Considering the munkasci collection auction is less than a week away RK thought it pertinent to place our extensive review of the pinner collection here in the Best of RugKazbah.com Topic Area.
Interestingly, the munkasci sale is happening almost exactly 11 years after pinner's rippon-boswell auction, and pinner's 11 years after jon thompson's sotheby NY auction....might this be described as the 11 year Turkmen collector itch?
By the way RK's coverage of the pinner sale began with a two part post entitled "pinner's Gamble" published Feb and March 2004.
We have not moved it with the others but for readers who are interested it appears below.
The absurdities of the rug world seem to get more ridiculous every day and now the UNESCO-type appeal-for-the-needy heralded on the hali website for robert pinner takes the cake.
I first met robert and his genuinely charming wife Leslie in 1976. At that time robert was but the spare tire in their rug collecting efforts, it was Leslie who had all four wheels going in overdrive.
I enjoyed a number of stimulating evening's of rug talk with them on my many trips to old Blighty.
Well, correctly put, the them was basically with Leslie for at that time robert rarely joined in leaving his wife, who truly wore the rug pants in the family, to always take the lead.
When Leslie passed on, the rug world lost not only an enthusiast but also a great and inquisitive mind who, I am sure, would have pushed the ball far higher and farther than robert could ever have imagined.
After her death I only visited once, as I have always found robert's attitude, orientation and interest to be a far cry from the outstanding passion and intellect his wife always projected.
No doubt it was her memory that drove robert to become as emeshed in the rug world as he did over the past 25 years or so.
The pinner collection is mostly the Leslie Pinner collection, as robert’s contribution is definitely a minor act in that play.
Reading the blurb on the hali website about the impending public dispersal of the collection at rippon-boswell, one would imagine this would be an auction event like the john thompson sale almost 10 years ago was cracked up to be – a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase rugs from an old-timer's horde (the real story there was also a sticky-wicket but this is not the time or the place for airing that one).
Actually there are some minor parallels, however, in typical hali spin-doctor fashion a major factor behind this event was not mentioned or even hinted at.
For the past year or so, the pinner collection has been on the market and every major, and even some minor collectors have had their chance to buy it.
Obviously no one did and as a means of last resort, bing bang kaboom - hello weisbaden and into the waiting outstretched arms of detlef and christa maltzahn.
I am sure they are grinning like undertakers who have just been called by the Rothschild's to arrange a high-class, and expensive affair that will net them a pretty-penny of profit.
One reason, perhaps the major one, why no buyer stood up a the plate with open checkbook could have been the caveat: All or nothing. Individual pieces were not for sale, the entire collection had to be purchased as a group.
This arrangement, which might have seemed clever at the time, turned out to be the major failure I knew it would be as soon as I heard the news early last year.
It was organized by little lord franses of Queen Street , Mayfair, who conceived the ill-conceived plan and handled all the details for pinner.
Like hali, which was also a franses-pinner production, franses thought up the idea and managed it while robert’s role was to put up the money. Almost like a silent partner, he went along for the ride, doing some of the grunt work and occasionally penning a piece for publication.
But at least with hali some of pinner's organizational and intellectual skills ended up in the final mix, whereas in trying to off the collection, pinner was nowhere in sight, leaving it entirely in franses cold clammy hands.
Will this ploy, to now offer the collection at auction piece by piece be successful?
Time will soon tell but asking the rug collection public to pony up their dough to buy a pinner piece, as hali has done, to help old robert out in the sunset of his days is truly mind-blowing.
Why? Because robert pinner is a wealthy man by almost anyone’s standards - he needs no hand outs.
Perhaps the Josephine Powell adopt-a-kelim-project type charity feel-goodism is now going to, like a SARS-type virus, sweep its way through rugdom.
Or maybe charles and bethany can start planning to institute a pinner adopt-a-turkmen project for all the buy-back unsold pieces from the sale?
As D-Day, or perhaps better put P-day, gets closer to Friedrichstrasse in Weisbaden, rest assured there will be more hype about the sale. Tune in for more coverage and Rk.com's unbiased and unbridled views about not only the politics but also the pieces.
Work is feverishly going ahead on Freidrichstrasse in Weisbaden to meet the catalog deadline for the May 15 auction date.
The Boswells have big plans in store but the sands of time are moving against them.
But time isn't the only problem.
For those of you Turkmen collectors who have been living in a cave with Bin Laden as your neighbor or are just too insignificant to have been contacted, pinner's pieces have been flogged on the market for the past 18 months. Granted they were for sale only en mass and this is the excuse both pinner and little lord franses, who was behind all the flogging, have used to explain their no sale condition. However, when the Turkmen's will hit the fan so to speak, the real explanation - there are just too many unimportant and frankly pedestrian examples - will become apparent to all.
The majority of the 'star' pieces were collected by pinner's wife, Leslie Pinner, and after her departure from this world few others were added. Never the one to splurge out, pinner's choices since his wife left the rug buying plane were more motivated by their price than their importance or beauty. Combined with his pedantic and myopic "taste", the result was a bunch of "study pieces" that might have interested pinner but doubtfully will interest many of today's collectors. Well interest them to reach deeply into their pockets, that is.
On top of this, little lord franses's "battle" plan for selling the collection took off like a lead zepplin. And, as franses has never shown much understanding for anything other than Classical Carpets that can be looked up in books, unlike Turkmens and other non-classical pieces that require more than a library to understand, his failure to understand exactly what pinner had and how to sell it combined with the absurd all-or-nothing sales methodology are the main reasons they have ended up in the sweaty hands of the boswells.
A far better approach would have been to single out the few real stars and with the pinner moniker attached offer them to the creme-de-la-creme of Turkmen aficionados.
One thing that is undeniable in the collecting world is collections rarely sell well when the best is bundled with the mediocre and lesser examples. The bottom tends to bring down the top rather than visa-versa.
Watch and see this caveat prove positive on May 15th.
More to come on the behind the scenes maneuvers the boswells are planning for this event so stay tuned here.