The Ultimate Rug and Carpet Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by mafoofan, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Big A

    Big A Senior member

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    I'm not sure what it's worth, but the vintage has value over the new, because even traditional handmade items in Morocco are currently made with Chinese material. How do I know this? Because I know a guy who imports wool and leather, one container at a time, into Morocco. Apparently, due to increased tourist traffic, the traditional craftspeople can't get enough material to manufacture enough "traditional" goods. Thus, the leather bag you get in Fes has about a 50% chance of being made from leather imported by my friend as it does of being made from leather tanned in the pits near the medina. Same goes for rugs.

    The leather in China is actually produced in the exact same way as the leather in Fes, under the supervision of a Moroccan leather tanner. The wool comes from the same variety of goat or sheep or whatever. But if it's authenticity you seek, you can only be certain you are getting what you paid for if you buy older stuff.

    Just guessing I'd say $3k in New York, but I might be way off.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013


  2. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    Your question is impossible to answer. Well, it can be answered, but that answer is likely a very large range. Rug dealers will sell a rug for as much as the buyer is willing to pay. That amount will vary by countless factors, as meaningful as the savvyness of the buyer and as seemingly meaningless as the time of day. The same rug may cost a buyer in a Moroccan souk one price, a buyer in a London shop another, and a buyer over the internet another. Prices for something like that type of rug are fickle, so it's not a particularly useful task to try to figure out a number or even a small range.

    It's not difficult to figure out what the list on your rug was with some basic internet sleuthing. Assuming you did a little negotiating, I'm guessing you got a reasonable deal from my limited knowledge of these things. It's a small enough market, that it would be pretty tough to find a comparable rug without really putting in a lot of effort going to stores or visiting Morocco. I'm sure there are comparable ones somewhere for cheaper than you paid, but it probably just wouldn't be that easy to find.

    Enjoy your rug. Its main value will be in the happiness you get from using it in your home. You can't really measure that, but I'm sure the price you paid is worth it.
     


  3. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    You need to wait for it to arrive, then smell it and inspect it carefully for signs of wear. You can photograph it and post photos here if you think it will help, although I think you'll be able to tell in person better than I could via photos. It should be patently visible to you whether it's really 30-years-old or not, 100% un-dyed wool, &c. However, as I said before, that will not prove that it was actually woven for or used by Beni people in the traditional manner.

    You should also to ask via email your dealer, and perhaps ask any other dealers you can find, what exactly the typology of your rug symbolises. The dealers to whom I spoke about a year ago reckoned that a generic crosshatch design is unlikely to have been woven for real Beni use, because it lacks the kind of unique typology that would be important to a tribal family.

    But I presume that it is only the authentic craft that is important to you, and "realistic" typology, rather than a real, used blanket -- so that shouldn't matter to you.

    I collected this knowledge from dealers in London over many months, so I would appreciate if you stopped brushing off the info I've deigned to provide as if I were an idiot!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013


  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Now, that was a useful, informative post. I think the key issue then turns on whether a rug is as old as advertised. It seems it would be extremely difficult to tell for sure, if not impossible.


    The same can be said about buying virtually anything. I think I made it clear I am aware of all these variables. It doesn't mean you cannot speak to them. If someone is familiar with the market for Beni Ourain, I'm sure it would be easy enough to provide some pricing guidance in light of the factors you mention.


    The pricing of these things is all over the map. It is hard to tell why one rug is priced one way versus another, as descriptions tend to be qualitative as opposed to quantitative. The only thing I can really say is that vintage consistenly costs more than new.


    I cannot tell from the way it smells. Actually, it doesn't smell at all. But, from my understanding, it was cleaned and washed before shipping, so I would not expect much of any smell.

    You are going on and on about the same point: whether the Beni Ourain actually made this rug. I have conceded over and over again that one can never really know. However, the same can be said of ANY rug claiming to be Beni Ourain. That's why I framed the question thusly: assuming everything advertised about the rug is true, how would you think about the value? Really, it cannot be that much harder to go at the question directly rather than repeatedly bash your head against the assumptions underlying it (which are readily admitted to be assumptions).


    From my own research, this is not true. Yes, often you will find all sorts of archaic symbols and the patterns will not be very regular. However, there are some extremely old rugs (50-100 years) that I've seen which have similarly regular diamond patterns without any other symbols.


    Yes and no. I care whether the craft is authentic (a Beni Ourain rug made by the Beni Ourain). I don't care so much whether it was made for private use or specifically to be sold. However, I do care if the symbols used are nonsensical or inserted merely to make the rug appear more authentic.
     


  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Knots per square inch: ~100 (about 10 knots an inch)
    Pile length: ~3 inches

    [​IMG]

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  6. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    It's my understanding that traditional/vintage Beni Ourain rugs generally do not have borders and almost always have imprecise, asymmetric, abstract patterns. Your pictures show a border that looks contemporary. On most vintage Beni Ourain rugs, if there is a border, it is usually not very clean and exact, like yours is. Your rug also has almost perfectly symmetrical patterns, which would be unusual for an authentic vintage Beni Ourain. It also lacks some of the additional smaller symbols, which are commonly found inside the grid patterns of vintage Beni Ourain rugs.

    This is a more typical example of a vintage Beni Ourain:

    [​IMG]

    There is not a real defined border. The pattern is asymmetric, and there are additionals symbols within the criss-cross pattern. It's not that different from yours, but you can see the differences I mentioned. If I had to guess, I would imagine your rug is not that vintage. Frankly, I like the way your rug looks better, but it does not fit the description of traditional/vintage Beni Ourain rugs.


    I don't have any reason to doubt that your rug was made by the Beni Ourain; although, it does appear to be contemporary and made for sale, which you did say that you don't mind. I don't think the symbols are nonsensical or inserted to look more authentic. In fact, I think almost the opposite. I think the symbols are reminscent of Beni Ourain symbols, but they were made to look less authentic. They look too precise, which is probably more appealing to western sensibilities, but not necessarily to the Beni Ourain.
     


  7. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    I am by no means an expert in Beni Ourain carpets. My interest is more in the "Persian" variety. Having said that, most of the allegedly authentic Beni Ourain carpets I have seen do tend to look like they were made by eight-year-olds at summer camp. These close-ups, especially of the back, do look suspiciously "clean".

    But since the internet carpet dealer said it was an authentic 30-year-old carpet full of mystical Beni Ourain symbolism and made for use in the home by a virgin, I am sure it is OK. I mean who are you going to believe? Some stranger on the internet or a guy who sells carpets on-line?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013


  8. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    It does look a bit suspiciously "clean" as Bounder says, but it looks bloody beautiful at the same time. I don't know if the thing about generic, symmetrical designs being slightly inauthentic is true or not -- it is what a couple of dealers told me but they may have been bullshitting to try and convey the impression of expertise. I would be grateful if you (Matt) could link me to pictures of 100-year-old examples, so I can take a look myself. In any case, I agree with zbromer in that I think the design you chose looks very good, and I'd be pleased with it.


    I was also going to make a kind of Postcolonial point, but I can't really be bothered.
     


  9. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    gold star
     


  10. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    btw I'm not sure if it's different for Benihanas or whatever but since you're throwing around a lot of money I would probably invest in a proper rug pad and not that Home Goods special in the photos. I know that more padding is antithetical to everything that you stand for but if there's anything that rug dealers and internet strangers can agree on it's that a proper pad protects rug and floor.

    I've had good luck with http://www.rugpadcorner.com.
     


  11. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    You originally asked, "how would you value it?" I'd value it a few ways.

    First, its "value," as in how much can you sell it for, is most likely no more than $500, and probably a bit less. Nobody is going to pay you what you paid for it. That's not a knock on you or your rug. It's that you're not a Moroccan rug dealer and won't be able to convince someone that it's authentic. For all they know, you have a used version of the $600 Pottery Barn rug. There's not exactly a big market for authentic Beni Ourains on Craigs List. If you tried to sell it to a dealer, it's highly doubtful he will give you what you paid. So, its financial worth to you is almost certainly lower than what you paid. It's not impossible that you could sell it for more, just unlikely.

    However, that doesn't mean you didn't get a good deal. There's a relatively small market for these things. You wouldn't buy this rug for $500 from some randon dude who bought one three years ago and is now reselling on ebay. The random dude part doesn't help with authenticating the rug. That's exactly why you won't be able to resell it for that much yourself. You have to pay that premium to a dealer to get some assurances of authenticity.

    Under the right circumstances, I bet a dealer could sell it for up to $3,000 or $4,000. It would have to be a reputable store with a convincing salesman in a major city with a good market for Moroccan rugs and an uninformed buyer, who doesn't know how to bargain, is not overly concerned with getting the best deal, and just wants the rug because it looks nice. It probably wouldn't hurt if it was an interior decorator with a huge budget and an oblivious client. He may have no real incentive to bargain.

    I bet another dealer would sell it for under $1,000, if the buyer had done his homework and it was an online dealer who hadn't sold a rug in some time and was having a difficult time convincing other potential buyers of the authenticity of this rug.

    The exact same rug, but valued at less than $500, around $1,000 (give or take a hundred), and up to $4,000. I just don't know how else to answer how I would value that rug other than to give you a massive range with several examples.

    At the end of the day, I think you paid a reasonable price for a good looking rug that appears to be well-made from natural materials and will go well with your furniture. The "value" for you is going to be the pleasure you get from using it ... and remembering this thread each time you curl your toes in that lush, Moroccan pile.
     


  12. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    oops, double post.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013


  13. ChetB

    ChetB Senior member

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  14. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    1. Nice carpet
    2. The concept of "market price" doesn't really exist when you have insufficient liquidity/transaction volume/transparency/standardlization

    I think your frustration is you asked everyone for "market price" and everyone tells you what they think the price ought to be, had it been an open bid, that would have been the "market price" for you. Anyway the fact you just bought it means you probably establish one side the price, you can be sure the same dealer will not charge the next guy from NYC less than what he just charged you, at least he wouldn't go down on it initially.
     


  15. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    That is hilarious. Is that really the same one?

    I have resisted doing any actual research -- i.e. googling "Beni Ourain" -- but I finally broke down. Foo's carpet is available on Etsy.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/1535142...et-beni-ouarain?ref=sr_gallery_28&ga_includes[0]=tags&ga_search_query=beni+ourain&ga_search_type=vintage&ga_view_type=gallery

    Using this as a comparator and adjusting for size, a fair price for the one he bought is about $1000 USD, including the story . . . before haggling.

    There will now follow several posts -- probably several pages -- wherein Foo explains in point-by-point detail how this is not his carpet, how it can in no way be used as any sort of comparator and how his carpet is obviously superior etc., etc.
     


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