Home > JC'S Corner >On being number two in a field of two
Author:jc
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Mon, Sep 23rd, 2013 02:21:18 AM
Topic: On being number two in a field of two

The latest issue of “Carpet Collector” magazine is out and RK just had the chance to peruse it.

Frankly we are having trouble comprehending why RugDumb needs Tim Steinert’s, the head-honcho, publisher and editor, attempt to become the Avis of RugDumb glossy periodicals, remember the slogan “we try harder”?

And considering that RugDumb's Hertz, “we’re number one” aka that rag hali, is so superior in every way it’s neigh-on impossible for Steinert to mount a credible challenge or, more importantly, to even carve out a niche. (That’s unless he intends to keep giving the magazine away for free and can keep enough advertisers to pay the freight.)

Considering that rag hali’s subscription roll has been precipitously declining for years, and lately we have heard taken a steeper dive, who is going to pay the 109 euro per year a subscription to “Carpet Collector” costs?

Furthermore since that rag hali is now trying desperately to transform itself from an oriental rug magazine to a “Tribal” (oh how RK dislikes that word) Art one, is “Carpet Collector” anything but Steinert’s folly?

After all regardless of the facts Steinert’s family is in the publishing business; Carpet Collector magazine looks glossy and professional; and Steinert claims he is willing to work and wait for it to ‘catch on’ with subscribers; in the end a bottom line, ie profit or loss, is the driving force and rational of all business.

Yet it is abundantly clear each issue loses money. So how long will Steinert keep trying?

We really don’t know, nor do we care.

OK, enough of this, let’s take a look inside and see what it if anything has improved since our last critique, which can be seen here:

http://rugkazbah.com/boards/records.php?refnum=2406&id=2406

Before looking at some particulars we need to express our dislike of the naďve, folksy banter the reportage in Carpet Collector magazine assumes.

This is just exactly the opposite of what the oriental rug field needs, we already have enough clowns and snake-oil peddlers spinning less than erudite tall tales.

RugDumb needs scholarship and clever insightful writing both circulated internally among participants, what a magazine like Carpet Collector’s job could be, as well as externally for the general public, which is what that rag hali purports to do but has always failed to do.

At best the terribly sophomoric, happy-face embossed content in every article between Carpet Collector’s shiny covers fails miserably to create anything but the most elemental impressions.

The comparison with that rag hali is, there is no comparison, and as much as RK criticizes that rag hali we well recognize it is miles above anything Steinert has yet produced, or apparently will ever.

Here’s some proof of our accusations:

Tekke main carpet(MC), belonging to thomas noack, ridiculously described as circa 1800 by carpet collector.

Who but a Turkmen carpet neophyte could possibly date a mid-19th century Tekke rug like this as half a century earlier?

And even though the picture, which comes from the magazine, is poor it is still abundantly clear a knotted pile elem and pseudo-complex main border are never seen on circa 1800 Tekke mains.

Nor does its purported “purple” field color convey anything about dating.

Granted few extant Tekke MC are “purple” but we have seen both later and earlier ones, and noack’s is not an early one.

Then in an article describing a meeting of Baluch rug collectors, also written by Steinert’s in-house team of rug know-nothings, a recent analysis of 2,150 Baluch prayer rugs done by one of the participants is discussed.

This analysis divided them into groups based on different criteria “…such as size, technique, motifs, borders and edges. Based on the percentage describing how often a certain criterion was found within the overall number, each owner of a prayer rug could now classify his or her piece as rare or typical.

Now this type of research effort is commendable, but it does not in any way give, as Carpet Collector concludes in its review of the meeting, “…collectors facts to supplement their speculations about quality and age.

Quality and calendar age are criteria that stand alone, they are not comparative by any means.

Well, unless the ‘collector’ has no knowledge. Then if one thinks by comparing his ‘piece’ to others, something few collectors can honestly do anyway, he will be able to classify those criteria he is dead wrong.

But such is the amateurish miasma this magazine rarely, if ever, rises above.

It misleads those who need leadership with none, only glib meaningless words and opinions.

In the preview of the sale at the Dorotheum Auction house, again written by Steinert’s team, a severely worn and abused “S” group main carpet, Lot 71, is described as “An especially large and well preserved Salor main carpet from the late 18th century will be awaiting bids at the Dorotheum.

More powerful reading glasses might help whoever penned this but regardless of improved visual acuity anyone who is trying to be a commentator needs knowledge of the subject, something Steinert and his team lack, and prove so again and again.

In the Nagel sale preview Carpet Collector opines “An especially beautiful and rare piece is an antique Bergama village rug from the 17th/18th century…(20,000 euro)

Honestly, dating this rug first quarter 19th century is generous, and raising one’s eyebrows at the 20K estimate should be a given.

Long before the Sept 11th sale RK knew it would not sell, and that was the case.

But we’re expert class, Carpet Collector not even solid beginners.

RK will spare our colleague, Eberhart Hermann, further embarrassment by not critiquing his eminently critiquable opinions and statements included in his “review” of the Clark sickle-leaf carpet’s sale Carpet Collector magazine published.

For many reasons, and on many accounts, it’s a poor showing from a man who is credited with being one of the great experts.

Too bad for Eberhart Tim Steinert, who is Carpet Collector magazine’s editor, was incapable of suggesting well-thought out revisions, something this article sorely needs.

More so, Carpet Collector magazine forwards statements, like this one written by Andreas Bogg, that are so stupidly immaterial they do not deserve to be immortalized in print. “It was only when going through the catalog (ed. the coming Dorotheum sale) more carefully a second time that the array and quality of the pieces on offer became evident. Wolfgang Matschek, the Dorotheum’s rug specialist, had gone to great lengths to acquire the pieces from across Europe. This approach has now become an established practice everywhere, since in the age of the internet the rug market has become quite international.

And, might not any experienced ruggie ask Bogg, and Steinert his editor, where they have been living for the three past decades?

The rug market was international long before the internet burst on the scene, and in fact auctioneers have been scurrying around internationally to secure goods for their sales at least that long.

This is the mediocre, and at times even worse, level of non-expertise Steinert, and his Carpet Collector magazine, dispense.

He, and the magazine’s other scribblers, know nothing about rugs.

Here is a nice, mid-19th century Tekke torba.

Tekke 12 gol torba, sold Dorotheum spring sale, circa 1870, Lot 114

But in the pages of Carpet Collector magazine it becomes a rare and early item: “The top piece (Dorotheum spring sale) in the Turkmen segment was an early, completely preserved Tekke torba (lot 114), which impressed with its full pile, beautiful design, and intact decorative fringes. This rare piece, which was estimated at a relatively moderate EUR 6,000 – 8,000, was sold to a private Austrian collector for just EUR 5,000 due to limited interest.

H-e-l-l-o Mr Steinert and Carpet Collector scribblers: Had that Tekke torba really been rare and early it would have garnered LOTS of interest and sold for 3-5 times that price.

And the reason it didn’t should be as obvious to all as the nose on Rudolph the Raindeer’s face.

Remember, readers, Steinert and company are writing a review, not a preview.

The piece is a proven, not early or rare, example and to herald it as “early” and “top” after the fact is inexcusable.

It shows, once again, Steinert and his team are completely bereft of any rug-expertise.

Period, end of discussion.

And, truly, statements like the following are belly-laughable: “There was (at rippon-boswell’s spring auction) otherwise a broad range of rugs and textiles from various provenances, starting with Lot 1, a Karakecli in poor condition. Even still, a fierce bidding war immediately broke out over this piece (estimated price: EUR 1,000, winning bid EUR 2,600).

A “fierce bidding war” from 1,000 to 2,600?

Who are these clowns trying to fool? Fierce bidding wars kite prices up tens of thousands, not a measly 1,600.

RugDumb needs Carpet Collector magazine like a deaf man needs a phonograph. How much longer will Steinert take to realize his folly?

Basically from the gossip RK has heard Steinert’s family is paying the freight and, note this is rumor, does so to keep him occupied and away from the family’s far more important and lucrative publishing empire.

We think after more than two years of trying and, in ours and other’s estimation, failing the end of the road for Steinert and Carpet Collector magazine has already been reached, and past.

And the Berlin Carpet Fair, another of Tim Steinert’s carpet world ventures, was far from successful on all accounts.

Does Rugdumb need another PT Barnum huckster when we already can count michael frasnses as our own?

Perhaps the best way for RK to end this commentary on what Steinert’s doing is to say: When it ain’t your quarters it’s easy to keep the bar’s jukebox playing, and no matter how lousy your taste in music drunk people will continue to dance.

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