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eBay Rug Was Once Sotheby's Auction


We came across this Antique Hadji Jalili Tabriz on ebay and it bore a striking resemblance to a rug we had seen in a Sotheby's auction a few years ago (Auction Date: Session 2: Thu, 13 Dec 07 2:00 PM, Lot 276, New York). We are fairly confident this is the same rug, but check them both out and you decide. Both listings say the rug is 14'8"x23'6" and describe it as a Persian tabriz over 100 years old. The thing that caught our eye most about this rug is that it sold for $43,000 with Buyer's Premium at Sotheby's just two years ago, and now the rug is listed on eBay for $399,500! Quite a big jump in price for just a few years.



Sotheby's Rug
 eBay Rug

We talk a lot about market values here on Rug Rag.  The important thing to remember, is although the asking price seems high for this piece, this is a unique carpet and it does have a best offer listed as well.  Although the carpet was purchased at auction for a fraction of the price currently listed, there's no telling how long the seller will have carrying costs on the rug.  No matter which way you slice the pie, $43,000 is a tremendous amount of money to have tied up in a carpet destined for resale.  It's a unique size, which is not particularly conducive to quick turnover.  Was it a bargain at $43k?  Provided it's in excellent, original condition, why not!?!?

When it comes to auction pieces in high profile houses, you're inevitably talking about every price spectrum in existence.  Certain rugs will command the highest of premiums, seemingly exceeding that which would even be considered 'insurance/replacement values.'  Take for example the sky blue Ziegler Mahal sold in 2008.  This particular piece has very high decorative appeal, however, all else in consideration, there's no question the piece will need thousands of dollars invested to make it serve proper utility once again.  Whether or not it may be resold for the initial investment + cost to repair has yet to be determined.  This is one of the highest prices for a Mahal we have seen to date.

As opposed to the exceptionally high hammer price of last year's Ziegler, there are buys to be had at auction houses.  In many regards, the antique oriental rug market is extremely volatile.  Rugs which otherwise may have little exposure may receive a tremendous amount of appeal by designers and/or collectors.  Conversely, carpets which are exceptionally burdensome to acquire (especially oversized pieces) may fall seriously short of their mark.  In the instance with the featured Tabriz, this is certainly a carpet which, all else equal, may be considered a 'bought low' price.  As to what the value of such a carpet may be?  We haven't seen it in person, however, to the individual with exceptional taste, large area to cover and appreciation for the type of rug this is, it could be priceless.  Undoubtedly, the seller who acquired this for resale on eBay saw high potential.  It's not unfathomable that a Tabriz of this genre in excellent condition could fetch as high as $800 + per sq. foot.  This would more than likely be for a Tabriz of this type in ideal, unique colors, size, etc.  However, for this particular carpet, the size, colors, investment, and general decorative appeal may be isolated to a select few, placing heavy pressure on a high asking price. 

 Sotheby's Rug  eBay Rug

 Sotheby's Rug
 eBay Rug

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