By now, everyone has heard of the Persian vase carpet which sold at a Sotheby's auction in New York for $34 million a few years ago. Once in a while an antique Oriental rug will come on the market and a bidding war will ensue. To someone who is inexperienced in the rug trade, this may look like the perfect way to make some fast money.
Sadly, the likelihood of stumbling on a million dollar rug (sometimes literally) at a flea market for $5 is next to impossible. There are so many factors to consider when investing in a handmade Oriental rug that, unless you are a dealer and are familiar with rugs, you are taking a bit of a gamble.
The Oriental rug trade can be compared to other types of antique markets, such as paintings or furniture. In order to differentiate a Picasso from a painting made three years ago by a modern artist you will need some experience in the field. Unless you are looking to become a full time rug dealer, you may want to get advice in your spare time from local shops and online forums. There are a variety of resources online for a beginner in the world of Oriental rugs including JessiesRugs.com.
Even though you are probably not going to hit the jackpot on a Persian rug it does not make them bad investments. In fact, most Persian rugs increase in value over time. If you are looking for a Persian rug that will be a good investment you should make sure you know what to look for. Not all rug dealers are out to get you, however there are some who will say anything to get you to buy a rug, especially by suggesting the rug is much older (and more valuable) than it actually is. So, when searching for your first, or even third rug, you should consult with an expert or two to be assured you are getting what you pay for.