With many other second hand products (rugs excluded), people have actually stopped using the term "second hand" because they feel that the term has begun to have negative connotations attached to it, and they have begun to use alternative euphemisms, such as "pre-loved" to describe items which have had at least one previous owner. In fact, with things like hand made rugs, "pre-loved" is actually a perfect description, because a nice second hand rug which is in good condition will invariably have been loved by its previous owner. Many people only choose to sell on their rugs because they are forced to, due to financial reasons or because they are downsizing their homes and no longer have space for the much loved item.
Because of the American trade embargo on Iranian rugs, the market for second hand Iranian rugs in American has increased hugely in recent years. Although it is still fully legal to buy and sell Persian rugs in America, they may not be important directly from Iran. Any Iranian rug which has come from outside of the country must have arrived in the country before the end of September 2010. This means that it is actually getting much harder to find Oriental rugs which have not had a previous owner, since most of the rugs which are already in the country have been in circulation for a number of years.
This is not a problem, because authentic Persian Rugs are actually a great product to buy second hand. The materials used and the techniques used to create these authentic rugs makes them a lot more durable and hardwearing than many other types of machine made rug, so second hand pieces are usually still in good condition. However, when you are buying a second-hand piece, you should always ask to check the quality of the rug before you commit to buying it, rather than just buying a piece based on a picture, because it is easy to make a product look a lot better quality on a picture than it actually is in real life.
Another reason that second hand Persian rugs are so desirable is that these rugs are investment pieces. A good quality rug, which is made out of high quality materials, will actually increase in price as it ages, rather than decreasing in value, as most products do. Buying a second hand rug can offer you the chance to snap up a quality piece at a bargain price then keep hold of it until the value of the rug has significantly increased.