Oriental Rug Appraisal: What to Expect
People seek rug appraisals for a variety of reasons, and those reasons could actually affect the appraisal of the rug. Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery, discusses how he appraises Oriental rugs and what to expect from the process. Listen or read more to find out about Oriental rug appraisal.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher, and I’m here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hey, John.
John: Sam, today we’re talking about Oriental rug appraisals and what to expect. What does it mean to have an Oriental rug appraised?
Sam: Again, an appraisal is just one man’s opinion of what the value of that rug will be. There are what I call several kinds of appraisal.
I always ask people, they all say, “Well.” I will say, “What kind of appraisal do you want?” They all say, “Well, what are my choices?” and I will say, “Well, there … are you selling your rug to one of the family members?” “Is it something [where] you’re settling the estate?” “Is this something that you want a replacement value if you had a loss, fire, damaged, stolen … would want a new rug to replace it with?”
Because how I would price something for say, a family member, will be different than something for an insurance company and make sure you have enough ‘fat’ in there in order get a really good rug to replace it with as well.
Oriental Rug Appraisal Process
John: Right. That makes sense. Can you walk me through the process of a rug appraisal and how that works?
Sam: Yes. It’s really pretty simple. You just … for us it’s either do you bring the rug in or do we come out? There’s definitely a charge for going out, about double what [it] would be if you brought it in the store. There’s a savings there, if it’s something you can bring in yourself and if you can handle it.
If not, we’ll come out and do it for you. Basically, it’s always helpful if you can see the rug fully spread out. In some cases, they’re rolled up. It’s not a great situation to see them at. It’s really hard to see them. If you can get them out, get them into the light and really get a look at the front and the back of the rug. That’s very important to do a good appraisal for us. That’s what you should expect.
It’s fairly quick once you get it out there for us because there’s not a whole lot we don’t know of or haven’t seen, so we can inspect it, look for any damages or repairs, know what it is, look at the condition, the wear, the stains, whatever, and assess the value to know basically, country of origin, when it was made.
A lot of times we’ll ask you when it was made because a lot of times you have more pinpoint accurate information as far as when the rug was purchased and how you came by it.
Disagreements Over Rug Appraisals
John: Right. An owner of a rug might come to you and have some idea or expectation of what the value of their rug might be. Then maybe they don’t agree with your appraisal and what the amount that you say that it’s worth. Does that happen? What’s sort of the next step for a rug owner if they disagree with you?
Sam: I had to laugh at that. [laughter] Not because they disagree with me, but because a lot of people will hear different things or “Before granny died she said this was very valuable, but I don’t have an idea what it was worth,” and “My uncle,” or whatever, “he bought this in Iran himself from the Shah’s brother.” I’ve heard all kinds of great stories and why it’s an expensive [rug] and what they paid for it.
Sometimes, people have convenient memory, I think, as far as what they paid for it. I know what prices are unless somebody took advantage of [them] in which, I guess, it can happen out there. Most times, I think people have a perceived concept that their rug is more valuable than most time when I appraise it as far as replacement or what I think if you had to liquidate it with what it would sell for. A lot of times, I have to say in the past, sometimes a customer has changed my opinion. Basically, some of the information they have given me help me to understand maybe the age better, which increased the value or there’s something unique about it that I missed that would be helpful.
There are many a times where the customer, the owner, has basically influenced my opinion after I already had thought up and wrote my opinion.
How Trends Affect Oriental Rug Appraisal
John: Does the value of a rug change based on current style trends, like if you have a 50-year old rug that is brought to you for appraisal, but maybe it’s in a style that just doesn’t happen to be popular today … does that affect that value of the rug?
Sam: Yes, of course. That’s the thing that’s really sad that happened to a lot of owners of some very nice high-quality rugs. As we all know the style sense in America has changed drastically in the last 20 years, 15-20 years especially, in the last 10 especially. It’s gotten very casual. It’s gotten very modern. It’s gotten … the colors have changed. It’s not traditional or classic. Colors are not as popular. It really is a trendy thing today as far as popularity.
Rugs come and go on popularity, like art or like antique furniture. They’re all experiencing the same kind of things. Yes, things that are more dressy, more complex, more colorful have suffered. I’ve definitely have changed my values on rugs lately because of what’s happening out there as far as popularity.
Difficulty of Liquidating a Rug
John: Like you said, it probably depends as well on what they’re planning to do with that rug. If they’re planning on trying to turn right around and sell that, then obviously that a rug that’s not trending in style would be worth less. But if they’re just looking to have it appraised for a value for insurance purposes, maybe would be worth a little bit more because they’d have to get an equivalent type of rug from that they’d have to buy new, whatever, if it got destroyed in some way.
Sam: That’s correct, John. That’s very, very, very right on. It’s something I think a lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is to liquidate a rug and to get decent value out of it. It’s a very tough challenge today. The world has changed dramatically. For us as far as rug dealers and being able to resell rugs has been more challenging.
John: All right. That’s really great information, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: All right, John. My pleasure. Thank you.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit RugGalleryCincy.com. That’s rug gallery C-I-N-C-Y dot com or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you could take the time to give us a review as well, we’d appreciate that. I’m John Maher, see you next time on The Rug Gallery.