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Claremont Rug Company to Exhibit "Awe-Inspiring" Collection
Bakshaish Camelhair "Garden of Paradise, 11ft 4in x 13ft 4in, 175 years old. Photo: Courtesy Claremont Rug Company.

OAKLAND, CA.- Jan David Winitz, founder and president of Claremont Rug Company, today announced an exhibition of an “awe-inspiring private collection” of investment level antique 19th century Oriental rugs from a European family which had assembled the carpets over more than a century.

Purchased from the family’s French matron, the collection had been primarily displayed over the past century in four principal residences on three continents:

• The family’s ancestral property, a chateau in the countryside outside Paris

• An estate on the Italian Riviera

• A two-story penthouse apartment in Manhattan and

• A villa near Rio de Janeiro.

Dubbed “The Intercontinental Collection,” Winitz said the rugs would be offered for sale on the company’s website (, starting Thursday, April 1, and at the Gallery, starting Saturday, April 3.

Winitz, acknowledged as a leading global authority on antique Oriental rugs, said the inventory is on a par with the best collections that he has acquired over the past decade. “The family members have been major art and rug collectors for 150 years,” he said. “The matron told me that her family ‘always viewed Oriental rugs as an art form equal and in many cases superior to other types of art.’”

Included in the collection of 175 rugs are “some of the best Caucasians tribal rugs and Laver Kirman and Kermanshah Court carpets that we ever seen,” he said. “Many of the oldest rugs (1825-70) have been in the family for generations. Some of the best pieces were purchased in Europe as far back as the middle of the 19th century when they were freshly off the loom.”

Characterizing the art market for investment level antique rugs as “extremely vibrant,” Winitz said, “the recognition of the art-collecting world leads us to think in terms of 2010 as being ‘The Year of the Rug.’” Claremont Rug Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary, having been founded by Winitz in 1980. The Gallery has recently been featured in articles in the Financial Times of London and Worth magazine.

“By every measure that we can observe,” he said, “museum-level Oriental rugs are strongly entering the arena of major art collectors. At the end of 2009, two historically important rugs sold for more than $4 million each, one of which was a diminutive 3x5. And our last private collection event created such a demand that we now have waiting lists for specific rugs from certain weaving groups.”

Claremont’s carpets, circa 1800 to 1910, have prices generally ranging from $20,000 to $500,000. Winitz called his rugs “consistently art- and investment-level.”

“For centuries, first-quality Oriental rugs have been considered a superb depository of wealth,” said Winitz. “Their great appeal has always been their non-volatility. They continue to rise steadily and quietly in value in virtually all economic conditions. As a result, the demand for the best 19th century rugs has risen significantly.”

According to London-based Emotional Assets Group (EAMR), values of a broad spectrum of art and antiquities are increasing. ”In recent years, this convergence has had a dramatic impact on the values of a broad spectrum of Emotional Assets from art and antiquities,” the Group has written. “We believe that this value escalation will continue and may even accelerate.”

Winitz sees a trend developing over the past year in the investment-level art market, particularly for rugs of the provenance in the Claremont inventory. A major motivation for collectors, Winitz said, “is that top-tier antique rugs provide another dividend: they are tangible investments that can be lived with and immensely enjoyed as they grow in rarity.”

Winitz said, “Relatively few rugs of art-level quality were woven during the 19th century, and those still in existence are in private collections and seldom come to market. This accounts for their great rarity, as well as the excitement that surrounds the acquisition of such a wide-ranging collection as this.”

“The Intercontinental Collection” will be available for viewing and purchase, starting at 2 p.m. PDT on Thursday, April 1, on the Gallery website ( and 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, at the showroom, 6087 Claremont Avenue in Oakland, CA.

Claremont Rug Company | Jan David Winitz | "Awe-Inspiring" Collection |

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