2023 Year-End Review & Outlook for 2024

A Windfall of Incomparable Carpets Energizes Claremont’s Global Clientele of Collectors & Rug Lovers

Dear Friend,

A profound synchronicity between the soaring caliber of the antique Oriental rugs we were able to offer and our clients’ readiness to own them validated our vision and hard work at Claremont in 2023. Our long-established network of private buying sources uncovered for us the greatest number of extraordinary pieces ever.

Claremont’s Global Reach Attracts Clients Motivated By Level of Artistry & Quality

Clients, new and ongoing, who shopped with us because they desired the distinctive impact that art-level antique rugs have on the home environment, were awed by the selections we could offer them. Other clients who find deep satisfaction in collecting 19th-century Persian and Caucasian artworks were amazed at the vast range of first-rate pieces they had to choose from.

Some of our sources originated with the friends of my dear grandmother, who started collecting antique rugs enthusiastically in the 1930s, while many others I met through this original group of enthusiasts. Our purchase of the over 200-rug “Great Lakes Collection” last summer was sheer serendipity! A Michigan-based family we had no previous contact with approached us to sell this monumental cache assembled over four generations. This acquisition prodigiously boosted our High-Collectible inventory to a level we had never conceived was possible.

Persian Bakshaish | 4’ 9” x 5’ | 2nd quarter, 19th century | Part of “Best-of-Their-Type Sold in 2023” online event.

Our clients articulated their satisfaction in heart-warming notes throughout the year.

I have purchased rug #3 as I am sure you are aware and could not be more delighted. I knew almost immediately that I had to add it to my small collection. – MS, Connecticut

Your perception of our tastes is impeccable. We will take all three of the rugs you have highlighted. – JM, Minnesota

There are so many things about your work that I love and that I marvel at. I get daily pleasure from looking at my Bakshaish and several of our other remarkable carpets. – RD, Northern California

“Many thanks for making these two treasures available to us. They really make our home something rather amazing!” – DO, Northern California

Last year, our clients consistently favored Bakshaish and Caucasian tribal pieces as their two most popular styles. Mohtasham Kashans and Serapis again followed in second place. Other than Mohtashams, the fine woven Tehran, Dorasht, and Senneh rugs somewhat outshone the traditional floral traditions: all styles of Tabriz, Isfahan, Ferahan, Kirman, and Kermanshah.

Persian Mohtasham Kashan Rug | 9’ 7” x 12’ 3” | circa 1825 | Part of “Best-of-Their-Type Sold in 2023” online event.

In 2023, the expanded reach of our website made Claremont truly worldwide, bringing dedicated clients in Norway, Australia, and the Far East, including China, Singapore, and Malaysia. We are also now selling rare antique rugs back to connoisseurs in the Middle East, in locales such as Turkmenistan, Bahrain, and Dubai. At this point, my senior staff members and I frequently engage in FaceTime calls to present rugs across the country and around the world, sometimes well after business hours!

Read more about our Oriental Rug Market Pyramid here.

On the home front, our extensive, curated selection of Connoisseur-Caliber room-size to palace-size carpets was enthusiastically received by our clients who wished to create inimitable decors. We were able to amplify our 19th century Bakshaish and Serapi inventory to include a broader selection of Connoisseur-Caliber quality pieces in wonderful condition that are our clients’ proven favorites. Likewise, those purchasing from our broad spectrum of High-Decorative categories repeatedly mentioned how difficult it was for them to find gracious turn-of-the-20th-century Oriental rugs in stellar condition elsewhere (which we pride ourselves in offering across our different inventories).

The Ways Our Clients Increase the Appreciation Of Their Rugs

Inspired to enhance the enjoyment of their rugs, in 2023, our clients creatively began looking at their homes with fresh eyes and found myriad places to display antique art rugs: passageways, vestibules, landings, and stairway walls all offered dynamic opportunities. As a result, coupled with those purchasing solely for collection, our area-size rugs and runners sales expanded by 18% over 2022.

One client told us after “buying more rugs than we had spaces for,” that they found it tremendously enjoyable to set aside a small closet for their extra pieces (primarily area sizes) and then periodically change them out with the ones in use, in this way rejuvenating their whole-home display. They found this to be such great fun that they opened a closet in each of their homes for this purpose! “Our rugs are more accommodating than the paintings that are affixed to our walls. We just swap out a rug and its padding and “Voila.”

Stunning oversize Serapi & two Bakshaish in the background creates evocative living space.

Many clients we dealt with last year opted to step up and venture into our High-Collectible category. In general, there was a palpable atmosphere of enjoyment among our clients as they expanded their home displays or collections from the legion of memorable pieces we offered. We invite you to visit the “60 Best-Of-Their-Type Rugs Sold in 2023” retrospective on our website, where you can experience Persian, Caucasian, and Turkish rugs, circa 1800 to 1875, of a magnitude seldom found even in the rug literature.

Sea Changes In The Antique Oriental Carpet Market

Our clients hail from six continents. From them, I repeatedly hear that they find a dearth of memorable 19th century pieces in very good condition anywhere. I have also ascertained this for myself through my own observations. Reviewing the offerings of auction after the auction, from Christie’s to the small online outlets, the level of artistry and uniqueness is woefully lacking.

This private event offered a monumental cache of 140- 200-year-old rugs.

A clear example is Christie’s auction on October 26th, 2023, “Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including Rugs and Carpets,” in which just three Caucasian rugs older than 1870 and only a single Bakshaish and Serapi (circa 1890) went on the block. Retail is no different. On 1stDibs, a successful online marketplace offering luxury items and antiques, less than 4% of its over 400 Persian and Caucasian rugs, by my generous estimate, were dated earlier than 1880, and the bulk of this selection was comprised of customary examples.


Our prediction that enthusiasm for high-level Oriental rugs circa 1875 and earlier would begin to grow rapidly was substantiated when, on January 21, 2024, Grogan and Company auctioned off the tribal rug collection of the late Ralph Kaffel, president of Fantasy Records. Offering 44 Caucasian and 9 Persian tribal pieces,  66% of these were 160 years old or older, and of these lots — in our terminology — from Connoisseur-Caliber to High Collectible with 2 Museum level pieces — 48% sold above their high estimate.

We are profoundly grateful for the first source buying network of longtime private collectors that we have fostered since the beginning of Claremont, which has proved instrumental in sustaining the great richness of our inventory. We have heard from a good number of these sources regarding the transfer of their caches of carpets to the next generation. This should enable us to continue acquiring “gems of the first order” for some time to come.

Bakshaish carpets are Claremont client’s most favorite for their engaging, spontaneous ambiance. 

It is a pivotal time in the antique Oriental carpet market — just as the supply of first-rate 19th century antique rugs has almost disappeared, the recognition of this magnificent artistic tradition is about to break through the fine art “glass ceiling.” The market is now adjusting to the disappearance of 16th and 17th century Safavid carpet offerings from auctions internationally, prompting the emergence of 18th century and first half of the 19th century rugs to take center stage. More than ever, we are laser-focused on uncovering early pieces, i.e., circa 1875 and before, that are both profoundly beautiful and highly unique.

Much commentary among those associated with fine art auctions and galleries is focused now on the heights of creativity outside of the Euro-American traditions. The growing interest in the art of Indigenous Peoples is a clear segue into antique Caucasian and Persian tribal and village rugs, the cornerstone of many of our rug sources and of our client’s collections. The fine art market is seriously studying outstanding examples from other cultures’ oeuvres and breaking through what has been a major obstruction to assigning value to these, until now, unsung artworks.

Looking Ahead

The majority of forecasts for the luxury market agree that in 2024, investing in art will continue to be a favored field of activity. We are seeing great enthusiasm among our clients, whether they are building 50-piece collections, over 100-piece collections, or substantially larger ones, to continue on their chosen course.

Our plans for 2024 include making it even easier for first-time buyers to jump into the antique Oriental rug market, as well as giving our clients more options to create Whole-Home Rug Displays. We have amassed an enormous cache of Connoisseur-Caliber and High-Decorative carpets in the room size and oversize categories — a benefit of being very active in the market! An expanded new section of younger rugs (1900-1925) in very good condition for “high use” spaces will soon be available to take care of your every need. Recently, we have also seen a notable uptick in the older generation buying the first rugs from us for their younger generation. We are honored to facilitate this “rite of passage” into rug collecting.

Caucasian Kuba Rug | 3’ 4” x 5’ 9” | circa 1825 | Part of “Best-of-Their-Type Sold in 2023” online event.

At Claremont, 2024 is already introducing us to new customers and reconnecting with our ongoing and longtime client relationships, some of which we have been honored to have for three to four decades. Sharing the appreciation of this art form with our clients and assisting in your search for inspiring pieces to live with is a deeply gratifying endeavor for us. I thought to end with a very sweet note I received from a long-term client.

Hello Jan,

As you may recall, these Bijar masterpieces are in our entry and guide our friends into the house. One of our dogs “Boone” is especially responsive to the patterns and always arranges himself accordingly, as you see in these two photos, which could be reproduced every day of the week. The poor guy has to go to the kennel when we are away, and when he returns, his first activity is to center himself on a Claremont carpet and go to sleep. His other target when he seeks serenity is the Kazak keyhole rug in the music room that we call “green man.”

Some of us think we are hardly worthy of our dogs. This one is proving the point that sensitive creatures – across species – are drawn by the mystic, mythic, cosmic messages of the great rugs of the 19th century from that sacred part of the world where civilization began.

Grateful for your guidance, the education, and most of all – the beauty that surrounds us every day. John, Northern California

A client’s furry friend tactually appreciates the energy of his owner’s Bijar masterwork.