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I've heard of the claim that Persian rugs (especially the pre-1950's, hand-woven kind) actually appreciate in value the more they are used.

For example:

We have seen that in the Middle East some new rugs are thrown into the streets for “aging,” where they are driven over by trucks and camels alike. They come through the ordeal looking much improved. Rugs are, as they say, forgiving.

Intuitively, I would think that the more people walk on a carpet, the more it becomes damaged, or at least would wear out over time, which would do just the opposite to its value. Indeed, this site estimates how much a rug is devalued based on wear.

Is this simply sales puffery, or is there validity to the claim that walking on rugs increases their value?

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Damaging the rugs does not increase their value per-se. However antiques are worth more, and this is one of many techniques that could be used to forge up an "antique". Old rugs are popular, so anything that can be done to make a rug look older is going to help increase it's sale price. Fake antiques of many kinds often fool even the experts.

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    +1 … it should be noted that even obviously fake antiques (= sold as fakes) often fetch quite high prices. As an example, it’s currently fashionable to have old-looking tiles or wardrobes with cracked varnish, and several companies specialise in producing them. – Konrad Rudolph Sep 1 '11 at 15:01
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    Fake antiques are a bit business. It's the rarity of the item that makes it desirable, not necessarily it's age. That's why old coins are seldom valuable unless in mint condition, unless it's one of the truly rare (production in the 1000's) old coins. A true antique that doesn't look the part is often undervalued. For examples, there are paintings that might be by a master or a master's pupil. The painting is verifiable old, but the lack of ability to authenticate it's rarity leaves it cheaper than one definitely only attributable to a master. – user2767 Sep 2 '11 at 16:34

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