The antique oriental rug "market" and collecting area for non-classical rugs is mired in mediocrity.
This is a statement no one, not even the most fervent hali magazine reader or icoc supporter, could possibly refute.
Why is this happening?
Why were things different 20 and 30 years ago?
The answer to these and other similarly poised questions is both simple and highly complex but boiled down to the most generic level one cannot help but place the blame on those who are running the show.
Great antique non-classical rugs are very rare, much too rare to make a real market and because the "market" for them is one based on commercial transactions -- buying and selling -- a tremendous amount of those transactions are far less than they are cracked up to be.
The fact the coming antique oriental rug auctions are filled with "antique" non-classical rugs that are not really interesting or important is nothing new, this also was the case decades ago.
However, the occasional great piece which formerly did appear is no longer there.
Witness the two "collections" that are up for grabs: the broido at Nagel and the risman at Christies.
These two offering fit the mold RK describes -- not one outstanding example mixed in with the fodder.
In that regard they are similar but, and here in lies the difference, the auction team at Nagel was smart and realistic enough to put very low estimates, and presumably reserves, on their goods while Christies rug department seems to have hit the kool-aid punchbowl too much and either drunkingly succumbed to the owner's demands for high estimates, and presumably reserves, or in a state of inebriation allowed their usual good judgment to be over run.
Both of these "collections" are mediocre to the max and RK sees little chance they will preform well.
Nagel's estimates are so low that of course a few of the lots will sell for multiples of their estimates but this does not negate the fact there is not one star among broido's "treasures".
RK met broido and has a good story we could tell to memorialize our memory but this is not a personality contest and we will forgo publicizing it today.
However, this is an assessment of the rugs he "collected" and for this we can only say broido's rugs are at best 6/7's on a scale of 10.
We know the pieces and would not want any of them, even if they were a gift.
Merch like the broido "collection" does not a real collection make; the pieces are mediocre examples, they lack luster and have none of the ingredients great Turkmen rugs exhibit and exude.
And the fact broido had been peddling them for several years, most publicly at the Sartriana event several years ago where they were not supposedly for sale but broido was 'entertaining' offers', without success demonstrates what we say.
Sure, sure the prices were higher when broido was hawking them, and prices are far far less at Nagels, but that does not change the fact broido did not bag any real trophys.
The risman "collection" is very similar, not one great example and because of the absurdly high estimates his collection will not fare nearly as well on the auction block.
We predict a dismal failure, and like we commented mr risman would have been far better off donating his castoff collection to the local museum rather than face the fact his estimation of their worth is both unwarranted and farcical.
Two auctions do not a trend make but they are indicative of a trend RK could spend many words proving.
It all comes down to the fact there are not enough great non-classical antique rugs to make a market.
However, the charade the oriental rug collecting community has invented and continues to believe -- that there are enough -- is as unwarranted and farcical as the estimates on mr risman's "collection" or the belief the broido collection is anything but an assemblage of mediocre examples put together by a bottom-fishing, cheap, sod who knew even less than his nearly empty pocketbook would allow him to buy.
Were thing different merch like that on offer at Nagel and Christies would not find buyers and masterpiece antique non-classical oriental rugs would be selling for prices commensurate with their classical contempories.
RugDumb needs to wake-up to this, and many other facts; however the clarion call has been sounding for years and the deaf ears, and dumb minds, of those in charge have so far prevented change, and in our estimation will continue until they take the dirt nap mr broido has.
It will be interesting to see what happens at Nagel and Christies but regardless of the results they will not change what RK has written here, and many times before.