Yesterday at Sotheby’s a world record price was achieved for a rug:
“Excuse me, I’m not used to this,” laughed an embarrassed Mary Jo Otsea, senior consultant for rugs and carpets at Sotheby’s, as she passed the $16 million mark for Lot 12. The auctioneer accidentally slipped and said $16,000, a value closer to the $5 – $7 million estimate that Sotheby’s expected the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet rug to sell for. Sixteen million seemed high, but the number crept higher, in $500,000 increments, until it reached $30 million, breaking the world record for carpets sold at auction.
The number stunned viewers and participants at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s carpet and rug auction Wednesday morning. After the buyer’s premium, the anonymous bidder paid $33,765,000 for the 17th-century Persian rug. The auction brought in $43, 764,750, surpassing expectations and estimates.