• 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
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd