Home > Archive >Carpet-Baggers, more on dodds
Mon, Jun 4th, 2007 01:38:10 PM
Topic: Carpet-Baggers, more on dodds

(ed: Here is a post we wrote in 2005 where and when we called dodds's self-proclaimed credentials into question and then, in response to a reader's email about dodds, re-released the history of dodds's "Bellini".

That history, and other important facts as well, were never related to the buyer by dodds.


Well, let's just say had dodds been truthful, he never would have been able to lie and cheat his way into convincing the Los Angeles County Art Museum's(LACMA) now retired curator, dale gluckman, to present the rug to the Museum's "Collector's Committee" for purchase.

It is amazing dodds continues to be held in high regard by many in rugdom.

But what is even more alarming is the way hali magazine and the icoc/acor executive committees have avoided and shunned discussion of this vitally important issue.

RK has characterized dodds as a serial over-dater, liar, and over-charger and we will continue to do so until he is forced to account for his transgressions.

Rugdom is in sad shape, it's thumbs up approach to issues like dodds's sale to LACMA of a rug the entire rug market place refused to purchase for a decade or so is just one of the many topics in dire need of readjustment.

The words below are not only as valid as they were back then but, considering nothing has been done to rectify rugdom's silence, even more pertinent today)


We have characterized dennis dodds, the seller of the now controversial “Bellini” rug, as a carpetbagger of major proportions.

We first met dodds in 1973 or 1974 and have had a number of contacts with him up to circa 2000. Since then we have not had any contact with him, except a few brief telephone calls, and that hiatus in relations was entirely our doing, not dodds’s.

We have had in our possession the email published below, one that dodds wrote to solicit business from someone in Great Britain, for many months and have decided to release it publicly.

We have total assurance the email is genuine and, in fact, we have several others dodds also wrote to this same individual.

We believe publishing them now will provide further proof of dodds’s penchant for bending his abundant interest in commercial activity and trying to hide behind a shield of “academics”.

We do not doubt he is a trained architect but we do absolutely doubt his characterizing himself as “…someone who has been active in the non-commercial, academic aspects of this field for some 30 years.”, as he brazenly states below. Clearly dodds intent is to impress clients and to down play his interests in selling them overpriced merchandise for exorbitant prices.

RK.com has the goods on dodds and we will continue to call into question his fallacious claims and dubious statements he is an “academic” rather than an out and out “dealer”.

We will also vigorously call into question his expertise as a “rug expert” and continue to prove our assertions with fact.

Here is the email dodds wrote. Read it and draw your own conclusions, which will no doubt coincide with our characterizations and not those of mr dodds.

"Hello Mr.*******,

Thank you for your kind message and for your interest in my providing you a suitably important carpet.

The early Anatolian carpet on Cloudband, c. 1600 was purchased by the prestigious Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA). It now joins their famous and exquiste(sic) 16c Ardabil Persian carpet, the mate of which in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I have several pieces in my collection that might be of interest to you, dating mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of these are currently posted on Cloudband, but many are not. Many have been published and all carry my guarantee of authenticity backed by my reputation not only as a dealer, but more importantly, as you see in my bio, as someone who has been active in the non-commercial, academic aspects of this field for some 30 years.

I would be pleased to discuss your goals, your likes and dislikes about patterns, color, condition, etc., and thoughts on how you wish to proceed. As I am located in Philadelphia, perhaps we could exchange messages concerning these points. Depending on your travel schedule, a meeting here could be arranged, at which time I could personally show you some very special pieces that I have available.

It is also possible that I could bring a selected piece or two to the UK for your approval.

Much has been said by others about the high artistic standard of carpets I sell.

My architectural background has served me well in training my eye and refining my taste. I would be delighted to make these skills and keen sense of esthetic observation available to you.

I look forward to hearing from you further.

Yours sincerely,

Dennis Dodds"

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Jun 4th, 2007 01:38:10 PM

In the email dodds wrote to a prospective customer in England he proudly states the following:

"Many have been published and all carry my guarantee of authenticity backed by my reputation not only as a dealer, but more importantly, as you see in my bio, as someone who has been active in the non-commercial, academic aspects of this field for some 30 years."

Clearly dodds is lying again, otherwise now that his best spending client ever, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, has learned almost everything included in dodds's sales pitch to its curator was nothing more than a bogus bill of goods, he should take the rug back and return the $250,000 purchase price.

Let's remember, dodds tried in vain to sell that rug and, for a decade or more, no one in rugdom was interested.

Let's also remember dodds offered the rug to other buyers for less than LACMA paid. In fact, we have heard from reliable sources dodds offered it to one person for $135,000(price to a retail buyer) and even $85,000 to a trade buyer.

Guess dodds follows that old rug dealer adage: "If it doesn't sell raise the price."

There is little doubt dodds's silence and/or his lack of reply to any of the disturbing points about this sale raised here on RugKazbah.com proves his culpability and lack of any seriously credible defense.

When will rugdom wake up and send dodds packing?

Author: Tony
Fri, Dec 16th, 2005 08:37:23 PM

RK Replies:

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.


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