Home > Turkmen Rugs >"Salor" Engsi@grogan auction
Sat, Jun 8th, 2019 08:20:04 AM
Topic: "Salor" Engsi@grogan auction

RK has always been interested in the machinations of those involved at the supposed upper echelons of rugDUMB.

Don’t get us wrong, and mis-interpret what we just said: We have always been more interested in the weavings than the machinations that surround them and bring them to market.

The well-known upper echelon auction houses that sell rugs are, perhaps, far more prone to machination than the dealers who operate from shoppes or their bedroom closets.

For instance, RK has often lambasted detlef maltzahn of rip-on bozwell for his stupid and inane catalog entries, besides his sometimes pulling bids off the back wall and ceiling.

However he, like other auctioneers, cannot really do much as German law provides strong and immutable guidelines that must be followed. So do the laws in many other places where leading auction houses are selling rugs.

Likewise, RK has critiqued and poked our finger of ridicule at michael grogan who is, in our opinion, even more a rug-stooge than maltzahn.

There is no doubt grogan is very ambitious and has been successful.

His auction house can be easily described as being rather low key, might we say down market, not the least for being located in a somewhat crumbling downtown center of an affluent suburb of Boston where, we are sure, few locals visit except to buy some cigs or a Sunday paper.

But from this plebian pedestal grogan has been able to score some big hits. That said they have not often been in rugs but in the other decorative goods he auctions.

Frankly, we can’t stand pompous, know-little rug clowns (in our opinion grogan is a major one) and our former friendly relations with grogan finally disintegrated some 5 years or so ago when we just could not continue to listen to his sputtering on about what a rug expert he is, or should we say thinks he is.

Anyway, this is not a personality contest but we felt it necessary to put into perspective what follows.

In the state of Massachusetts auctioneers are allowed to auction items that they own, or have an outright interest in, without revealing this in the catalog or any other publicly accessible place.

RK thinks this stinks but it is the law and mr grogan has definitely taken advantage of it.

And yes profited from it nicely.

We are not going to go into the nitty-gritty of discussing why we believe this stinks to high heaven, as even a dim-wit knows it creates a situation that is blatantly unfair to bidders.

OK, then, enough preamble, let’s get into the meat of our message.

But first let’s also mention another auction issue we also think stinks – the purposely placing stupid and absurdly low estimates by auctioneers on items they know will sell for many multiples of those prices.

This is especially obnoxious when the auctioneer, or cataloguer, is experienced enough to know how foolish such an estimate looks but, regardless, does it anyway.

Such is the case with the lead item in grogan’s May 22 rug sale, a “Salor” engsi, lot 805, at 10-20,000 usd.

RK has seen a number of pictures of it but we still do not know if the knot is asymmetric open right or left.

Obviously neither does grogan as his catalog blurb omits this most pertinent piece of information.

We won’t waste our time critiquing his naïve and simpleton catalog entry but we do question what consignor would be stupid enough to allow a valuable property like this to be so poorly estimated?

Now then, estimates do not make an auction price but in rugDUMB where active rings of buyers often pool together to buy valuable items it is far more than prudent to place a well-put reserve, and not an absurdly low one, to protect such an item.

Nor will we get into the sticky ball of wax as to why some auctioneers, and mr grogan is definitely in this group, believe it makes them look good when a stupidly estimated item sells for many multiples of that price.

In our eyes this is not a feather in anyone’s cap but rather one in their eye.

Again, since grogan fancies himself a rug-expert his dopey estimate on the engsi is both embarrassingly dumb and clearly foolish. Period, end of discussion.

There is, though, perhaps another reason grogan has done this but first before we venture into hypothesis let’s stay on terra firma.

Another lot RK would like to question is this Chinese saddle cover.

While its carries the same estimate, 10-20,000 usd, which is correctly positioned, grogan does not, nor does he have to according the Massachusetts law, reveal he was at one time the owner of it and, according to our feeling, still is.

We know for a fact grogan bought this, through a proxy bidder, at a small auction, Douglass Auctions, in western Massachusetts about 2 years or so ago.

We know this because someone who spoke to us was offered it for at first 50,ooo usd and then the price kept going down until grogan got to 26,000 usd.

Our informant did not buy it and now he has a good chance to get it.

So all you race fans planning on attending grogans May 22 auction listen carefully as grogan auctions it off.

Now, we recognize, it is possible grogan sold it and that buyer placed it back on the block with him, but we will bet dollars to donut-holes this is not the case and grogan still owns it.

By the way, the price it sold for at Douglass was 6,750 usd plus premium, if we remember correctly.

There is also another interesting lot on offer -- this, mistakenly pictured upside down, “Salor” torba fragment.

lot 807, previously sold at the Bradley auction in 2005 for 14,375 usd including premium

RK attended and carefully previewed the sale and this torba as well.

We also wrote about it here on RugKazbah.com and you can read our report at this url

It has an asymmetric knot open right, which in our book makes it far less valuable than were it open left. It also has other connotations.

And while this distinction does not qualify it for the esteemed “S” group provenance, it does however place this torba among the later examples of what we like to call pseudo - “S” group weaving.

Regardless, we don’t find it beautiful or important but we are pretty sure it will make more than the high estimate this time around.

By the way, it was purchased at the Bradley sale by beau ryan who swore to us several times he bought it for someone and made a commission for doing so.

Was that person michael grogan?

Again we’d be pretty willing to bet those dollars against anyone’s donut-holes it was, as ryan and grogan are often working together.

So now the facts seem to imply michael grogan is the owner of two of the more interesting pieces in the sale.

So is he also the owner of the “Salor” engsi?

We will be glad to bet at even odds he is, for this explains why the engsi carries such a low estimate – grogan knows he can protect it from the auctioneer’s podium, which is pretty much as sure a thing as can be it will not sell for the estimated pittance.

It is patently clear the engsi is the most important rug to be offered in the coming sales and RK is already on record in private conversation predicting it will sell for 125,000 usd.

So let us now go on public record and say 125,000 usd will be the bottom and it might even bust the record and sell for more than 175,000 usd.

Let us add that will only happen if:

1. it is asymmetric open left
2. it has brilliant color and enough pile height to capture light and reflect it to create the “metallic” surface all big money “S” group pieces display.

Making such a prediction is childs-play considering the fact there are several hot-to-trot Turkmen buyers and their penchant to pay high prices, much higher than they would pay in private, at auction is now undoubtedly established.

Witness the price Hamburg’s gay blade, Turkomania obsessed bedroom and consignor to his local rug shoppe dealer hans sienknecht paid for the worn out, allegedly early, “S” group torba at rip-on bozwell last year.

Anyway, we have seen almost every other lot grogan is selling and none of them are worth our pen.

That said, we have not seen or heard about everything and should something else of merit appear be sure you will read about it here first.

In closing, if we are correct and grogan does own all these pieces, it changes little but it does in our opinion demonstrate a rather dishonest, but legal, situation where he, as auctioneer, is selling his own goods and not telling any prospective bidder this is the case.

Emptor caveat, Turkmen rug collecting paddle wavers….

Author: Giulio
email: dedrael@libero.it
Thu, Mar 21st, 2019 08:19:16 AM

Dear JC,honestly I can't understand why Salor trapping with open right knotting shouldn't be part of S group.As Rageth says in his latest book roughly 25% of known Salor production is open right therefore much rarer and all late pieces are open left.Plate 5 of Rageth's is a clear example of fantastic two med's trapping,surely 18th century(only lac red,no madderon both wool and silk) and open right knotting. I don't want contradict you but only express my humble opinion. Have another question to you:how do you think to consider Salor Kejebe/Darwaza hangings as funerary ornament.Somehow they remind me of the shape of an altar,especially the type with T shape and I image them hanging on the side of a hearse like the body of the Khan was lying on the top of this supposed altar.Have also other personal theory about the internal design of Kejebe/Darwaza but let's go step by step. Thanks in advance,Giulio.

Author: Beau Ryan
email: beauryan@rareelements.com
Sun, May 22nd, 2011 06:27:32 AM

RK Replies:

Well, bobo, you have now re-earned that moniker by posting the cry-baby bullshit below.

Taking advantage of Chris Hunt, etc?

Please, bobo, get real and quit taking those "mood drugs" you get from your friendly, feel-good Dr. Robert (thanks to the Beatles and John Lennon, remember him, who wrote a song about the good 'script doctor Dr. Robert).

But we digress.

You are the one who has tried to bamboozle Hunt and now you are trying to bamboozle RK.

Tsk, tsk, son, but RK has eyes wide open and you are lying through your dental work that you did not post here as "Salamalekum ".

We do not have the time to teach you the ins and outs of IP address identification, or trying to mask it.

But take it from us it would be impossible for anyone else but you to have impersonated your IP address the other day when the "Salamalekum " post appeared and for you to have posted today as yourself from that same address.

As we said, bobo, you are BUSTED and you have only to admit you lied to regain even a modicum of honesty.

Refusing to do so and continuing to try and lie your way out will only make you look even more stupid and guilty. But you seem to like egg on your face.....

What else can we say about your character, since you prove consistently to know nothing about a antique rug?

Well, how about this: Your welching, that means weaseling out, on the wager you proposed originally.

Remember I asked what donuts were worth when you made the offer.

So now you want to bet at even money.

Frankly, we don't need your 100 dollars, nor you our donuts. But hell you eat donuts, don't cha?

RK has not eaten a donut since long before we met you, and you were then in short pants.

So, Mr Ryan, you need to come clean, admit you lied and then we will be glad to continue this exchange.

If you don't, no problem...the proof is here for anyone, and everyone, to see.

And it is proof positive that is admissible in a court of law.


Do something about it if you are so sure we are wrong and quit posturing and flapping your lower jaw.


You are truly a legend in your own mind Jack. You always have been.....all the way back to the 70's when I first met you. I don't care how good your software is, I didn't make that first post so I don't give a shit what you say about it. Oh and something else Jack. Regarding Chris. He has more balls (something of which you have none) and a better eye than you ever will!!! He has problems to and I'm not saying anything here that I haven't talked directly with Chris about so you've got nothing to say about that. And you have tried (as you always do with anyone new) tried to take advantage of Chris as well. You should be ashamed, but despite the fact that you know what "pastiche" means you certainly don't know what "shame" is. Last......you said "the ensi won't sell for more than $60K. I'll bet you 100 US dollars you are incorrect. Take the bet or don't.

Author: jc
Sun, May 22nd, 2011 06:26:45 AM

RK replies to Beau Ryan's comments appear in the post just below this one.

However, we need to reiterate we have 100 percent proof Ryan is lying when he says he did not post here several days ago as "Salamalekum".

Author: Beau Ryan
email: beauryan@rareelements.com
Sun, May 22nd, 2011 02:56:45 AM

RK Replies:

Greeting Mr Ryan:

Here's a couple of straight answers to your convoluted comments.

1. Posting a picture of a quarter or a half, or even the entire Tekke engsi RK used for comparison is unnecessary, as the details are large and clear enough to make the points we presented.

2. The owner of the engsi does not wish to have it published at this time and RK must respect that wish.

3. If you were half as knowledgeable about Turkmen rugs, or any other type for the matter, you would not need to see more, so forget that one.

4. We did not "lambast" you in any regard. We wrote what we believe about you, and those beliefs are proven from your actions.

We have said the same to your face, and on the phone with you a number of times, so quit belly-aching and go learn something to support your over-arched rug-ego instead of parading it in private and now in public.

You, like grogan, believe you know alot...sorry, sir, RK does not agree.

You have over the years proven to us you know little and yakety yak alot.

5. If our agent did make the big mistake of mis-identifying the structure, so be it.

We already have partially divorced our comments from 100 percent belief, go read what we wrote instead of yakety yaking away.

And, get this, we did not on the phone say it is 1850. Our position has never changed we believe it to be 1800 plus. Period.

6. Regardless of the structure the WH, aka grogan, engsi is a late example; and even if you, or anyone else, does not believe the comparisons we have posted in Part I and II, there will very soon be a Part III go read it.

Failing to believe everything we have written does not change the fact it differs, and differs radically, from any other "Salor" engsi, "S" group or not.

And this, dear Beau, is the most pertinent and salient issue to prove it is, as we say, late in the type.

Here's a tip: All the differences from the already well-defined form the WH engsi exhibits are derivative -- none of them is archetypal, prototypical or even noteworthy.

This bodes poorly for anyone's case as to why it is "early".

7. And speaking of early why don't you, sailor grogan, or anyone else who disagrees with our prognosis that the WH engsi is a middle period, late version post some documentation, instead of yakety yaking why they believe it is.

Talk is cheap, Beau, and your post is not even two cents worth.

Go put some documentation and support together instead of mouthing worthless platitudes to it and unsubstantiated declarations it is "early".

8. Lastly, whatever price it brings later today does not prove anything either way. It just proves what a few turko-ruggies wanna spend for it, or who they believe or don't.

And the "bet" you offered on the phone was dollars to donuts it would sell for 125,000 dollars plus.

So we will take you up on your wager and bet you 100 donuts to 100 US dollars the WH engsi does NOT sell for more than a HAMMER PRICE, EXCLUDING any premium, of $125,000.

Post your acceptance of the bet here before the auction starts.

PS: and the IP address of the person who posted the comments located to Concord Mass, USA.

That's where you live and have your shoppe, right?


We have great software, beau, but like anything on the net can be tricked but it would be completely 100 percent impossible for anyone else but you to have posted both message from the exact same ip address.

Here is it for your information:

So you have been busted, boy, and there is absolutely nothing you can do now except admit you lied about not posting here before.


First of all Jack, let's clarify a couple of things. Number one, I did not write the comment you claim that I wrote, in fact as I mentioned on the PHONE when you called me yesterday, I haven't looked at your site for 2-3 years until today. Number two, I don't care what you have to say about me, because you are two-faced and asking me to send you pictures of things that I have for sale in private while lambasting me in public is so opposite what you claim to be. Number three, as you asked me on the phone, and as I will say for the last time, and I will bet you anything you want.......the piece is open left, PERIOD. Anyone who knows structure even basically could tell you that and as I also told you, the piece is woven upside down, which is why whatever bozo you sent to look at it probably couldn't even figure that out and told you it was open right. The piece might be 1800, it might also be 1750 or even earlier. Funny you say 1800 now, but on the phone with me you said 1850. It's a great and unprecedented piece Jack.......your little drawings are absurd to compare the negative space to these elements. And I don't believe for one second that the actual elements exist in your 'rare Tekke ensi' which is very nice, but show a picture of a quarter of the ensi with those elements and I'll believe it. I don't own the ensi, nor have an interest in it except it is an exceptional piece. Lastly Jack...........find another word besides "pastiche"...you way over use it to the point where your criticisms using that word have no meaning or credibility. Too you, everything is a pastiche. You, my friend are a pastiche! Well this IS Beau Ryan signing off for another 3 year break......I won't miss it. Oh and you said to me on the phone the piece will bring $60,000. I'll bet you anything you want you are wrong on that as well.....$140,000-$180,000.

Author: Va alekumassalam Thu, May 19th, 2011 03:33:40 PM

Salamalekum? OK, if that is your name, it seems to me that the Salor belongs to you! Discrediting Chris, really won't help you much and its really low of you. If, you like so much why are you embaracing him publicly. I think I know who you are, and shame on you.

Author: Salamalekum
email: 12345@lifetime.com
Thu, May 19th, 2011 04:42:13 AM

RK Replies:

Forget about your dollars to donuts bet, we'll take this one.

How about we bet the writer is none other than bo-bo, aka beau ryan?

Plus, whether or not it is woven upside down, it is still open right.

You never knew anything about structure, bo-bo, and we see you haven't improved.

Let's all remember it was you who bought that garish, late and overpriced pseudo-"S" group torba fragment at the Bradley sale for your master michael grogan.

It's lot 807 in the sale and it looks no better here than it did at the Bradley sale.

Guess grogan got tired of owning it, huh, and figured it was time to cash it out, along with a number of other Turkmen pieces RK opines he owns and will be selling on Sunday.

Just to mention again it's open right, can't you learn from your mistakes?

...tsk tsk, dummy.

And here's another erroneous statement -- our correspondent is not chris hunt.

He's as lost in the sauce as you are bo-bo.

RK suggests you get another crystal ball and while yer at it learn how to read.

We made the price guess before we found out it is open right, you twit.

Yesshhhh, three strikes and you're out, bo-bo.

And please don't come back to the plate until you have thoroughly cleaned the dripping egg and whatever else you ate for breakfast off your completely unjustified, zoloft induced, smirking face.

PS: And, bo-bo, if it is, as you claim, woven upside-down then that's just another item that doesn't bode well for it.

RK suggests, if you like it so much, you buy it and start your own engsi collection...



Who give a shit Jack. You, who supposedly "collect" the best Ensi's, would be wise to get off your ass and come over and take a look at the piece. It's open left and it's woven upside down. I'd bet you dollars to donuts that it's 17th century at earliest and 18th century at latest. You're a jealous person. I like the paradoxical position that you would recommend buying it for dirt, but it's going to bring between $125,000 and $175,000, perhaps the only smart thing you've said in here. Also, having Chris Hunt as your "eye in the sky" is like the blind leading the idiotic. While we like Chris a lot, he has a significant substance abuse problem in addition to lacking the knowledge to tell you whether a piece is open right, left, or any other way.

Author: jc
Sat, May 14th, 2011 10:34:14 AM

RK has someone going to see the WH engsi in person and as soon as they report back to us we will clue everyone in.

By the way, we have privately said we believe it is asymmetric, open right, which would mean it is not "S" group but some other open right weaving group.

Frankly, we have never seen an open right-er, or pseudo-"S" group as we like to call them, we like.

We have worked out our research explaining where and how some of the iconography on the engsi was developed, and as soon as have the structural info in hand we will publish it.

So stay tuned...

Author: jc
Sun, May 8th, 2011 03:27:20 AM

As soon as we saw the first pictures of the "grogan" engsi we became very curious about some of the aspects, better to call them inconsistencies, this piece exhibits.

Since then we have been working on trying to explain them.

After all from RK's viewpoint all Turkmen weavings exist in a rather closed universe where a form is repeated with the earliest examples displaying the least amount of degeneration and the later ones far more.

This allows each genre and specific type of weaving to be placed on a continuum of similar examples and to be relatively dated. This process of using a continuum also makes researching each type calculable and explainable.

The "grogan" engsi is atypical for the form.

And we know of no other which has such a variance from that form.

To a naive viewer this makes it "earlier" and "significant". However, this is not necessarily the case and in this instance RK now has enough evidence to definitively, well as definitively as any rug study can be, to negate any such thought.

We will over the next days publish our evidence and leave it to those who read it to decide on their own whether or not we are correct.

One thing we will say right of the bat is we do not believe the "grogan" engsi is among the earliest examples of the type.

That said we also do not believe it is among the latest -- fact is we see it as middle period for the type.

We also must state we do not believe the type itself, aka "S" group engsi, are particularly early Turkmen weavings, as compared to others particularly to some engsi we know.

The homogeneity they display, the lavish use of silk knotting and the unnecessary two level warp structure all have convinced us these engsi are not outrageously old.

One last comment: RK believes we have seen, and in fact we own, several Turkmen weavings that are 16th and even 15th century.

Why and how do we make such a claim?

Basically because we have been able to prove this through comparative analysis with many of the now known examples of their type.

Also regardless of the fact RK does not put much faith in carbon-dating results for Turkmen and other oriental rugs, especially those which are not Classical and have not been preserved in special conditions which limit their contamination, some C14 results have indicated the possibility such early dating is possible.

The inconsistencies the "grogan" displays have given RK the opportunity to flex our Turkmen research skills and we believe our conclusions will provide some food for thought among those who are knowledgeable and open-minded.

Author: jc
Thu, May 5th, 2011 09:47:01 AM

Give them rope and they'll invariably proceed to hang themselves.

Today turko-clown michael grogan put a photo of the "Salor" engsi he is selling on rugrabid.com with the following description:

" Rare Salor Ensi, Turkestan, c. 1800, 5 feet 10 inches x 4 feet 4 inches (lot 805); Recently discovered in a New York home, this rug is one of only ten know Ensi rugs from the Salor Tribe of East Turkestan."

Hello, mr grogan, you are not only a turko-clown, thou art proving thy self to be worse, a turko-dummy:

1. Since when are there "only 10 know(sic) Engsi rugs of the Salor tribe"?

2. While RK can excuse your spelling error, it should read known not know, we cannot excuse your turko-stupidity in making such a dumbass statement.

Plus, you turko-twit, the Salor "tribe" is not from East Turkestan and would be far more properly referred to as the Salor confederation.

3. Several days ago RK read on your website the engsi was "discovered" in a "family's home" home in the Town of West Hampton on Long island and now you claim it was New York.

Sure, sure West Hampton is in the state of New York but how about getting the facts straight, or not even bothering to list them? After all, no one asked.

Me thinks, mr grogan, you'd better stick to selling sofas, mediocre paintings and other "decorative" tschakas, you're lost in the rug-game, sonny.

Need we also mention until you get either smart enough to figure it out, or find someone who is, and tell all of us whether the knot is asymmetric open right or left, all your efforts to milk the last dollar from selling it will be somewhat in vain.

Lastly, even though RK has not spoken to you in many years we are still pretty sure you are still mis- pronouncing "Salor"(Sa-lore) as "Sailor"(Say-lore) you turk0-schmuck -- how about trying to get it right since you're trying to auction one, OK?

And did you "discover" it? Or did the "family"?

And is it yours, theirs or someone else's?

All pertinent questions you should answer, and comments you should really take to heart... even if you do not chose to write in here and answer them, and us, in public.

Author: jc
Wed, May 4th, 2011 01:34:46 PM

We have now seen the rest of the pieces grogan is selling and can definitively state there are no others worth our time.

What is far more interesting will be how grogan reacts to what RK has written.

We are pretty sure he will ignore commenting, something that should only be interpreted as confirming what we have written.

Silence is consent and were roles reversed rest assured RK would not hesitate to set the record straight...but, then again, if we are correct grogan's silence means he has no evidence, nor can he take any position, to set the record straight and counter what we have written.

We must restate: The law in Massachusetts allows an auctioneer to auction his own items without notifying bidders, so if grogan does own those pieces he is legally entitled to sell them.

But as far as we are concerned this is immoral, for it sets up a paradigm of deceit and removes what little shreds of being a fair broker between seller and buyer the auction process might imply.

Many years ago RK said the "Auction room has become the casino of our time" and how true that is.

We all know the only one who consistently, make that always, wins in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or Monte Carlo is the casino -- every gambler's hand is stacked against him by house odds before he starts to play.

And when an auctioneer, like grogan, is allowed by Law not to reveal ownership of the items he is selling he, too, is benefitting from a highly stacked deck.

Perhaps our comparison is not exactly correct but the more you think about it, we are sure, the more you will agree.

So let RK challenge grogan, who we know is a reader of our site, to come out and either acknowledge our assertions are correct or incorrect.

Again, were roles reversed we would not need someone to challenge us -- we would defend our position or, and here is where men are separated from mice, admit it is indefensible.

Just in case grogan has been too busy to read this, RK will now email a link to this thread and sit back wait...and we will report back to our readers what happens.

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