Dear Mr Cassin,
I am a new antique rug collector and I use the term collector quite loosely in my case. First and foremost, I truly want to thank you for your honesty and transparency with regards to antique rugs. It appears to me that you are the only honest, decent and truthful rug expert in existence.
I have been collecting fine wine, and ancient madeira in particular, for 25 years. I actually sold the oldest bottle of cognac known to exist in the world, a 1762 Gautier, via Bonhams. I only mention this as wine collecting has some similarities to rug collecting, but the wine world just doesn't have the cut throats and cheats that the rug world appears to have.
I spent three years in Iraq during the war and it was during this timeframe that I developed an interest in antique rugs. My wife is also from Iraq and I credit her with having helped expose me to some older weavings just as she had been exposed to old antique rugs by her parents.
After having read dozens of your postings I have begun to truly open my eyes. I initially looked to the likes of **** for guidance and was horrified at what I saw and read. I don't believe that I have ever seen anyone on that site agree to anything. For a novice, this is extraordinarily unhelpful. These supposed experts struck me as the exact opposite of what they claim to be. There is infighting, bickering, and general discord with virtually every topic discussed.
Needless to say, I needed to find a different more honest web site that was far more transparent and might actually teach me something. The site I finally settled on is your site. When I first began reading your posts I thought I had made a mistake. I noticed that most of the leading experts were being called out by you for one reason or another. However, after extensive reading, it has become clear to me that you are absolutely justified and 110% correct to have ripped every one of these "experts" for their lies, misrepresentations and in many ways, criminal conduct.
I was recently speaking with my wife and actually told her I was so thouroughly disappointed with the entire field of antique rugs that I was considering putting an end to my early collecting career. I have noticed that in this field no one is willing to give you a fair and honest opinion. When I decided to get into antique rug collecting, I initially believed it would be similar to the connoisseurship one finds in the world of fine wines. I was sadly mistaken. With wine, collectors enjoy discussing old bottles, their provenance and history openly and sharing their knowledge freely. Not so with rugs. In fact, based on my experience, it is the exact opposite. I don't believe I have received a straight answer to any question I have ever posed to an expert in this field. In most instances no two experts have given me the same information. This is extremely concerning to me and further exemplifies how speculative this field is.
It would be not only helpful, but educational for these long time collectors to share their knowledge with new collectors, but it seems to me that everyone plays their cards close to their vest. No one seems willing to provide any honest and knowledgeable answers to questions that are posed to them nor share their knowledge and experience openly.
As a novice and new "collector", I am trying to learn as much as I can about this field. This is a difficult task to accomplish as it is seemingly impossible to locate any information on rug structure or rug identification whatsoever. Your site is in fact the only one I can think of which does discuss this type of information openly and is quite helpful for both new, and it seems "experienced" collectors and "experts" alike.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that your writing style, command of the English language and brutal honesty is wonderful. Over the past several days I have been reading through all your postings. Your postings are not only informative, but highly entertaining. The colorful and eloquent way you describe these charlatans and rug thieves is priceless. You inject humor throughout your postings and as a result I am constantly finding myself having to wipe the tears from my face from laughing so hard. Matter of fact, I have been yelled at repeatedly by my wife to stop laughing and to "laugh to myself", however that might be accomplished.
You should be proud of your accomplishments and abilities. Pointing out fraud, abuse, mismanagement and misinformation is of paramount importance in all facets of life. You are one of, if not the only person who has the ability and expertise to call these posers out for their despicable conduct and behavior. I applaud your tenacity, dedication and devotion to the field of antique rugs. In the end, it is people like you who make a tremendous difference and help educate the collectors out there who are interested in the truth and the facts. I only wish there were more experts with your abilities out there for we novices to learn from.
I want to thank you again for your honesty and transparency. I continue to look forward to reading your site on a weekly basis. I have learned and continue to learn from your writings and thoroughly enjoy your web site.