Home > Archive >Christies Oct 9 sale
Author:robert Wed, Nov 1st, 2006 06:51:24 PM
Topic: Christies Oct 9 sale

RK.Com: Can you please post a picture and perhaps give your impression of Lot 25, the "early 19th C Caucasian" rug, in that sale. It sold to the trade for over $150,000 (EH was the underbidder). Thanks!

Author: jc
Wed, Nov 1st, 2006 06:51:24 PM

Well, Robert, on the surface we’d have to agree with the idea this rug is not worth 150KUS$.

However, on the other side of the coin: If it is (and seemingly at least two people thought it was) this would imply better more genuine weavings should be worth alot more.

There is one thing RK is sure everyone one will agree with and, that is, antique Oriental rugs are severely undervalued when compared to any other art form or collectible.

Therefore, when a situation like the sale of this lot at Christie’s auction produces a rather outstanding result it should come as no surprise to anyone.

We could go on about the mechanics of auction, dealer to dealer and dealer to collector pricing but as we have already written somewhat extensively on these topics they surely need no repeating presently.

However, let us just mention there is always an element of possibility to rig any auction price. Did that happen here? Did the buyer or the seller participate in inflating the price?

RK can surely not answer that question, nor by our mentioning it do we have any information such a possibility transpired in this instance.

But we do know when you have the participation of a buyer who has perpetrated outrageously improper business actions and ethics, as this one has done, anything is possible.

Author: robert
Sun, Oct 29th, 2006 09:49:16 AM

I finally saw the picture of the rug in Christies’ catalogue. My first impression: It possesses a clear, direct, and draftsman-like quality of drawing (although arguably stiff), apparently saturated colors (although limited in their range), and a certain strong-willed character (guts?). However, it appeared not to possess that hidden, almost spiritual, iconography and imagination that one looks for in this type of transitional rug (you know, where purely floral formal are partially transformed into something else, like animal or human forms); nor did it have the sizzle and power of some the earlier Caucasian palmette carpets with their big geometric blossoms and sunbursts, or for that matter, some first half of the nineteenth century “geometrics”. Although I still think it’s a pretty neat rug, it’s not worth anywhere near $150,000.

Author: jc
Sun, Oct 29th, 2006 05:42:20 AM

While we still have not had the opportunity to post a pic of the rug we'd nonetheless like to add a few comments about it.

When we stated the rug did not light up our eyes, we did not mean to imply we thought it was trash. Far to the contrary, however, though we do well know it is valuable and interesting, it is not, in our estimation, worth the price hermann shelled out for it.

We are privy to some behind-the-scenes information which does explain why someone in hermann's definitely unenviable position would dump so many pounds sterling to buy it. As always, there is a story behind the story and when, and if, we can substantiate beyond a reasonable doubt what we believe to be that story we will, of course, publish it here.

So until then any further comments about it's sale price will have to wait.

We will say the design is, to us, stiff as a board -- we rarely, if ever, like mechanically articulated weaving and we doubt anyone, even hermann, could possibly mount a case to the contrary for the rug in question.

Added to that fact and because the coloration was less than as it appeared in the catalog photo. we'd have to remain a disbeliever in the alleged superiority this rug seems to have engendered in many other people's opinions.

Naturally for any collector, or dealer, who is motivated by the stamp collector mentality (which as we all recognize runs through not only the rug collecting universe) the 'uniqueness' the 'design' of this rug possesses might make it the bee's knees.

But, as far as RK is concerned, 'uniqueness' and rarity in and of themselves do not necessarily translate into the factors that make us stand up and take notice of a weaving. They are important factors for sure but, as this case demonstrates, not to be overstated in comparison to the many other virtues that, again in our opinion, must be present in any artwork that sells for the amount this piece made when the auctioneer's hammer hit the block.

Author: Wally Sat, Oct 28th, 2006 01:22:22 PM

Craig, I saw the photo I believe I saw it pre face-lift Many years ago just Curious if same piece Does it matter probably not I find it interisting to follow a rugs history Price before Price after Sometimes you win Sometimes you loose wally

Author: jc
Sat, Oct 28th, 2006 08:42:10 AM

We recently did get a chance to see the rug.

What do we think about it? Well, briefly, we surely would not rate it as highly as Craig Bale did.

In fact, we find it to be stiff and rather boring in the reflective way many other rugs espouse.

We do, of course, recognize it is a rare example though to some, perhaps let us say, more naive eyes it might be otherwise interpreted.

But to ours, it didn´t exactly light them up like the White House Christmas Tree does.

We will post a photo of it here sometime soon and, at that time, discuss our stated opinion at more legnth.

Author: Robert Thu, Oct 26th, 2006 06:38:53 AM

Craig, Strange that although the rug was discussed on the Hali website, it wasn't among the lots pictured. The lots that were shown were pretty uninspiring. Also, I checked the Christies website on line catalogue about a week ago, but by that time all the pictures had already been removed. Guess I'll have to get ahold of the catalogue.

Author: Craig Bale
email: craig@haliden.com
Wed, Oct 25th, 2006 11:42:02 AM

Why bother looking through old magazines? The piece was on the cover of the catologue and illustrated on Christie's website, it is also discused on Hali's website. 2 Major European dealers bid against each other to make the piece a hefty price. Was it worth it? If money was no object, It might well be gracing my living room wall right now!! It was a cracker, perhaps Circa 1800, beautifully drawn and screeming quality, perhaps a shade duller in the flesh than in print but what the hell.... One of the highlights of anotherwise lack-lustre islamic week. Fair play to the buyer I say.

Author: Wally Sun, Oct 22nd, 2006 06:43:24 PM

J.C. That rug rings a bell, or a very similar piece. Sometime in the seventies I saw a photo. I will look through old mags & auction cats. I'm sure I or one of your posters will come up with the photo or a very similar one. Wally

Author: jc
Sun, Oct 22nd, 2006 06:55:20 AM

Greetings Robert:

We do not have a photo of the rug you inquired about to post here and quite frankly when we breezed thru the Christie catalog some time ago nothing interested us. Though, that stated, we will readily admit the possibility we could have overlooked something that could have been important.

So if you or any other reader emails jc@rugkazbah.com a photo of the piece in question, we will be glad to answer your query.

By the way, you are not the first person to ask for our views of the piece but, to tell you the truth, we are so involved with other matters our desire to chase rugs at auction is close to nil.

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