Home > Archive >boswell blusters and barks re:the pinner sale
Author:jc
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Dec 15th, 2014 12:07:51 AM
Topic: boswell blusters and barks re:the pinner sale

Recently a “review” of the pinner and general sale appeared on the rippon-boswell website. It is a seriously flawed look at what transpired on sale day, which is understandable as boswell himself wrote it. What else to expect from mr Teflon??

It is reprinted here in its entirety with a few photos of some of the pieces it mentions. You will also find commentary from RK.com, added in bold type, that expresses the reality of the pinnner sale results far better than maltzahn’s self-congratulatory prose allowed him to convey.

Major Spring Sale, 15th May 2004

Resounding success for Pinner's Collection
The auction of the Pinner collection of Turkmen carpets on May 15, 2004 was a resounding success.

Calling this a resounding success could be likened to George Bush’s similarly biased feelings about the Iraq War – only the perpetrators see it as a success. All the rest of us have mixed feelings at best and, at the worst, realize what muck and hype these sentiments are.

Of the 110 lots in the catalog 95% sold. The total without commission was 620.000 Euros, a sum that exceeded the expectations of both the consigners and the auction house.

Come on maltzahn let’s start talking turkey here. The estimates were grossly undervalued and that is the only reason the sale rate was so high. Are you going to deny many of the estimates, as well as final prices, were lower than the actual prices pinner paid – even forgetting about inflation and interest on his capital? If so then let me be the first to publicly call you a liar.

A euphoric mood was palpable in the crowd of 250 bidders which filled the hall to more than capacity!

BS, the only euphoria was the hope these bidders would be able to buy pinner’s pieces for less than he paid for them. You’d better wake up, dummy delef, if you think differently.

Many telephone bidders added to the excitement.

Is boswell speaking of his excitement about thoughts of his commissions? RK.com sure thinks so.

An unusually large number of left bids from all over the world and great attendance at the preview gave indication that the sale would be very successful…but no one , least of all the collector, could ever have dreamed that the outcome would have been so monumental!

Me thinks maltzahn should change his name to PT Barnum and get himself a big drum to bang on. Yesshhh, whaat crapola!

Once again one was impressed with the stability of the market for extraordinary antique carpets - especially when they come from a well-known collection!

Little in the pinner sale was extraordinary and hardly any of the results could be thus characterized by anyone other than boswell himself. As for poor old pinner’s thoughts? I seriously doubt maltzahn is the one to mouth those for him, especially since pinner will still be waiting for quite a while until he sees the proceeds from the sale.

The highest price in the sale was 123,200 Euros( $145,376 ) paid for a rare Animal-tree asmalyk , lot 78. A German collector on the telephone won the lot having battled it out with two German bidders in the room.

That lucky German collector paid too much for a type of Turkmen piece that has been for years seriously over-rated. Animal tree asmalyk are not nearly as valuable or important (or beautiful) as bird asmalyk and let’s now all realize pinner’s sold almost for the price of one of those. This fact is something RK.com believes to be important, while obviously maltzahn was more looking out for his commission than his German clients purchases.

15.000 Euros opened the bidding for lot 51, a unique Arabatchi Chuval. After a bitter contest among two American and three German collectors the piece was sold for 50.000 Euros ( 61,600 Euros inclusive of Vat and commission, ($72,688) ).

Calling this late flashy Arabatchi chuval unique is as foolish as implying the bidders for it at that level were anything short of foolhardy.

RK.com knows the buyers who competed for this chuval were hyped by each other and none of them would have paid a price anywhere near that outside of the saleroom. You can rest assured all the under bidders woke up the next day and were glad they weren’t, in the end, the “lucky” winner, who also might have been very glad to exchange places with them himself that morning.


The Saryk kedjebe-design torba, the best of type according to the opinions of a number of connoisseurs, sold to a German collector on the telephone for 45.000 Euros (55,440 with commissions, ($65,419) ).

This is the first right-on comment maltzahn has voiced. The torba was excellent and the price it realized commensurate with its true value.

Lot 68, the Salor trapping, entered into a California collection for 27.000 Euros (33,264 ($39,252)) and lot 63, a fragment of a very early Salor Memling-gul torba with glistening highlights of ruby-red silk, sold to an English collector for 28.000 Euros (34,496 ($40,705)).

Both these pieces were laudable and they also achieved their correct price level.

The concern that the 22 Tekke Torbas, a large part of the collection, offered at the same time, would not sell successfully, was groundless: all pieces sold, often clearly over their reserves.

Again here’s maltzahn the circus barker in action. Most of the torbas were sold at prices below pinnner’s original purchase prices. Would anyone who consigned goods to a sale be satisfied with such a result, even someone as out of it as poor old pinner is now? Rk.com says : “Doubt it, boswell”.

Also sought after were the larger Tekke Chuvals, among which lot 11, a very old, colorfully differentiated example with Aina guls, sold for 10.000Euros (12,320 ($14,538)), to a German bidder in the room, while lot 20, a Chuval with a particularly beautiful tree elem, sold for 14.500 Euros (17,864 ($21,080)) to a well-known American collector bidding on the telephone.


lot 11 circa 1830

Both of these lots were foolishly bid to price levels way beyond their worth or importance. Mr boswell can congratulate himself on earning a good commission but surely not on anything else.

The two Tekke-Khalyks, both in good condition, (lot 37 brought 6.000 Euros (7,392 ($8,723)) and lot 65 brought 9.000Euros ( 11,088 ($13,084)), seemed bargains and did not quite meet the expectations.

These khalyks were late and boring and while the price weren’t remarkable neither were they. And bargains they weren’t.

Lot 1, the embroidered Asmalyk, with 19.000 Euros (23,408 ($27,621)), more than doubled its estimate and remains in Germany.

The best piece in the sale

and it sold too cheaply. The estimate was stupidly low and the sale price a bargain. So much for boswell’s spin doctoring.


The early Tekke Engsi, lot 24, was bought by an interested collector from the USA for 25.000 Euros ( 30,800 ($36,652)).

Hope that “interested” American collector is still “interested” after he actually learns more than he knows now about Turkmen weavings. The Animal-Tree ensi of pinner’s, like all of these, is nothing more than a late addition to the Turkmen ensi tradition.

These ensi are, in RK.com opinion, neither beautiful nor evocative and their iconography is contrived and far from archaic.


Major Spring Sale
A few world-class Turkmen pieces were consigned to the second part of the auction (catalog 63), attracted by the announcement of the Pinner sale. The hopes of the consigners, that their pieces would do well in such good company, were more than fulfilled!

As were the hopes the boswells had found another way get more profit from their having been given the right to oversee the dispersal of pinner’s collection. Including other Turkmen pieces, especially those that made pinner’s look tired, worn and unimportant which is what most of these did, was in our opinion dirty pool. Rk.com believes only a greedy self-possessed auctioneer, like boswell, would do such a thing, particularly in light of poor old pinner’s present circumstances.

These pieces, not belonging to the Pinner collection, were scheduled as A lots among the offerings in the Pinner sale and by attaining excellent results thereby added impetus to the already highly-charged atmosphere:

What BS, these lots did nothing other than diffuse interest in pinner’s pieces and remove money that could have been spent on his pieces into other consignor’s pockets.

Lot 74, an unusual hitherto unknown Adler II main carpet in good condition

sold for 52.000 Euros (64,064 ($75,595)) double the estimate.

This carpet and another one of the A lots dusted anything in the pinner sale and made his main carpets look like rags. Nice job you did for poor old pinner, boswell.

A rare Arabatchi Chuval (lot 96)

exceeded its valuation of 6.800 Euros fourfold and was sold to an English competitor in the room for 26.000 Euros ( 32,032 ($37,798)).

The price this piece sold for was high - after all it was a only a good but not great one of these large torbas, of which there are now quite a substantial number to have been identified and published. But compared to the late flashy Arabatchi chuval of pinner’s it was a serious bargain.

The results for lot 111, a Tekke-Kapunuk ,

which, in the opinion of leading collectors, causes a like example in the "Victoria and Albert Museum", London, to pale in comparison, were spectacular: opening with 6.000 Euros, with strong competion(sic) from Germany and England, the piece eventually sold for 32.000 Euros ( 39,424 ($46,520)) to an American bidder in the room.

Step right up folks, hear ye hear ye PT Barnum has gespoken. What crap, this was a great kapunnuk and, next to pinner’s embroidered asmalyk, the second best piece on sale at boswells that day. However, by no means, did it make the V&A’s example pale in comparison. This is just another blustering outburst from maltzahn, who has proven his knowledge of Turkmen weavings needs some serious work and re-education.

The following lot 112, a one-of-a-kind tentbag with a splendid design,

consigned from an old private collection in Leipzig, climbed from 8.000 Euros to 48.000 Euros (59,136 ($69,780)).

Speaking of bluster, the price this “interesting” and in good condition but definitely not archaic or near the before 1800 dating advanced by boswell and slippery sienknecht made is truly amazing. The lucky new owner can class this purchase like a new car’s – as soon as it leaves the showroom it’s worth about 1/2 the price.

The often dramatic course of the Pinner sale had obviously exhausted all participants.

Flap-jaw maltzahn has made a number of dopey statements but this one is top of the pops. Did boswell measure the pulses of the participants to determine this? Or did he sense it from the sweat on the floor that needed to be mopped up after the sale? What can one say other than mr boswell sure is some showman, or is it charlatan?

At about 6:30 PM , after the intermission, when in part 2 of the auction the lots in catalog 63 were brought up, many were fighting weariness and were beset with problems of concentration.

And just when RK.com thought boswell had shot his load of ludicrous bon mots here he outdoes himself again. Fighting weariness and best with problems of concentration – HARDY HAR HAR maltzahn, don’t make me laugh any harder, please.

After a somewhat sluggish beginning,

Maybe this was due to the mediocrity of the lots and not the weariness and buyer concentration camps, whoops, cramps??

results for Caucasian village rugs, which made up a large part of the auction, were heartening: for example, lot 87, a colorfully splendid

Bordjalou Kazak made 32.000 Euros (39,424 ($46,520)) and lot 101, a pinwheel Kazak ,

despite damages, made 25.000 (30,800 ($36,344)).

RK.com has serious doubts about the veracity of the age of both these lots and wouldn’t be surprised to learn they are contemporary reproductions and not old.

The cover illustration, a rare saffron-yellow Baktiari Khan-rug , was knocked down to a German collector for 22.000 Euros (27,104 ($31,983)). The exceptional Shahsavan flat-woven horse-cover (lot 70) went for 23.000 Euros (28,336 ($33,436)) to the Italian market while the Kirsehir saddlecover (lot 84) was sold to an American collection for 18.000 Euros ( 22,176 ($26,168)).

Of these three lots only the first, the “khan” rug was anything worth the price it made. The horse cover and saddlecover only seriously overpriced nothings. In fact, their results were almost as misguided as calling the last piece Kirsehir. Where in God’s great green earth did boswell, who is already quite well-known for making a number of equally dopey attributions, get this one?

That saddlecover has nothing to do with Kirsehir other than the fact it was made in the same country. Calling it Konya area would have been far better a guess.

I am sure this is not the last we’ll hear from boswell about the pinner sale, don’t forget maltzahn’s palms are sweaty just thinkin’ about another pay day the forthcoming Part II of the pinner collection will bring when it hits the block on Friedrichstrasse this Fall.

RK.com suggests maltzahn take the cataloging and estimate making more seriously this time if he wishes to avoid getting dragged over the hot coals of truth by us again.

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Dec 15th, 2014 12:07:51 AM

Greeting Mike:

Thanks for the comment, and RK is sorry for the late reply.

By the way our webmaster has just fixed the links to the photos that accompany this review.

So if you or any other readers were unable to see the pieces we mention they are now there for your viewing pleasure.

Author: Mike Rosenthal Tue, Dec 9th, 2014 08:15:50 PM

JC, The late Arabachi that Michael Rothberg purchased looks like a nice piece to me. Yes, it is likely late with those flowers. Yes, the price was too high. But it is a nice piece. I'd far prefer an earlier one in less pristine condition, but one rarely sees them. Best, Mike

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