Antique rug auctions mostly attract antique dealers and bargain hunters. Under these circumstances, except for collectors' pieces which can generate competitive bidding, it is wise to assume a rug in an antique auction will sell close to its reserve price, and your net return will be the reserve price minus commissions and other fees, which are incurred even if your rug does not sell.
We welcome antique rugs from rug auctions. We will match auction estimates and charge you no commissions nor fees. Contact us.
Auction houses typically charge commissions and various handling fees on both the buyer and the seller, which can add up to a substantial cut of the value of the rug, up to 50% of the hammer price in the case of the larger establishments, 20-25% in local auctions. At the other end of the spectrum, online auctions charge much less, but they are typically swamped by rug dealers or rugs of questionable quality.
Prices at auctions are generally lower than retail prices. But the risks are high, since auction sales are final, and there is little opportunity to consult with experts or inspect the rug carefully, and condition reports provided by the auction house are often questionable. In any case, buying a rug at an auction is still much more costly than buying directly from the owner due to the auction's commissions and fees.