Herat Antique Oriental Rugs

The Internet Auction: Gold Mine or Fool’s Gold

Purchasing a rug at an internet auction, good thing or bad thing. When you think about it, it really is a DUMB way to get a rug. Why?

Because it is impossible to make an informed buying decision without seeing the rug. This is true whether you’re an experienced dealer or collector. Or, someone new to collecting.

Why is it important to see the thing before getting into the bidding war with your money on the line. Let’s start with the obvious. Without seeing the rug:

  1. how can you judge the quality of the wool?
  2. how can you determine whether the wool is soft or brittle?
  3. how can you determine whether the pile is full or not?
  4. how can you determine if there are repairs or restoration?
  5. how can you determine the extent of repairs or restoration?
  6. how can you determine the quality of the repairs or restoration?
  7. how can you judge the quality of the dyes?
  8. have the dyes developed a patina consistent with the represented age of the rug?
  9. do any of the dyes appear harsh or garish?
  10. are there any dye runs or fugitive dyes?
  11. how accurately does the computer reproduce the actual appearance of the rug?

Even if we assume everyone involved in the process is honest and truthful, much of what goes into a buying decision is very personal, very subjective. Do you like the way the thing looks? That can only be determine by seeing what it is you’re buying.

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