Section of the large suzani rug sold at Andrew Smith & Son for £19,500.

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Made in the Kermina region of Uzbekistan, the 8ft 4in x 6ft 4in (2.53 x 1.93m) rug (section shown above) had suffered degradation to the linen backing, tears and holes. Nevertheless, against a £1000-2000 estimate it sold at £19,500 to an agent bidding for an overseas collector.

“The key was that bidders identified it as 18th century,” said auctioneer Gary Loftus. “But that’s not an attribution most auctioneers would use in a catalogue description for obvious reasons.

“It was of fine quality and complete, it was a large size and the colours were fantastic but the damages would be costly to rectify. I thought it may reach say £3000-5000 but the result was exceptional – a definite surprise.”