The $33 million rug

A classic Persian rug was sold in New York in June 2013 for $33 million, more than three times the previous auction record for a rug. The rug is known as the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet, based on its previous owner William Clark, a billionaire industrialist who bought the carpet from a dealer in Paris early in the last century, and its distinctive leaf pattern.

It was made in Persian in the middle of the 17th century during the Safavid dynasty. It measures 8ft9 x 6ft5, is made of a wool pile over cotton and silk, and features red, blue and green colours with a pattern of sickle-shaped leaves.

After Clark's death in 1925, the rug was donated to a museum, and was displayed at the Corcoran Museum in Washington DC, until it was put on sale to raise funds.

Experts say that its excellent condition indicates that for much of its more recent existence the rug was probably hung on a wall as a work of art, rather than used on a floor.

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