Buying antique Oriental rug is not an easy task, even for professional collectors. There are plenty of bootleg antique rugs, making looking for one extremely stressful. Even if you will find an original, dealer might purposely sell you a damaged piece and take a full price.
However with a few simple clues the whole process can get so much easier, saving you from being cheated by a dishonest seller.
When checking the antique carpet, first thing to do is to see if it is not rotten or cracked. The easiest way to do it is to turn the carpet face down and look for any odd-colored patches. Any signs of mildew should make you wary of this particular piece. Before doing anything more, ask your rug dealer for permission. Any refusal should be a warning sign for you, as honest dealer would be happy to show off his carpet, unless it is in a very bad condition. Try folding the carpet across in both direction and listen for any disturbing noises. They might indicate that there is something wrong with carpet’s weft.
One of best ways to see if you are really buying an old rug is to gently break the pile open. It is common even for well-maintained carpets to have yellowed or grayish threads which indicate its age. Carpet devout of that is undoubtedly relatively new. Any repairs can be spotted right away by moving your hand over the front and the back of the rug. Bumpy and rough areas are signs that the carpet was repaired, which is only a bad thing is your seller claims this piece is in a perfect condition.
Painting rugs over is a blight on carpet industry. It is done when the original pattern was worn out and the seller doesn’t want to pay for repiling. To check if a carpet was repainted either rub it gently with a handkerchief or turn it over and compare the patterns on the front and the reverse.