While Floor Coverings International offers a fantastic selection of carpet options to our Vancouver clients, there are some rugs that only the finest appreciators of art and carpet can access. In June of 2013 the art world was dumbstruck at the sale of a 17th century Persian carpet for a staggering 33.7 million dollars. The growing acknowledgment of the importance of woven rugs and tapestries as not only beautiful pieces of décor, but objet d’art in their own right, has led to historic carpets being sold at astronomical prices never before offered for such pieces. Cognizant as we are of the importance of beautiful flooring, we give you a list of some of the most expensive rugs ever sold.
Sold by Christie’s auction house in June, 2008, this 17th century Persian rug pulled in a whopping 4.5 million dollars when it was bought by an anonymous bidder from Long Island. The tobacco heiress Doris Duke acquired the carpet in 1990, and left it to the Newport Restoration Foundation upon her death. Expected to draw in bids of around a million dollars, the final price was quadruple these conservative estimates. The rug had originally been categorized as a Silk Kashan rug, but further investigation revealed it to be an Isfahan from the early 1600’s. Measuring 7 ft. 7 in. by 5ft. 7 in., the carpet is unique in its use of fourteen shades of color, as opposed to the 8-10 shades that are found in most Oriental rugs.
The year after the sale of the Isfahan, the Pearl Carpet of Baroda was sold through Sotheby’s for 5.5 million dollars, also to an anonymous bidder. The stunning rug contains over a million natural Basra seed pearls, and is embossed with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds set in gold. At 5 ft. 8in. by 8 ft. 8 in., it was commissioned in 1865 by the Maharaja of Baroda as a gift for the tomb of Mohammed. While it never reached Medina, it’s safe to say that it is still considered sufficiently precious.
Continuing the rise to prominence of oriental rugs as art, as well as the trend of vastly exceeding cost estimates, this 17th century Kermen sold through Christies for 9.6 million dollars in April 2010, only six months after it was valued at only 900 Euros. From southeast Persia, this carpet set a record price for the sale of rugs, as well as Islamic art.
This final example of floor covering turned priceless art blew all past sales figures out of the water when it pulled in the astounding price of 33.7 million dollars last year. Over 360 years old and measuring 8 ft. 9 in. by 6 ft. 5 in., the carpet was previously owned by an American billionaire industrialist, before it was bequeathed to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1926. The new, and anonymous, owner will not likely be appreciating its wool pile on the floor, as the rug, having been hung for the past century, remains in exceptional condition for a piece of its age.