Okay, everyone who knows me knows that I am the deal maestro. I yard sale and haunt flea markets, thrift shops, and auctions. So I find some amazing deals. This may be one of my best. I was wandering the Flea (that's what the regulars call the Raleigh Flea Market) on Saturday when I saw a dealer with two rugs lying on the ground rolled up wrong side out.
As soon as I saw one of them, I knew what it was. A hand-knotted Oriental. When I asked the price, and the seller replied, "ten dollars", I didn't even roll it out and look at the right side of the rug. I immediately bought it, basically sight unseen. At that price, I could deal with any damage, frayed edges, or holes. And here it is. Or most of it; it's so long it wouldn't fit in one photo.
This is the center medallion. I believe it's a newer rug because of the numbers or letters set in the design of the medallion. I'm not sure if they say '555' or 'SSS' or '222'.
Here's a look at the corner designs.I love all the borders.
And the tag that the seller either completely missed or knew nothing about. Probably the latter. I have ceased to be surprised by folks selling things that they must not have even Googled. And so they have no idea of the value.
My other two great Oriental rug deals:
1. a small antique rug that was quite worn but with a fairly high thread count that I bought way out in the country. I asked the price, and the seller just replied "two". At first I wasn't sure if he meant two hundred or two dollars. So I handed him two dollars, and he said 'thank you'.
2. Kind of the opposite extreme: someone in a high end Cary neighborhood was remodeling and selling a newer room size hand-knotted Oriental. I saw the ad on Craigslist and snapped it up for $75. It's about 11 x 15 and looks great in my dining room.
TIP: Room size Oriental rugs often sell for a steal at auctions, Room size means a fairly large rug like mine that is close to a 11 x 15. I've seen a number of them go in the $200 to $300 range. Of course this won't happen in a high end antique auction house selling antique rugs. But in a regular urban auction - oh, yeah. A lot of people can't use a rug that large. And those who live in the really large houses want to buy new rugs.
TIP: if an Oriental rug is exactly 4 x 6, 5 x 8, 10 x 12, or any of the standard American rug sizes, then it isn't a true hand-knotted Oriental. Because their sizes aren't the same as American sizes.
PS: I know that some collectors insist that the correct name is Persian carpet instead of Oriental rug. But I think more folks recognize the name Oriental rug. And Persian carpet makes me think of the flying carpet in the Disney movie Aladdin. Which just makes me feel silly.