Tony, thanks for posting your experiences with dodds.
Just one comment, dodds did not buy the 'Bellini' rug at auction, at least not to our knowledge.
If you are referring to our posting the fact it was pictured in Peter Bausback's 1981 catalog,
please note Bausback is a retailer of rugs not an auctioneer.
Our publicizing the fact it was illustrated in that catalog proved dodds had not owned it for more than 25 years, as he claimed when selling it to LACMA.
We do not know how dodds came to acquire it, although he told LACMA he "...bought it in Turkey..." which is possible, as it could have been put/sent there for sale after the Bausback exhibition.
We asked Peter Bausback what happened to the rug, if it was sold and, if so, to who. He could not remember, or so he told us when we called him to inquire about the rug’s appearance in the 1981 exhibition and catalog.
That conversation and some other pertinent information was posted here on RK.com and you can read it in the "Smoking Gun re: LACMA" Parts I and II here in the "RK's Position Papers On the LACMA Rug Purchase" topic area.
Again, thanks for your post, especially for recounting how dodds offered you the 'Bellini' rug for $135,000 he subsequently pawned off on LACMA for $250,000.
There is an old rug-dealer saying "If it doesn't sell, raise the price" and obviously dodds learned that one, now didn't he.
Although not an expert on 16th century Turkish village rugs, I am a collector of some merit and have a true love for antique weavings and have studied them through texts, museum collections, auctions and extensive handling.
Throughout this journey, I've met many dealers,"experts" and personalities, including the above-refrenced Mr. Dodds.
I cannot say, after reading the tome posted here on Rug Kazbah, that I disagree with much RK has written with respect to the integrity of Mr. D, and would add that none of it surprises me.
My impression based on my interaction with the ICOC president is that he is a fairly intelligent guy whose focus is on the dollar, not on the merits of what he is selling, "collecting", or representing.
Since I myself have been quite fortunate economically speaking, I cannot fault anyone for trying to make a dollar.
My problem with Mr. Dodds is the OUTRAGEOUS over-desciption, over-dating and over-attribution he practices on a regular basis in peddling his wares.
We're not talking about a fellow who is selling 30 rugs a year on ebay for $1200 a crack with a "money back if not satisfied" approach, but someone who represents himself as a true expert in the field and one who is deeply enmeshed in the political hierarchy of the rug world.
Such stature carries with it responsibility; a point I believe is lost on Dodds.
Mr D offerred me the "Bellini" rug now residing in California in 2001 for $135,000, about half the price LACMA paid.
That same day I was offerred a mid-19th century (at best) Tekke main carpet with silk highlights and piled skirts that has been for sale on Cloudband since that time for $60,000(of course Dodds called it c. 1800).
Knowing a bit more about Turkman pieces and their values than their Turkish bretheren, it became clear all was right with Mr. D and I was immediately overcome with the urge to exit with my checkbook still intact.
Other offerings that day included the "world's best" Lori Pombak (still on Cloudband) for $75,000 and a late 19th century Kazak full of sythetic orange and pink with obvious dye run and tip fading for $9500 represented as "mid 19th century"(clearly an $800.00 accent piece).
No doubt some of the rugs in Dodds' possession had merit, but it felt to me like I was being offered several poorly restored vintage Impalas while being told they were in fact rare original condition Ferraris.
I could go on, since I did spend several hours with Mr. Dodds, but I think I've made my point.
Dennis may be a fine architect with a refined sense of spacing and proportion, but I found his base of knowledge with respect to antique rugs underwhelming, his appraisal of the value of his wares so extreme as to defy any semblance of reality, and his tendency toward misrepresentation troubling.
When I attempted to display my nascent knowledge of what similar pieces had previously brought at auction, Mr. Dodds became quiet and informed me that he has little to do with auction houses and that "you should be careful there."
Hmm. I later found it somewhat ammusing that Dodds bought his esteemed Bellini copy at such an auction years earlier.
The entire interaction was not an experience I wish to repeat anytime soon, and for a then fairly novice collector, it was a real bummer.
Dodds was pleasant and all, but something just wasn't right.
Too bad LACMA didn't do a bit of due dilligence prior to their Dodds purchase.
Even a cursory look into similar rugs housed throughout reputable museums would have provided a sorely needed reality check.