bring high resolution photographs for posting

On Different Types of Sellers: 

in response to : "What do you think of these small business people that advertise rugs for sale on Craigslist and say they are a "home based business" selling rugs out of a garage or warehouse for a fraction of the prices at the department stores?" I have to tell you, competition is competition. I don't have a problem with Macy's per se. What I do have a problem with is their advertising techniques. Concerning craiglist people selling from their garages... I know these types of goods, most of them are made in Iran, heavily used in Iran, either tea washed (sometimes to hide wear) and sometimes painted / or cleaned in Iran, then imported to the US. Often these rugs are in dire need of repair or more appropriately should be put to rest as its days are long gone. When you see a markered carpet this should be a red flag. there's nothing wrong with purchasing a used carpet, but a rug of which a repair is not warranted will often be augmented by these deceiving practices. My personal feeling is this: whether or not garage sellers import the goods themselves from overseas, or acquire them from ebay sellers is none of my business. What is my ongoing concern is whether or not these carpets are being properly represented. For example, a rug should not be called veggie dyed if it is less than 85% vegetable dye. A carpet should not be called Persian unless it was produced pre-1930s. Furthermore, an antique should not be called this unless it complies with what was a long standing US customs import export definition (exclusively for oriental rugs) unless it is of 100+ years of age (I can forgive 80+ years). I have to be honest, I completely understand macy's angle of attack with their suggested retail prices. BUT I do not agree with it, and this is not an advertising technique I would ever consider. It gives honest sellers a tough time because everyone thinks all rug sellers do this as the guy above said. While I do not encourage people to convince themselves they are getting a find from the craigslist garage seller, I completely understand the desire and need for an inexpensive "Persian Design" hand knotted carpet. We all love hand woven carpets, but if you have kids and a dog, you don't want that $5000 rug to be messed with. In some ways, you have to pat these garage sellers on the back - you know if they purchase off ebay, they're getting burned just as easily as the next guy once in a while. But keep in mind, for every rug they got burned on, the price gets incorporated into the one which passed.... Also, for these types of rugs, many of them are carpets which would NEVER be seen in a retail store, I don't care where you go. These are internet rugs: they show great on your monitor, and okay in person. Once you're there, what do you have to compare it to? What these sellers sell these carpets for ARE what you would consider a retail price as they ARE the retail outlet - even if it is from their basement. I only hope these sellers are not misguiding their consumers as I have seen many of them do. I also wish them good luck in sales, as everyone needs food on their plate... I just think these age exaggerations and misnomers of carpets is very confusing even as a rugman myself let alone to the buyer.

On Advertising Techniques:

There is an element of deception involved: a certain amount of implication among novice buyers that an Iranian rug is more valuable than others. I simply do not respect sellers that exploit this misconception. The fact of the matter is, people need gratification - they want to feel the carpet they purchased is special. But where is the virtue in intentional price inflation, or advertisments exploiting common misconceptions on behalf of new buyers?  

 

 

What I was getting at before was the unspoken clout Persian rugs have. Actually when I was making the distinguishing remark between Persian and Iranian, I was not necessarily pointing out differences in quality… although from the 1950’s going forward to the 70’s, quality control, at least from the US importers standpoint, became very difficult. The point I was trying to make was more towards the distinguishing of what is a Persian rug, and what is an Iranian rug. Call it semantics, but Persia became Iran in the mid 1930s. Therefore, a TRUE Persian rug must be one produced prior to this point in time. Let me say this in comparison of older Indian and Pakistan carpets. Many of the most well known and attributed carpets which reside in museums are of Persian origin. However, there are extremely notable weavings which have originated from India, China and other countries of production. In fact, there are many, many Indian carpets from the late 19th century which are, knot for knot, significantly more valuable than their Persian counterpart. Some Indian designs were even adapted by Persian weavers and vise versa. Now the point you bring up in regards to older rugs being of finer grade to some extent. This is neither true or false. One could suggest the commercialization of the Oriental Rug Industry truly took off in the 1920s. At this point in time, we see a higher demand, and AMERICANS dictating the designs and coloring th

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