On The Square

Hooked: Collecting Carpets, Quilts, Rugs, and Other Textiles

By Ron Pook, Founder, Pook & Pook, Inc.

Oct 10,2014 | 15:35 EDT

I am an average guy who doesn’t have a vintage Porsche or a fabulous wine cellar, but I do have some great oriental rugs on the floor and some folk art hooked rugs on the wall. I think textiles are great objects to enjoy and you don’t have to worry about lead free gasoline or “cork taint.”

Textiles span centuries and continents; the beginnings of the field go back centuries, to Peruvian pre-Columbian textiles from 600 B.C. Sophisticated collectors and museums seek out rare Egyptian and Chinese fragments of linen made from the flax plant. However, archaic pieces of this genre consist mainly of fragments or pieces of Persian carpets. Pieces can range from $100-200 for a small fragment from the Chancay Culture of Peru to many millions for early 17th century Kirman carpets.

Textiles that appeal to most modern collectors include quilts, coverlets, and hooked rugs from the 19th and 20th century, prized for their visual and folk art qualities. At Pook & Pook, Inc. we have sold rare chintz, 19th century quilts for prices ranging from several hundred to $15,000. Quilts made in the 20th century can be very exciting in a modern setting and can cost as little as $200 – a steal. Some of the vibrant Amish quilts from the 1920s to the 1930s could have inspired Rothko!

Another field is the folky, self-taught art of hooked rugs from the early 20th century. Each is unique and inspirational, and some are downright hilarious. We recently sold examples from the well known Barbara Johnson collection with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

As you can see, anyone can begin to collect textiles ranging from BC to AC/DC, and from $100 to millions. Good luck!

Hooked rug of a recumbent leopard (Estate of Kristina Barbara Johnson, Princeton, NJ)