The Intelligencer / The Record - Sept. 1990
Oriental Rugs Sold to Benefit Earthquake Victims
By Jan Murphy
A Doylestown businessman is hoping his fundraising idea to benefit Iranian
earthquake victims will be a step toward thawing the chilled relations
between the United States and Iran.
Ali R. Nejad of Nejad Gallery in Doylestown, and his wife,
Theresa M. Capaldi, have organzed a Sept. 15 charity auction of Oriental rugs in
New York City to benefit those who remain without adequate food and shelter as a result of the June 21
earthquake that killed up to 70,000 Iranians.
The earthquake, which struck the northeastern section of the Middle Eastern nation,
measured 7.7 on the Richter scale and was deemed to be five times stronger than the
earthquake that struck San Francisco last fall.
Nejad, who grew up in Tehran, Iran, and came to the United States after the 1979
Islamic Revolution when the Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power, said
he is working with the American Red Cross and the United Nations Disaster Relief
Organization to be sure the money is channeled to provide emergency
food for earthquake victims.
Despite the sour relationship that exists between the United States and Iran,
Nejad believes it will not interfere with the auction's success.
"America is the most giving nation in the world and I feel they are ready to extend
their hands and forget about what has happened in the past and try
to look forward to having normal ties with Iranian people," he said.
"That way we can live in peace and a better world."
Regarding the crisis in the Middle East, Nejad said he believes Iran realizes it can
play a very important role in the conflict and will use it as "an opportunity to
restore ties with America. I believe we are going to see a normalized relationship
between Iran and America within the next few months."
That prediction partially grew out of the cooperation between Americans and
Iranians that Nejad and his wife have witnessed while planning the auction.
The idea for an auction developed from the couple's desire to help those who lost
homes, family members and their livelihoods as a result of the quake.
Knowing their own personal donation would not go very far, Ms. Capaldi said
they considered contacting Oriental rug dealers in the area as well as in
New York and New Jersey and asking them for a contribution.
"Then, we thought a better way would be to get rugs instead of (monetary) donations from
dealers," Nejad said. "Since these rugs are valuable, we thought we could auction them
off and that would bring the most money."
He and his wife tested the waters by making a few calls to other dealers and found
the response to be "tremendous. Everyone was for it."
Working with students from the Rutgers University Iranian Culture Club, the couple
gathered approximately 100 pieces ranging in size from 3 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by
15 feet and valued from $1,000 to $30,000.
The organizers also received some free publicity and appraisal service from Oriental
Rug Review magazine and Christie's International in Manhattan, which volunteered its
It was decided the auction should be open to the general public as well as rug dealers
and that no minimum bids be set. Also, Nejad said bidders must be present at the
auction and that no absentee bids will be accepted.
A preview of the rugs to be auctioned will start at 1 p.m. with the auction following
at 2 p.m. at the International House 500 Riverside Drive Manhattan.
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