After meeting munkacsi and, over the next months when we were in NYC, proceeding to have some talks with him about historic rugs, particularly Turkmen, , RK learned he was quite conversant with rugworld terminology, had read/looked at some of the literature, and saw his collection.
At that point in time it was not very impressive; a fact we were not very surprised about considering his “expert” was peter saunders.
This is not the time to discuss this proven thief and rug world miscreant but we will sometime turn our attentions to mr saunders, whose real name is not saunders but mueller.
We also learned from munkacsi during this period that he was interested in buying "great pieces" and, in that regard, asked us to offer him ones we might have or know about.
To make a long story short we decided to try him out and offered him the two "S" group pieces that did not sell at the TENT BAND COLLECTION sale.
After some serious bargaining, we struck a deal with munkacsi, and he gave us several post dated checks and we handed over the two chuval.
Well, not even a week later we got a call from munkacsi who said there was" a problem" and we needed to “meet immediately” to discuss it.
When we did munkacsi told us "My wife will not allow me to buy these rugs and the deal is off unless you can lower the prices".
At that moment in time we were in a somewhat tight spot financially, which was what motivated us to sell the 2 chuval to munkacsi in the first place.
So we were forced to "re-negotiate" a deal that was already done and allowed munkacsi to pay us about 35 percent less than our agreement, and his post-dated checks, reflected.
Needless to say this left a rather bad taste in RK's taste buds and we avoided any contact with him for quite a while.
Sorry but we don't remember exactly how we got back on "speaks" with him, but we did, and although we did not trust munkacsi after his "my wife wont let me buy them" act we still did some small biz with him.
Once again, on one of these purchases but on a much small level, munkacsi demanded after buying something that we either give him back his money or re-negotiate.
This time we did neither, but to keep peace in the barnyard, arranged to “trade” him something else for the piece he bought, but then changed his mind about.
After this second incident we rarely called munkacsi until we heard about his trying to re-assemble an early Tauk Nauska main carpet we had bought in the early 1970’s and, because it was so severely worn, damaged and fragmented, we cut up into a number of smaller fragments.
This main carpet became quite famous because, over the years, we gave away many of the fragments to rug collector “friends” of ours.
Unbeknownst to RK a number of the “friends” we gave the fragments to sold them without even telling us!.
We were completely in the dark about this until someone showed us a fragment, we had given to someone else, and asked us if we knew that munkacsi was buying up all the fragments of the main carpet he could.
We then called munkacsi and learned this was a fact and, after he offered to let us see the ones he had acquired, we visited munkacsi, for the first time in a long time, and did just that.
After talking with him about his “project” to acquire all the fragments he could, we told him we saved the best, choicest, hunk and if he wanted we would offer it to him.
Of course we made it clear there would be no chance for him to “revise” the price once he had agreed to buy it and that there would be no return as well.
He agreed and we made an appointment to show it to him.
Here is a picture of the entire fragment, a detail of which is above.
By the way, this piece still remains in our collection and except for the offer to munkacsi, had never been for sale before, or since.
There was no surprise when munkacsi’s eyes lit up upon seeing it, nor was there any surprise when his face shrank upon hearing our price for it.
He tried and tried to get us to sell it for less but frankly we had decided that unless he paid a premium price for it we would not let it go. And we didn’t.
To this day we often wonder why munkacsi would rather spend far more buying up all the small and rather unimpressive fragments(we did offer and sell him some we re-acquired from “friends” we had given them to), which when added together were more expensive than buying the best piece from us would have been.
We all know questions like that are unanswerable, however, munkacsi’s penchant for being a “cheap” buyer, bargainer and re-negotiator of deals he already agreed to surely aren’t – they show a lot about him, his personality, and ethics.
After showing him the Tauk Nauska fragment we didn’t bother to see munkacsi again for quite a long time but several years later we did have our final go-round with this pompous, overstuffed shirt of a rug collector.
We arranged to meet munkacsi in his office and started to show him some digital pictures of rugs we had acquired for our collection – they were not for sale.
When we got up to go to the toilet, we left munkacsi sitting in front of our laptop computer with the case shut but the computer still on.
We did a quick pit stop in his office bathroom and returned to munkacsi’s office to find him going through the files in our computer.
Yes, that’s right, thinking we were going to be longer in the toilet than we were, munkacsi opened up our laptop and started going through our files and hard drive.
Seeing this, we instantly went over to his desk where he was sitting and, while he was mouthing some "excuses" as to why he was messing with our laptop, we grabbed our laptop, shut it, and walked out of his office, never to return again.
We did have one more go-round with him after a several year hiatus and visited him in his apartment in TriBeca. But that visit, while pleasant, was only to see some of the rugs we had heard he had acquired since our last time viewing them; we offered him nothing, nor would we ever after his unauthorized viewing of our computer files.
Since then we have had no contact with munkacsi, except for the phone call we placed to him on Saturday last.
But we are now out of time for today and will, in the third and final installment of our munkacsi outing, explain a bit more why we are publishing this at this time.
So stay tuned, more to come…