Home > Archive >What's it Worth? Part II
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Sat, Apr 24th, 2004 02:39:37 PM
Topic: What's it Worth? Part II

Auction fever is a dangerous disease and one can become infected without even realizing it. It has proven to be highly contagious and unless the proper steps are taken you can pick it up anywhere an auctioneers hammer exists. After careful study I have found sufferers not only at small country sales but also, as the review of the Sotheby spring sale notes, in the big city where bidders also fall pray to this pernicious bug.

On the Saturday morning when this sale took place the bidders who exhibited symptoms were not even in the saleroom, they were bidding on the phone. But even though they were perhaps hundreds of miles away, they still showed unmistakable symptoms. The price paid for those tentband fragments was ludicrous and faced with such a performance it seemed the other two lots of interest would also elude my taking them home. So I left the sale and arranged a phone bid on my way out the door.

When the second lot, a rare early soumak bag hit the podium I was prepared to buy it, as I was for the tentband frags. While they, well more to the point one of them, were rare, wonderful and definitely important their condition being but small fragments of 40 foot bands precluded paying anything near what they brought. The soumak bag was a different story as the condition was excellent and it was a complete face, albeit without its back flap.

As I listened on the phone it was obvious the khorjin face was also going to sell for a “price” and it did. However because all the factors– age , design, coloration, weave, proportions and condition – were present I ended up taking it home. Sorry I won’t say what the price was but it was high enough to beat out the hot-heads on the phone (the auctioneer revealed to me it was the same bidder as on the tentband frags when I returned to the sale to pick it up) and still sell within the range I had pre-determined to pay. Here is a detail photo of the central medallion:

If any of you readers are interested in purchasing it you can email me and we can discuss it further. It is an early 19th prototype example in the lesghi star format and if I did not already own a somewhat similar one, which is illustrated in the soumak exhibition you can view by going to the Weaving Art Museum website{http://weavingartmuseum.org} where you will find that exhibition listed in the previous exhibition archive, it would be a keeper for me and not for sale.

The third piece at this sale was a wonderful Tekke aina gul mafrash and, like the soumak and better tentband fragment, it too was early, rare and extremely desirable. Again I was on the phone bidding for it but since aina gul pieces are extremely hard to resell and it wasn’t 18th century I thought better of overpaying for it. It sold for the next bid after mine and that was 3,000.00$ plus 15 percent. Unfortunately the photo I made of the mafrash got corrupted and is not available for illustration here. By the way it was in good condition, a bit smoked with early silk highlights in the centers of each aina gul.

I personally cover about 100 auctions a year and check out about 1000 and the fevered pitch of this sale was not unusual, however, the merchandise on offer that has been discussed here was. Rarely do such rare and wonderful pieces show up, even when comparing this small country sale to ones held in the big cities. To give you an idea, I have been buying soumak bags for more than 25 years and haven’t purchased one of this quality for about 10, believe it or not. Soumaks of this age are extremely rare as are early tentband fragments or Turkmen bags of the quality that Tekke aina gul piece displayed but no matter how good or rare a piece is it still has a limit price wise – well at least for me.

So all in all I was more than pleased to take the khorjin home and while I would have liked to have gotten the other two in my hands, in the final analysis they just didn’t have enough going for them to make me throw caution to the wind.

Author: jc
Sat, Apr 24th, 2004 02:39:37 PM

Hi truthinadvertising:
Hope you didn't travel too far to get to the Saunders Real Estate in Boston where you used a computer to make this post. Or do you work there on Saturday's cleaning the offices?

Anyway your desire to hide your identity does surely put into question the 'truthinadvertising' sobriquet you choose - doubt anything about you is even close to truthful.

As for your statement about what I supposedly paid for the soumak? It is incorrect as the price was quite a bit higher than that. If you want to reveal your identity and place a wager with me about who’s right - then bring it on, sonny-boy but you’ll lose your money.

As for the tentband and mafrash being more "interesting" as you so forthrightly claim? I can only ask "interesting" in whose eyes? The buyers? Well we know the price paid for the tentband frags was stupid and I bet the farm this buyer would not have paid even half that price if you tried to sell it to him/her yourself. If you doubt that, again, reveal yourself and lets see - I have fragments of tentbands as good or better and you can try your luck at getting 5K+ for similar ones. The mafrash was more reasonable, but still way overpriced for that salesroom, and as stated an aina gul Tekke mafrash, even one as nice as that, is mucho hard to sell - that is if one expects to make a profit.

So, little man, next time get your figures right before opening your mealy mouth but as for placing any credence in your estimation of how rare or good any piece is? Forget that, you'll never learn, obviously you already think you know it all. Dont'cha.

Author: truthinadvertising Sat, Apr 24th, 2004 11:40:51 AM

Since Jack is only interested in divulging the price of those things which he did not buy, someone else has to let you know what Jack paid. Jack paid either $2200 or $2400 plus for his "rare" soumac. The tent bands and mafrash were infinitely more interesting than the soumac.

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