Persian Carpet Sells for World Record Over $30m – Unique Floor Art a valuable investment

Persian Carpet Sotheby's sale NYC

IMAGE courtesy of Sotheby’s

A Persian carpet with a Sickle-Leaf, vine scroll and palmette design from the first half of the 17th century made history when a buyer paid a record $33,765,000 on the hammer at a Sotheby’s auction held on June 5th in New York.

The carpet was thought to sell for 10-15 million dollars. Prior to the sale on June 5th the global record for a rug sale came from a blue leaf-patterned, 17th-century rug from southeast Persia that was sold at Christie’s in London in 2010 for $9.6 million.

The rare 8’9” by 6’5” carpet that is believed to be from Kirman, Southeast Persia and the embodiment of the “vase” technique was a piece from the William A. Clark collection. The billionaire industrialist and U.S. senator, William Clark originally bought the carpet for his Fifth Avenue mansion. Clark donated over 200 works of fine art and rugs to the Corcoran Gallery through his bequest following his death in 1925.

Previously held for decades by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the rare and beautiful carpet was one of 25 rugs and carpets that were sold at auction to generate funds so the Corcoran could purchase new works of American and contemporary art including photography and design. The Persian rug is well-recognized by enthusiasts and collectors alike through Oriental rug literature and many of these precious carpets rarely come to market being held in museum collections.

It is not uncommon for Museums to sell works that have been donated if they no longer match the culture of the establishment. Although due to policy the funds generated from the sale are not able to be allocated for administration and other running costs the $30+ million will go a long way in acquiring more contemporary and suitable works for Corcoran.

The winning bid made by an anonymous bidder who apparently participated by phone for ownership of the exceptional Persian carpet is an indication of the booming classical carpet market.  Collectors in the Middle East and Asia are purchasing historical oriental carpets from the 16th and 17th centuries with eagerness and the recent sale could be a sign that the financial tide has certainly turned at least when it comes to antiquities and fine arts.

As for where the rug will find a new home that is anyone’s guess with Sotheby’s never talk policy and the Corcoran claiming they don’t know the identity of the buyer, the rug could find its new residence anywhere from Europe to one of the Persian Gulf countries.  Islamic art museums are showing a trend in purchasing carpets from the golden age of carpet weaving with a desire to return them to their homeland.


Speak Your Mind