Five hours plus is a long time for a rug auction but that's how long it took to sell the dregs, left-overs, pie in the sky former newman prices and other weavings not worth a second look.
As we predicted lot 71 sold for hammer price $14,000 (we predicted $15,000), total with premiums $17,200. It might have been the highest price but we are not sure as we did not bother to try and parse or analyze the results. We looked casually at them and what appears here is about as far as our interest or motivation moves us to comment.
The first and perhaps most important comment we could make is our distinct desire NOT to own anything that was ronnie newman's.
The fact nothing was good enough -- old enough, beautiful enough or rare enough -- for our collection is the main reason. However, just thinking that ronnie dribbled saliva, and probably dribbled jizz, all over his precious rug 'collection' was another consideration.
After lot 71, which was head and shoulders above anything else in the sale -- well, except perhaps arguably some of the Chinese weavings -- the so-called "Ottoman" prayer kelim, Lot 66, was a close second.
Like Lot 71, the prayer kelim's provenance is definitely not a sure thing and would be subject for a major matter of discussion. That is to anyone who knows something about kelim, carpet and carpet history.
RK is about 99.9% sure Lot 71 is not a Sarkisla, eastern Anatolian product; and about 98% sure the prayer kelim was not made in Turkey. We never got the opportunity to examine it but from the photos we have seen we'd guess it comes from east and south of Turkey,,,,maybe Damascus. The coloring is not anything typical for "Ottoman" weavings and while we think it is early 19th we are also pretty sure it is not 18th century. Too many borders and other sylistic indications point to a circa 1800 plus date.
Regardless of its origins, and the fact newman tried for many, many years to unload it -- granted first with prices in the $50,000 range and then less as time went on -- it is a good thing but not the smartest buy in kelim history, even at $10,455 the price it made in the auction. All said, it was way, way better than almost anything else in the newman closet clean-out sale.
We have some other comments about what we might label good byes (do not want to see this again), musts to avoid, and boobie prizes. We could have said similar comments about many of the other newman lots but this should suffice and get the message across.
In chronological order:
Lot 47 Yomud chuval. This good condition but boring chuval obviously interested two people. Should it have? We say, no, it's charms are decorative surely not anything to do with Turkmen weaving history or importance. Granted $3,321 is cheap compared to what real exciting, early Turkmen chuval sell for, but who cares. Better to spend $13,000 or more and get something exemplary and beautiful. Buying this type of Turkmen is nothing but a loser.
Lot 126 seven-sided Yomud asmalyk sold for a give away $984. Here's a horse of a different color than lot 47. Damaged it is but it's a quite rare item, surely no earlier than the catalog's early 19th century but surely worth more than it sold for. Congrats to the astute buyer.
Lot 129 another must to avoid Yomud chuval, paricularly at $2,952. This one has nothing going for it and why two people or more battled it out is inexplicable to us. It's boring, not improtant on any level. Might have good wool, but so what, get a sheepskin and rub on that. Another loser from the newman collection.
Lot 202 a lot of that rag hali mags that sold for $369. But it had the rarely seen issue #1, making this a good buy, as that one formerly brought $500-1,000 in the good ole days. By the way in that first issue there is an article RK penned but was credited to John Day, a michael franses joke. And issue #4 has a very rare Kashmir shawl of ours on the cover, with an accompanying article. This time properly credited to us. We sold the shawl in 1986 for a record price -- £35,000 and its whereabouts are presently unknown.
Lot 219 Sixteen gol chuvals are the runt of the Turkmen chuval litter. They are always late and uninteresting. However, we have seen, and owned, one that wasn't. But not Lot 219, which sold for $3,198. It was like the other two chuval we listed above equally as boring and over-priced. Another loser from the newman closet.
Lot 220 sold for $2,337. It's no engsi, ensi, hatchlu or any other way to spell this type of Turkmen rug. This one has not one feature, or even hint, except its size, to imply it is an engsi. Bad choice, mr/ms buyer, is all we can say.
That's about it for us. The sale of the newman collection only proves our comments about ronnie and it shows there is a market for 'collector rugs' but it has little juice except when real and genuine rarities with significant age appear. Sorry but not one was left in ronnie newman's greasy, sweaty palms when he consigned this bottom of the barrel 'collection' to lazy larry from skinners.
Oh, we avoided comment about any Chinese rugs because we do not like anything made in this geographic area after 1500. And fat chance to find one of those, or even a fragment.
Lastly, better to save ones money and buy something great and outstanding than waste it buying instantly forgettables like 99% of those in this and the previous newman dump.