Home > Hot Button Issues >RK on the "Death of Turkmen rug collecting"
Author:jc
email:
Thu, May 21st, 2015 12:53:08 AM
Topic: RK on the "Death of Turkmen rug collecting"

Since the end of the munkasci sale at Austria Auction RK has spoken to and received emails from a number of Turkmen rug collectors, as well as some dealers who are interested in these weavings.

As foolish as it sounds more than too many of them have expressed sentiments we can only describe as believing the failure of the auction heralds and in fact declares "the death of Turkmen rug collecting".

In typical RugDUMB myopic and nonsensical fashion this is so far from the truth RK can only say light-years away.

The munkasci collection auction is very similar to the Christie's London fiasco auction of the eric risman "Lebab" collection several years ago.

In both cases there were just too many pieces that were too alike, that were too mediocre, that were priced too high for their quality/age/importance. And the auction results were dismal failures.

The Turkmen collecting field did not end after the risman "Lebab" debacle, nor will it end after the munkasci failure.

There are a number of lessons here, the most salient the fact the Turkmen rug collecting market is advanced. Many collectors, in fact probably all, already own an example (or two or three) of the common types and therefore are wont to buy any more --unless what is offered to them eclipses in age and quality what they already possess.

We can list others.

So it is not the market for Turkmen rugs that is dead, it is the idea any joe-bob, risman or munkasci can try to unload a pantfull of mediocre/damaged less than stellar weavings in a sale and expect some hyped publicity extolling their prowess as a 'great collector' to carry through to a successful payday.

There is little doubt the market for Turkmen weavings is very much alive and well, but anyone who thinks it is large in size or indiscriminate enough to buy mediocre damaged weavings like those which filled the pages of the munkasci portion of the sale will, like eric risman or kurt munkasci, suffer a rude awakening.

So to all those jabbering Turkmen market doomday prophets let RK remark and rephrase the popular version of the great American quipster Mark Twain's idea on the subject "reports of the death of the Turkmen rug collecting market have been greatly exaggerated".

Author: john Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Wed, May 20th, 2015 11:01:18 AM

RK Replies:

Hey there John:

It is clear few collect for the pleasure to collect, not only antique weavings but all other types of art.

Along with pleasure angle there are many other fabulous and enriching paybacks that do not have dollar signs attached to them.

For RK the most important is discovery, both in the locating and acquiring and more so in the learning after acquisition.

There is no end to connoisseur collecting, it is an infinite pastime.

And because our subject -- Near Eastern weavings -- encompass such great latitudes of human endeavor, a rug is far more than a rug.

While we do not need to start a mutual admiration society, you are one of the few collectors whose motivation and goals go far past the vast majority.

Thank you for your thoughts

---------------------------

Does one collect for monetary reasons or because one appreciates the art form?

I suspect that some of us that collect Turkmen rugs also expand their interests to include the ethnographic and historical associations - not for any monetary reasons, but out of personal/academic interest. You, yourself fall into this category.

I have been collecting Turkmen rugs/ Georgian furniture / GB stamps of King Edward VII for many years and I don't really care whether I have made or lost money in doing so. "Accountants know the cost of everything and the value of nothing". Fortunately I am not an accountant.

Instead, my (5) children have all gained an appreciation of these art forms (the stamps less so) - and will happily have rugs on their walls instead of pictures or a nice piece of furniture. In return I give them what i have so that they may also enjoy it.

A friend of mine has several original Mozart scores and he gives them to his son when he can play them.

Who gives a f*** what is sold at auction. Auctions (unless you find a nice country sale) are for dummies.

In the UK there are still nice pieces in old country houses that can be discovered.

I recently stayed at one house where in front of the fire there was a very early Engsi. I advised the owner to put in on the wall and be wary of anyone who told him it was not worth anything.

Author: jc
email:
Wed, May 20th, 2015 04:27:06 AM

This has become a very popular topic with our readers, so much so we are surprised at the email response it has elicited.

Some feel RK has glossed over the disappointing results, which to them show, in fact, the 'death' of the Turkmen collecting market.

Others agree with us the munkasci sale only proves damaged and mediocre middle 19th century and later Turkmen collector weavings cannot be sold at yesterday's price, we might add if at all. Any other conclusions are farfetched and untenable.

Unfortunately, the jury is also out on the possibilities of selling such Turkmen weavings in good condition, a la the kelims which were so successfully sold at the Vok sale.

It is likewise obvious earlier examples, particularly when they approach best of type status, have a good robust market regardless of their condition.

These are the genuine collector pieces and the market recognizes that and responds in kind.

There is a quiet rumor going around concerning the successful after-sale business Austria Auction has negotiated for a number of unsold lots.

We, of course, cannot verify if this is true, but it sure seems possible as the sale left unsold a number of worth owning examples, even at the reserve prices which surely were at or below the catalog low estimates.

As is often the case when a market, be it rugs or pork bellies, bottoms out there is an expected reactionary bounce upwards.

Sometimes it is short and called a dead-cat bounce; other times it turns out to be sustained and participants bemoan their missing the opportunity to buy at that low point.

We all know hindsight is 20/20, but when all factors are considered the low point in Turkmen weaving prices the munkasci sale appears to have established might very well turn out to be that low point buyers in the future will well wish they had not ignored.

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