Home > Archive >London Spring Sales: re hali
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Tue, Apr 24th, 2007 12:16:24 PM
Topic: London Spring Sales: re hali

It is abundantly obvious there are no longer any bright bulbs of rug expertise shining at hali.

The editor’s swivel-chair is now being filled by, at best, a jimmy olsen; surely no superman.

Gone are the days when the hali staff had Ian Bennett to shoulder a workload of trying to make sense of both the quality of rugs on the market and, even more important, what the market’s direction might portend.

Even when mr self-importance al, aka markupsome, marcuson was editor, the quality of reportage was way ahead of today’s version.

Then, during daniel, aka hamburger-danny, schaeffer’s spell as editor, the downdraft of quality reporting and editorializing increased pace and led to the miserable situation anyone in the know now faces when reading what is supposedly rug-world central, the ground-zero of rugdom.

We might agree on the zero part but would never be wont to bestow any accolades on what hali has turned into.

Please note we cite the above only to once again put into context how deficient hali’s efforts concerning historic rugs have become.

Let’s all remember this was/is their core; a raison d’etre and the one this magazine would have us all believe is their métier.

Sadly, it isn’t and the increasing appearance of totally unrelated Tribal Art articles, ones on basically equally as obtuse and often recent world textiles, plus the paeans to new rug producers and their “antiques of the future” has turned hali into a smorgasbord instead of the highly focused and informative journal it was intended to be.

Today, on their website, a “review” of the London Spring Sales tells us the following:

A successful day at Christie’s carpet sale on Monday 16th April was followed by a rather more lacklustre day at Bonhams and Sothebys. After the good results at Christie’s and the prosperous December sales in New York this is slightly disappointing. Is everyone busy focusing on ICOC in Istanbul, which starts this week, or did the results reflect the carpets on offer?”

Yesshhh, come on now jimmy olsen, can’t you do better than that, boy?

Haven’t you been clued into the fact: If the merch were better bidders would have been bidding away regardless of the fact they were in Istanbul or on the moon? Great rugs get bids at auction.

The reason sotheby and the others had crap results was the old: “Garbage in, garbage out” paradigm.

Christie’s did well because the quality of the lots on offer was high enough to create interest – the other auction houses fell on the faces because their goods were nothing special.

We’ll just leave it here with the small mention that times are tough, buyers are picky and the economics worldwide are not expanding but contracting. All of which equals the fact unless a piece is superior, it will not sell or will only sell at a reduced price.

This is the fact of life for today’s rug market, as well as most others.

If hali’s inability to say anything cogent about the market wasn’t bad enough, their growing failure to say anything cogent about rugs on the market is far worse.

Witness this brief bit of palaver about lot 66 at sotheby:

“Lot 66, a wonderful 16th century Ushak carpet fragment (incorrectly labelled Karapinar) also failed to find a home with a fair estimate of £35-45,000.)”

Here is the photo:

The issue, for this rug and many other rugs, “Is it a Karapinar or not” is surely one that reams could be written about.

In fact, RK has already expressed our position on this ever timely issue and suggest readers unfamiliar with what we wrote some years ago view the six part series called “Karapinar Rugs : Facts and Myths” in the Turkish Rug Topic Area on RugKazbah’s discussion board.

Since we did not handle lot 66, nor do we have photos good enough to use, we will not discuss whether this example was or was not made in Karapinar.

But we will be glad to counter the ridiculous assertion hali’s review forwards concerning its estimate, 35-45,000 pounds (about 70-90,000 dollars).

Call that fair? For who, the owner? It’s surely not aimed at any possible punter, at least according to RK.

We can, however, easily imagine that person, the owner, is a good friend of hali or even closer because otherwise RK is sure such an absurd benediction would never have been offered.

No, folks, hali is atrophied and unless they suddenly wake-up to that fact and get some real expertise printed between those glossy cover pages they will find themselves with a magazine that has even less purpose than it does today.

And that’s pretty purposeless, unless you might be the owner of that unsold lot 66 who can now proudly show how a $70-$90,000 auction estimate was righteous, albeit only to the rug-air-head at hali who scribbled it.

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