In my last post, I shared an email exchange with an American solider stationed in Afghanistan. Through our online conversation and viewing some photos, I was able to help him select and purchase a Khoja Roshnai rug. Recently I had the honor of helping another soldier identify a rug he’d just bought. We swapped emails and then I was able to meet him and see the rug in person. He was happy to confirm what he’d suspected—he’d chosen a rare and valuable Khoja Roshnai.

Here’s how the conversation began:

Hello,

 

I was reading your Blog (Charleston Rugs Blog) and came across what you were saying about the Khoja Roshnai rugs and their value.  I just purchased an 11’ x13’ Khoja Roshnai rug that has a gold field.  I’ve attached a picture that I hope will give you an idea of what it looks like.  It’s not the best of pictures but the primary color is gold and changes color as you walk around the rug.  I’d like to get it appraised for insurance purposes once I return from Afghanistan and do you know of someone in and around the High Point, North Carolina area that might be able to recognize it for what it is and let me know it true worth.

 

Thank you.

Steve Harris, Capt. USN Special Forces

A very unusual Gold Khoja Roshnai    Captain Harris in Helmand, Afghanistan

A very unusual Gold Khoja Roshnai (left) and Captain Harris in Helmand, Afghanistan

I replied to Steve later that day:

Hi Steve,

 

That’s an interesting rug.  Khoja Roshnai are not usually made with a gold field.  Any chance you can take a shot of the corner so that I can see the end and side?  Also, turn that same corner over and make a shot of the rug from the back.  That shading end to end is a feature of a tightly made hand knot rug made using good wool; so that’s a good thing.

 

I will be in High Point October 19-25, if you are back by then?  Otherwise, I can surely send you to a reputable appraiser in that area.

 

Thanks,

Rob Leahy

 

Steve got right back to me:

Rob,

 

Unfortunately I shipped the rug home yesterday, but if you will let me know where you’ll be in High Point, I’ll bring it to you and let you see it firsthand.  I’ll be done with this deployment by then and should be in that area.  You’re right about the Khoja Rohnai not normally made with a gold field, but I saw it and was just taken by it.  I think it is a Khoja Roshnai because of the design but the color is what struck me because those rugs are normally red and blue.  IRT the end and side, it has a braided end with “tassles” (about 1/2 inch in length) which tells me that it is pretty high quality.  The knots are not the tightest I’ve ever seen but they are tight. Appreciate your response and looking forward to meeting you.

 

Best, Steve

The next morning I confirmed that I’d meet Steve in High Point.:

Good morning, Steve…

 

I’ll be at the Furniture Market.  My business is showing our rugs there.  The booth is at the Market Square Suites.  But your rug is big, so we’ll come to you some afternoon.  Let me know when your back IC and we’ll plan to meet up.

 

I checked with my Turkmen friends today and found that a Khoja Roshnia with a gold field is very unusual.  As you probably already know the true Khoja Roshnai are made by Turkmen in a village by that name that is north of Mazar-e Sharif.  There were some made farther west in Andkhoi and some of them had gold fields.  I saw the end in your picture, but did the sides have a flat woven edge similar to the ends, before the tassels? If it does, that would help ID it.  But no matter, it’s a pretty rug.  We’ll discuss it when you get home.

 

Where are you stationed, over there?

 

Rob

Steve responded:

Rob,

 

For the most part I’ve been down in Kandahar area, but am now in Kabul.  And IRT the Khoja Roshnai, yes I know about where (Mazar-e-Sharif) they are made and I knew about the Andkhoi as well.  One of the reasons I wanted that particular type of rug was because of where it was made.  They are beautiful and as I said, this one really caught my eye.  About the sides, I don’t think it did have the same as the ends.  I’m pretty sure it was just the ends that had the flat woven edge and tassels.  Now that I know where you’ll be I can come by and bring the rug with me.

 

Thanks for the return email and again I look forward to showing you the rug and getting your opinion about it.

Steve

On October 24th I got a call and Steve was on his way to meet me.  He rolled out the rug in the parking lot and it was indeed an amazing gold Khoja Roshnai rug.  It was the mid-grade with a wool warp and cotton weft.  It was very supple and extremely lustrous.  I am sure it would bring $8,000 to $10,000 at retail.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 5.15.36 AM

Capt. Steve Harris in High Point, North Carolina showing me his rare find: a valuable Kojha Roshnai

After the meeting, I sent one more message to him:

Steve,

 

What a pleasure to meet you today!  Thanks for coming and rest assured you have a valuable Kojha Roshnai rug there.  You would pay easily $8,000 for that rug in any US rug shop.  I thought you’d told me what you paid for it, but now see you never did.  Would you mind telling me for my blog comparisons?

 

Best wishes,

Rob

Steve replied that afternoon:

Rob,

 

It was a pleasure for me as well.  I appreciate the information on the rug and it makes me feel a bit better knowing at least three things … I got a good deal, I got a Khoja Roshnai, and that I at least have a keen eye for good rugs (at least one of them) … the latter being the most important.  As far as price … I didn’t say, but I paid in total, including shipping back here to the U.S., around $6500 for five rugs.  So, that would make them average $1300 each.

 

Best,

Steve

I sent back this reply:

Thanks Steve….  You did very well!  Based on what you told me about the 5 rugs I’d estimate that your cost for the Khoja Roshnai was about half that $6,500 or $3,250.  Enjoy your rugs and thank you for finding me today.

Have a good day,
Rob

 

Read some of my other conversations with American soldiers, and get  Charleston Rugs blog delivered to your inbox.

 

2 comments on “A soldier with a good eye for rugs

  1. kim lapointe

    I have found your blog to be outstanding as I research the purchase of my 2nd carpet. When I was in Kandahar in 2007 I purchased a 5 x 7 Elephants foot design from Mazaar-e-Sharif. I love the deep reds and the nice wool tassels on the end. Here I am in 2013 finishing off a 9 month deployment here in Kabul. Again I find myself wanting to purchase a keepsake of this deployment. After researching your blog I have found a beautiful 5 x 7 Khoja Roshnai deep burgundy with beautiful blues and greens in the guls. It also has a striking multicoloured Kelim with the same wool tassels on the end as my other rug. He says it is first quality and showed me a second quality carpet. I can see the difference. I fell in love with it immediately. He wants $1400 but my interpreter says I should be able to get it for $800-900. I took a bunch of pictures today to send to my wife and she loves the colours. Thanks for the detailed advice on your blog. LCol Kim LaPointe (Canadian -Royal Canadian Regiment)

  2. Nazmiyal Rose

    You indeed have a very good choice for the selection of antique rug. I liked your selection and I would also like to have one of the antique rugs in the future.

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