Selling to a dealer can be expeditious, but you will get only a fraction of your rug's worth. Alternatively, the dealer may agree to take your rug on consignment. The standard commission Oriental rug dealers ask is 20%, but it is likely to become 40% on the pretext that the buyer is an interior decorator who gets a 20% discount. Otherwise the dealer will give priority to selling his own rugs.
We are an association of private buyers who purchase antique Oriental and Persian rugs for their personal use. You therefore deal with a reputable organization, you reach the right audience, and you sell directly to the final buyers, saving fees and commissions.
A professional wash is worthwhile before selling your rug if it is particularly dirty or it has a stain and the cleaner assures you it will come out. Otherwise, a gentle vacuum first of the back and then the front working in the direction of the pile should suffice.
Selling an expensive Oriental rug is difficult because people are naturally wary about what they're getting. You could run classified ads, sell your antique rug to a dealer, place it on consignment with a dealer, or place it in an auction. Serur's Antique Rugs offers you an alternative.
Running an ad may be a good option for selling cheap rugs. Online sites such as ebay or craigslist are typically swamped by dealers and pieces of low quality. Buyers of high-end items such as antique rugs are not likely to sift through these ads, and are justifiably too wary of fly-by-night sellers.
Most importantly, bear in mind that the estimate the auction-house gives you for your rug is an estimate of the total sale price, which includes the commission the buyer pays the auction. So your net return is the estimate minus the commission you pay and minus the commission the buyer pays. Taking into account that the rug may not sell, and therefore expenses wasted, a rule of thumb is to assume that your net return will be roughly 40-50% of the estimate. You may be able to negotiate better terms at local auctions, but then you reduce the chances of selling your rug. And remember that the auction-house makes a profit whether the rug is sold or not.
Owners of Oriental rugs are often disappointed by the resale value of their rugs. Sometimes this is because they believed their Oriental rug was a good investment and that they would at least recover their cost, and sometimes this is because they had an appraisal which claimed their rug was worth a lot more. The reality is, reselling an oriental rug is no different than reselling furniture, and you will have to offer as large a discount to sell your rug as you would to sell your furniture.
Rug owners are often induced to undertake expensive repairs on their Oriental rugs, only to find out afterwards that its resale value does not even cover the cost of the restoration. We therefore strongly advise you to make an assessment of the resale, not the replacement nor insurance value of your Oriental rug before doing repairs. If a repair shop suggests that your old Oriental rug is worth thousands of dollars, ask them if they would buy it from you for half that price.