What Makes a Rug or Carpet Collectible?
Major factors contributing to the value and desirability of hand knotted rugs in no specific order include: Origin, type, age, design, colors, wool and weave grade, condition / originality, rarity / uniqueness, historic importance / provenance, size (at times) and overall aesthetic. Collectors are not necessarily limited by this criterion, and no one single factor is a function of value. Often, at least few of these elements need to align to be of collector interest. Authenticity, for example, may be established with verification of the first three items of origin, type, age, and indirectly perhaps design as well.
Collectors typically seek rugs that meet many positive factors or rugs that are exceptional in a few. Collectors often focus on one or several groups and types of rugs. Generally the result of a discriminating collector means they purchase authentic rugs with excellent harmonious colors and design, rugs that exhibit solid craftsmanship relative to the type, are as close to original condition as possible free of repairs with each end and sides intact as woven, manageable sizes, and examples demonstrating individual character with unique artistic merit.
It is well understood there are a finite amount of antique and collectible rugs that exist today. In an extreme case, a buyer may forgo emphasis on one aspect in favor of another. For example, condition and originality is generally a crucial aspect in rug collecting: A cut fragment of a carpet may be deemed poor condition as it remains representative of a larger carpet no longer in full splendor. However, if this fragment exhibits a unique evolution in design, and perhaps may be established through research as an important connecting piece between major weaving types / dates, concerns over condition may diminish significantly. In such instance, rarity and other factors may prevail over other criteria.