Two days after the main gallery sale of carpets, Sothebyís sold a few additional pieces in what was advertised as an American Furniture sale. There were two lots there that might have been better placed in the main sale, although both preformed well, extremely so from this writer perspective.
The first and more important was lot 154 a Saryk main carpet:
This is a rare carpet - those large Salor main carpets gols, diamond gol secondary and interesting tertiary gols Ė and the estimate $3K-$5K was ridiculously low. The selling price, $24,000.00, clearly showed this but as I did not view the lot in person the following comment should be read with that in mind.
Saryk main carpets with salor gols are very rare and while this one has the style of open drawing that usually is associated with early pieces, the multiple border systems isnít. Also the color and wool qualities were less than spectacular, or so I have been told by those who saw it. Reports were it lacked that special brilliant red coloration early Saryk weavings are famous for, part of this may have been the wool quality was not outstanding (again not an attribute of early Saryk work).
These factors point to this being a rather late-in-the-day Saryk main carpet, an assessment that appears to me to be the correct one.
The other lot of note in this sale was a Turkish Yastik, catalogued as a Konya Mat(?). Here is the photo:
Why the cataloguer couldnít be bothered to call this a Yastik instead of a mat is beyond me but then again estimating it for $8-$1200 is equally as perplexing.
While not the best example of this rare type it was a pretty good one, however, for the price it made in the saleroom, $6,000.00, one would have thought it was the best, as the condition was not the very good either.
What to say? Auctions tend to bring out the most competitive aggressive buying habits while, as I am sure would be the case here, if the successful buyer was presented with this Yastic in a face-to-face sale I sincerely doubt a check for an equal amount would have been forthcoming. Excuses, excuses but in the end as one collector told me after making a large purchase at the last conference in DC:
" I only did it because I wanted people to see me spending a large amount of money on a piece. Itís cheaper than a hali ad plus I get to keep the piece and can probably resell it at a profit afterwards, if I want." So much for collectors.
True, true this is but of course itís not how much one spends that is the issue. Itís on what.
For me both these lots were overpriced and the fact that deep down inside both buyers know they would not have been as willing and eager were it not for the auctioneers hammer, the audience and the rug gossip mill after the sale, is the most convincing proof of this there is.