Much has already been said, and no doubt will be said in the future, about this auction.
Why a former stalwart of the Turkmen rug collecting world would give it all up and put a significant part of his collection on the auction block.
Rumors abound: he's very sick and dying; he's tired of red rugs and plans to take the proceeds and begin to collect Anatolian rugs; he's going to take the proceeds and buy paintings or some other types of tribal art; he's selling just to see what will happen.
While each of these explanations, and other even more outlandish ones we have heard, might actually be the reason RK is still baffled.
After 25 years of passionately pursuing what then makes someone give up and get out?
We have mentioned the lack of financial need, so what then could cause such a turn around considering the former pursuit that in munkasci's case bordered on obsession?
This might sound unfriendly, or even cruel, but in his case, as well as Ignatius Vok whose collection's auction cannot help but be compared to munkasci's, RK can only surmise the collecting urge was not anything but an urge to 'show off', something that was as shallow as a puddle of rain on Fifth Ave.
Why else would a sell it all auction be the end?
The real collectors we have met not only in carpets but many other areas, and this applies to a very small number we can count on our fingers, are motivated by far loftier goals -- ones that have both deep investigative and intellectual basis.
These goals are far more reaching and life-long, they are open-endedly infinite. Collectors of this ilk just don't wake up one morning and decide to call the auctioneer, no matter what the circumstance.
Yes, of course no one on the outside really knows if the financially successful record producer munkasci parades as, or his even more successful wife, do actually have financial need. But even if this is the case why sell the best pieces, when so many lesser ones could be sold?
Frankly, RK sincerely doubts this or any other 'need' reason is behind his selling.
RK is not the only one who knows this, but it is not general knowledge, for at least 15 plus years munkasci was working closely with david d'hurle, a doctor who also collects Turkmen rugs.
In fact their association was extremely close. Each had a pre-existing private collection but for most if not all that period they bought almost everything together forming a third partnership collection.
A few years ago this arrangement broke down and, as rumor has it, the break down was serious.
So serious, in fact, to destroy the relationship.
Supposedly, again according to circulating rumors, the partnership collection was divided and d'hurle, not munkasci, ended up with the best pieces; munkasci getting the rest.
This according to some pundits is where some of the formerly believed 'great' weaving munkasci supposedly had are.
But we have also heard munkasci was, except at certain auctions, a 'cheap-buyer' and therefore never stepped up and paid the price, and therefore never had as great a collection as he was alleged to have had.
One thing is sure there are some superior Turkmen weavings in the sale, it's just not on as high a level as the thompson or pinner collections were.
Which brings up, of course, comparison to thompson and pinner's reasons for selling.
In pinner's case he was on his death-bed and after trying unsuccessfully to sell his collection en mass the auction block then beckoned.
By the way this explanation has never held any credence for RK because pinner could have donated his best pieces to many museums who would have accepted them and where they would have glorified his collecting life and been in the public domain.
But he didn't, a fact which goes a long way in substantiating our low opinion of pinner the man and Turkmen rug collector.
And even fewer people than those who know about the munkasci/d'hurle partnership know what happened to the substantial proceeds of the pinner sale.
RK does and perhaps someday we will spill the beans, but suffice it to say very little of the money the collection brought went to making pinner's last few days more comfortable.
In jon thompson's case, which is far more similar to munkasci's, supposedly thompson, too, was getting out of collecting Turkmen rugs. But this is bogus as thompson never stopped collecting them and still to this day presents himself as a buyer of exceptional Turkmen weavings.
But thompson, unlike the munkascis, never had financial success -- he was a ''poor doctor'' so selling a part of his Turkmen collection remedied that need quite well.
Rug collecting is surely an esoteric pursuit that more more often than other collecting areas attracts, particularly at the top end, a strange breed of aficionados and kurt munkasci is a perfect example.
So perhaps there is no real explanation for why he is selling other than the fact he is selling. And trying to analyze why is as pointless as trying to figure out what will happen at this auction.
But unlike personal motivation there is a rational for Turkmen rugs at auction and the loading of 130 pieces in a single sale is taking a big chance.
Unlike the chance Vok took with his kelims, the suzani surely did not nor do they have the same limited number of real collectors, Persian, Caucasian and Anatolian kelim are decorative and the fact most of Vok's pieces were in good condition allowed them to sell to a broader 'decorative' market, not to the small collector one.
Such is not the case with Turkmen weavings, especially those that predominate in the munkasci collection that are almost all damaged to some degree precluding their usability as decorative furniture.
We see the munkasci auction as a big chance and regardless of the fact the pieces he collected should attract widespread interest and bidding furor we just can't see how such a small market can absorb the bulk of the pieces this auction offers.