Most Expensive Rug Ever Sold! - Rug the Rock

Most Expensive Rug Ever Sold!

Do you know the price of the most expensive rug sold at auctions? What was its origin? It's almost a cliche that the best rugs are Persian rugs. The carpet tradition as we know it today originated in the East. Ancient Persia produced the most valuable and famous artifacts. 

Even with beautiful rugs, there is a wide range of types and prices, which can be challenging to understand. That is why it is normal to be surprised when see price of a hand-knotted rug is millions of dollars.

In this article, we are discussing rugs that had a seller and a buyer. We skipped historical carpets kept in museums, whose value is unknown.

List of most expensive rugs in the world:


7 - Rothschild Tabriz Medallion Carpet, Iran, 17th Century, $2.4 million

Rothschild Tabriz Medallion Carpet


The Rothschild Tabriz Medallion Carpet from the 16th century was stolen from the Rothschild family in Austria by the Nazis during World War II. The exquisite Persian rug measures more than 20 feet long and was sold for $2.4 million. Qatar's Sheikh al-Thani was the buyer. The carpet is made in northwest Persia. It was initially valued at $400,000 before the sale. The Rothschild Tabriz Medallion Carpet is now housed in Qatar's Museum of Islamic Art.


6 - Louis XV Savonnerie Carpet, France, 17th Century, $4.4 million

Louis XV Savonnerie Carpet


Taking a few steps away from the East for a moment, we find this 18th-century French masterpiece. This stunning carpet, designed by Pierre-Josse Perrot and woven between 1740 and 1750, is embellished with incredible detail. It is an awe-inspiring piece with a complex, almost three-dimensional design. The design vividly illustrates France's 18th-century royal arms, military trophies, flowers, and ornaments.

The Savonnerie factory was established in the early 1600s to produce French versions of carpets from the East using Turkish techniques.


5 - Silk Isfahan Rug, Iran, 17th Century, $4.45 million

Silk Isfahan Rug


A stunning silk Isfahan rug was sold at Christie's in June 2008 to a Long Island resident who preferred to remain anonymous. Perhaps because they paid $4.5 million for this Persian rug, which once belonged to Doris Duke, a New York-born philanthropist. Duke purchased the carpet in 1990. When the tobacco heiress died in 1993, she left the 7'7 "x5'7" carpet to the Newport Restoration Foundation. The silk Isfahan rug from the 17th century comes in 14 different colors.


4 - Mughal Millefleurs "Star-Lattice" Carpet, India, Late 17th or First Half 18th Century, £4.7 million

Mughal Millefleurs "Star-Lattice" Carpe


It's no surprise that a carpet from the Far East is among the most expensive rugs in the world. At a Christie's auction in 2013, this 18th-century North Indian rug sold for more than £4.7 million, far exceeding its estimated price.

Its first owner was the renowned socialite and businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Like almost every item in this article, it has had several owners over the years. However, the final buyer, who faced off against another bidder in a nail-biting finish, has chosen to remain anonymous.

The Pashmina-wool carpet has an intense scarlet field with a golden star latticework design enclosing symmetrical arrays of pink, yellow, white, and blue jasmine and lotus blossoms. It has only minor signs of wear and tear, which had no impact on the final selling price. Scholars and experts have dubbed it "the most sublime of all decorative carpets." It is one of only 12 Millefleur (French for "a thousand flowers") rugs from the period.


3 - The Pearl Carpet of Baroda, India, 19th Century, $5.45 million

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda


The Pearl Carpet of Baroda, commissioned in 1865 for the tomb of Prophet Muhammad in Medina, Saudi Arabia, never arrived at its intended destination. Still, it indeed found its way into modern history.

Not only is the base of silk and fine deer hide remarkable, but so is the astounding detail that makes this fantastic tapestry sparkle like a piece of jewelry. At least one million Basra pearls are weaved with English-colored glass beads and other precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and even diamonds in gold-topped silver in the rug.

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda was the highlight of Sotheby's 2009 auction, selling for $5.5 million to an anonymous buyer in Doha. The carpet is now part of the National Museum of Qatar's permanent collection, finally resting after a 150-year history of owners and inheritance.

2- Kerman "Vase" Carpet, Iran, 17th Century, €7.5 million

Kerman "Vase" Carpet


This Persian rug is an intriguing story. The carpet was estimated at $900 in 2009, just four years before the most valuable carpet sale. Someone bought it for €20,000 at the auction. However, the seller was dissatisfied and went to Christie's auction house, which estimated it between £200,000 and £300,000.

The Kerman Vase rug is the first to feature the popular Herati design, with colorful flowers, leaves, and branches on a contrasting blue background and a slightly wavy surface.

The following auction drew an incredible number of bidders and began at £150,000. It eventually sold for €7.5 million to a Middle-Eastern buyer, making it the most expensive rug in the world at the time.

An intriguing dispute between owners, auction houses, and donors resulted in this one-of-a-kind piece of Persian tradition and artistry making even more history. It proves once again that some objects are difficult to value.


1 - The Most Expensive Rug:
Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet, Iran, 17th Century, $33.8 Million

Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet- Most expensive rug


Sotheby's '17th Century Antique Persian Carpet,' sold for $33 million, is the most expensive rug ever.

The auction at Sotheby's New York stunned everyone by shattering all records and becoming the most expensive rug ever sold. Even as the rarest of masterpieces in handmade rugs, it was expected to fetch around $10 million, but the unknown buyer was unwilling to let it go at almost any price. The buyer is probably from the Middle East, which acquired the rug for a museum there.


Watch this video describing the most expensive rug of all time, Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet:


See Rug the Rock's authentic handmade rugs here.


Back to blog

1 comment

Thank you a lot for this one.
Persian rugs are precious. I bought one for my home from you, and I love it.
I am looking forward to future articles like this.

Keyvan Mahmoudi

Leave a comment