One of the most practical characteristics of oriental rugs is that good handmade rugs usually appreciate in value. You get to use them for years and they will actually be worth more in due time, with a little TLC and maintenance, of course.
So, the question arises:
At what age is an oriental rug considered antique?
Generally, rugs that are at least eighty years old and above are considered “antique”. That means that as of the current year of 2014, any rug created in 1934 or prior is an antique.
Rugs that are between 79-50 years old are considered to be “semi-antique”. Rugs that are between 50 and 30 years in age are considered to be “old” – in a good sense! You see, when applied to rugs and carpets, the terms antique, semi-antique, or old, imply certain desirable characteristics pertaining to the proper aging of the rug. When the pure wool pile of a rug is worn down, the lower areas of each strand has more intense colors and less ‘fuzz’, so the designs usually appear sharper, brighter, and more vibrant. Natural wool has Lanolin (the fat in sheep’s wool). Over time and use, the lanolin in the wool pile gives it a nice sheen and softness, much like how a baseball glove breaks in and becomes softer.
In terms of value, cost of living and cost of goods generally increases with time. The same rug that was created in 1935 will now cost much more to create. Also, there are only a finite number of fine rugs built during a time period. That number will only diminish and can never increase, hence, they become much more rare and collectible.
So, cherish your old, semi-antique, and antique rugs. Treat them well, as they’ve served their owners so well. With the proper use and a little TLC, a good oriental rug will only appreciate in value.