I didn’t expect to see a lot of folksy hooked rugs at Sotheby’s and Christie’s Americana sales. But there they were – about 16 hooked rugs and two quilts. At both auctions, the estimates seem to be higher than realized sales; perhaps because neither house is experienced in such folksy wares. The pattern was clear, dull, light ordinary colors didn’t begin to meet the estimated price. But clear bright patterns often exceeded the estimate.
For instance, at Sotheby’s, there were two hooked rugs both with a horse theme. Lot #1460 in was of a running horse in a highly patterned and strong colored background; the estimate was $300-$500. The realized price was $875. In the same auction Lot #1499 was of a horse in a pasture. The estimate was $500-$700; the realized price was $250. The difference. One was bland; the other was exciting.
At Christie’s another set of horse themed rugs show the same disparity. Lot #257 Hooked Cotton Rug depicting a horse race against a patterned background creating a pattern on pattern effect had a realized price of $2,250 and an estimate of only $1,000 – $2,000. On the other hand, Lot #154 another hooked cotton rug was also estimated at $1,000 – $2,000 and sold for $184.
$4,750 was the highest price of any textile was Christies’ Lot #248, a wool felted table rug of the 19th century with eye popping design. The sale price was below the high estimate of $6000 — but still a good price
But the two quilts featured at the beginning of this article did not sell. Clearly the reserve price was too dear.