By nature, Persian rugs, especially antique ones, are the most expensive. The hours spent on weaving and the artistry may explain high prices. As with a valuable painting by a famous artist, a rug may also be woven by a famous master-weaver and have some outstanding features or a background story that makes it as expensive as over four million dollars.
In June 2008, on the auction at Christie’s, a silk Isfahan antique rug was sold for 4.5 million dollars. More than that, 5.5 million dollars, were paid for a carpet made of precious metal and jewels. The artistic value of that one, however, is controversial. In 2010, also at Christie’s, a Kerman carpet was sold for an absolutely incredible price of 9.6 million dollars. However, that is cheap compared with a carpet sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2013. The anonymous bidder paid 33.8 million dollars (and with commissions and charges it was a total of 43.8 million) for the Clark Sickle-Leaf carpet.
What makes a rug so expensive? The beauty, materials, pattern or traditional motifs, and colors are one thing but the finery of a carpet comes from a number of knots. The more knots are handwoven there the more labor hours a weaver had to spend working on one particular carpet. Even around seven years may be devoted by a single weaver to create an outstanding rug.
Taking into consideration this amount of labor and the other mentioned factors plus historical value, millions spent on some exceptional rugs are not so surprising.