• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Woman sold carpet worth millions for €20,000

The Local · 8 Dec 2011, 08:58

Published: 08 Dec 2011 08:58 GMT+01:00

The Persian “vase” carpet became the most valuable in the world after British auctioneers Christie’s sold it for €7.2 million last year.

The Hamburg dealer who bought it in the German auction and realised it was something special made his fortune.

This left the woman furious that she had missed out on so much money and she sued the auction house in Augsburg which had first sold the carpet, claiming €350,000 in compensation.

She told the Augsburg court on Wednesday she had felt overwhelmed when Georg Rehm came to the flat she was moving out of, and removed a number of items to sell for her. Yet she spoke of friendly conversation and cups of coffee, Die Welt newspaper reported.

The first records of the carpet say it was bought by the Countess Martine Marie-Pol of Béhague, an important French art patron. She left it to her nephew the Marquis of Garney and it stayed in the family for decades until 1987 when the German dealer bought it in an auction. He obviously did not realise what he had, and gave it to his housekeeper.

This housekeeper had left it in her will to her friend – who had kept it in storage for years.

“It was so big, so long, it didn’t fit into my flat,” she said of the carpet which is more than three metres long and one-and-a-half wide.

She decided to move house after her husband died, and wanted to sell off some stuff via the auctioneer. He said as a general dealer he was no expert in carpets and put it in his catalogue without a picture, with an estimate price of €900.

Story continues below…

“Had I known what it was, I would have rejected it,” he told the court. His lawyer said he generally dealt with house-hold items and had never heard of the “Survey of Persian Art” by Arthur Upham Pope, a standard reference book for collectors in which the carpet was pictured.

A suggestion from the judge as the court case started, that the auctioneer pay the woman €80,000, was rejected by his lawyers, saying it would leave him bankrupt. His offer of half that was not enough to satisfy the woman, so the case will now be heard in full, with a verdict due towards the end of January.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:49 December 8, 2011 by catjones
I'm going to sue my broker for letting me sell my stocks below market price. I didn't realize they were worth more.
10:21 December 8, 2011 by snaark
She should also sue her doctor for not telling her that she's stupid.
10:37 December 8, 2011 by freechoice
there is no way i am going to pay even hundred bucks for this flea infested old rag.
12:13 December 8, 2011 by gorongoza
I am in possession of almost a similar carpet ; could be worth millions !
15:45 December 8, 2011 by Nazmiyal
Auction prices are never a good indication for value... what if the rug would have passed at the second auction - would the buyer sue the first auction house for selling it to him for too much money?

Greed!

http://nazmiyalantiquerugs.com/
00:24 December 9, 2011 by jusplayinwhitcha
with the internet almost everywhere you turn, and the ease of access to it, why wouldn't she do a little research before selling it? you hear stories all the time about artifacts being purchased at yard sales later to be found to be priceless. Should all of those sellers sue the purchasers? I think not. a little research can go a long way!
Today's headlines
Extremist violence 'exploded' in record year for refugees
Left-wing violence at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March 2015. Photo: DPA.

It is now official: 2015 smashed all records for political violence, as the far right attacked refugee homes and the far left responded by attacking them in turn, Interior Ministry figures show.

Merkel: Turkey failing to meet EU terms for visa-free travel
Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Chancellor warned that visa-free travel was unlikely to be granted to Turkey by July 1st, as originally planned, because Ankara was unlikely to fulfil the preconditions.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Photo: DPA

The German capital is a place full of surprises and secrets. With its ever-changing life it's hard to keep up with even a fraction of what is going on in the city.

AfD meet with Muslim leaders breaks down in acrimony
AfD leader Frauke Petry (l) and Central Council of Muslims president Aiman Mazyek (r). Photos: DPA

A meeting between far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Muslim leaders ended bitterly on Monday after just an hour of talks.

New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
A baby in intensive care. File photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of people in Germany have shared a Facebook post in which a new father explains how dangerous the herpes virus can be to babies – as illustrated by the tragic case of his own son.

The Local's ultimate guide to summer in Germany
Photo: DPA

Whether you plan to pack your summer with extreme sports or spend it drinking beers in a Berlin park, we've got you covered in our comprehensive guide.

Tornado rips off roofs as storm batters west Germany
A property damages by a tornado in Minden on Sunday evening. Photo: DPA

Five houses had to be evacuated in Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia, after a tornado swept through the town on Sunday.

Merkel meets Erdogan in Istanbul as critics growl
Merkel and Erdogan at a meeting in October 2015. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in a bid to keep alive a deal to limit the number of refugees arriving in the EU.

Fiat Chrysler suspected of emissions cheating: Germany
The dangerous pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx) was released into the atmosphere “at more than 10 times the permitted level“. Photo: DPA

German regulators suspect that Italian-American auto maker Fiat Chrysler, like Volkswagen, used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests, a newspaper report said Sunday.

Events in Turkey 'a great concern,' says German leader
Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013. Photo: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said some political developments in Turkey were a source of "great concern” and pledged to address them during a visit to the country on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
7,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd