The ICOC Carpet Fair-A Neophytic Impression
10:45 A.M.Saturday April 19, 2003
It was a delightful spring morning here in Washington, as I made my way across Connecticut Ave at it's intersection with Calvert St, post a quick stopover at Trocadero Textile Art. A beautiful neighborhood this Woodly Park, with it's newly refurbished Taft Memorial bridge, the vertigris ironwork and famous reposing lions restored to their former glory, and the panoramic view of Rock Creek Park. Past the Woodly Inn, where yours truly served a most brief tour of duty, and the former location of the corner "mom and pop" liquor store, quite likely priced out of the neighborhood.
Yes, this is a tweedy neighborhood, with plenty of tweedy loafers milling about on all the street corners, yet unlike K St after 6:00 P.M. one need not fear the incessant requests for spare cigarettes or panhandling for excess change from these denizens.The last two weeks have been hard on me, between locating a new minivan for the wife and some new demands at work, and was so tired that by the weekend that I almost didn't make it to the Carpet Fair at ICOC. Seeming to stem from both by my fatigue and a desire to make some type of statement, as if a counterpoint to all the tweediness for which this neighborhood is renowned, I donned a pair of navy sweat pants (properly fitted, of course),some tassel loafers, a Kelly green polo jersey, and a bright red nylon windbreaker (new) emblazoned with a patch bearing the bulldog mascot and the name "Mack Trucks" on the left breast pocket. I was ready.
I must confess a slight aprehension, as I guess we all feel when facing anything for the first time, but any untoward feelings quickly evaporated when confronted by the cordial and festive timbre of the event and participants "Certainly","thank you" and "excuse me" were the catch phrases of the day, as maneuvering these congested corridors required some surefooted sidestepping. The proprietors of the booths seemed to well understand the temporal gymnastics required of the perusal of collectable carpets and for the most part left me to my own devices, with little more than a simple saluatory greeting or nod of the head and a momentary catching of the eye. It seems that many of the internet purveyors with which I am familiar were there, as well as many of those carpets published for sale therein. And there was at least some old fashioned huckstering going on, with one salesperson blurting out to the passerby, much as with a carnival midway, those most alluring qualities of their wares, and suggesting that "they won't be here for long".
As for the wares themselves, the colors were gorgeous and the condition outstanding, although as a collector with a rather focused range of experience, there was much of which I am not possessed of adequate knowledge. These rugs were expensive, yet not much more so than the higher range of prices to be found in the regular carpet trade and in line with the speciality dealers. Other than affording an opportunity to view a large number of high quality pieces at one time( I viewed more in the wool Turkmen Torba of appreciable age at one time than I had seen all told in my collecting experience), for myself it seems that even more importantly this experience helped to put into perspective some of my assumptions about value and collecting in general.
Most of my collecting experience comes from the general carpet trade and some speciality dealers. I believe that good rugs can and are found in the general trade, and part of the fun of collecting is in the hunt. Armed with nothing but a wheelbarrow of money, you could walk out of this fair with a respectable collection of carpets, but at what level of collecting? What are the differences between good, excellent, and outstanding, and how do these factors affect the market? As one prominent collector/ dealer in the Washington area was so kind to inform me, "Dave, I buy quality Turkmen work, I don't sell them". Also, at this buying level, I would not be suprised that an excellent or even outstanding piece can be had for that of a good piece, if one is able to recognize it as such. Know what is estimable.
Annother benifit of attending this show was the unexpected increase in the degree of appreciation of my present collection. Some of is is not so bad after all, and considering what I paid for it, really verry happy with it for what it is.This is not to say that I don't see a Fine Brown Yomut main carpet with graciously spaced Tauk Nauska Guls, a primatively executed boat border, and a chemle gul smattered elem in my future. I'm also rather partial to long plain woven ends with blue horizontil bands in triplicate.- Dave
You mention seeing more Tekke torbas in one place than the sum of all that you had seen before. Exactly. This is why the ICOC and ACOR dealer fairs are the best places to get educated about rugs. You can see dozens of related things, of quality levels ranging from medium to outstanding (there's rather little really poor material to be found at these events - the attendees aren't interested in such things, and the dealers who have them in their inventory leave them at the shop). Nothing beats comparison "in the wool" to drive home the difference between good, better and best.
Interesting, too, that you used Tekke torbas as your example. The carpet fair included two of the best I've ever seen.
Garbage In, Quality Out
Steve is right that a venue such as the ICOC or ACOR, especially the dealers fair, is a great place to see many "better" weavings in a short time. You could spend years (I know I have) looking in rug stores and antique malls without seeing any truly wonderful pieces. As you said "I viewed more in the wool Turkmen Torba of appreciable age at one time than I had seen all told in my collecting experience".
I expect that many beginning, and even seasoned, collectors do not have "wheelbarrows full of money" to buy very many of these better pieces, but as you said about buying at general trade and specialty rug dealers stores:
"at this buying level, I would not be suprised that an excellent or even outstanding piece can be had for that of a good piece, if one is able to recognize it as such."
So the hunt continues.
As Jame Opie used to say in his advertisements:
We Buy Shiraz Rugs
and sell fine qashqa'i, khamseh, bakhtiyari, lurs and afshar rugs and carpets
condition and costs
I'd never been to an ICOC, and I looked around a bit. I agree that it was a
great chance to see and compare and the people were friendly. However, probably
just through my lack of experience, I felt that the pieces varied in
quality/subjective interest and I was struck more by the generally high levels
of condition and cost.
As someone who buys in flea markets and while travelling and churns constantly, I felt that buying at anything resembling many of the presented prices would be risky -- how could I get out of the piece (e.g., thousands for a Jaf) if I decided to move on? It seemed like a great chance to learn and people were friendly, but given the general lack of transparency of the rug market (as someone in Hali 100 put it "In what other field do you find an object with a price tag of $8000, and the dealer willing to sell for $2000?"), actually buying something seemed risky and looked like a hassle for people who just walked in after seeing the ad. The rug biz seems to be tailored to serving current collectors (who may know people and pricing practices and see stuff first) in ways that may be unhelpful to the making of new ruggies that the rug biz needs in the long term.
I don't follow your thinking here. Let's use the Jaff Kurd bags for an example, since you mentioned that type. I'm sure I saw at least 15 of them at the Dealer Fair, all shown publicly (that is, no dealer buttonholed me and brought me to his "private stock" to see one). What better opportunity could there be for a beginner to learn how to tell the mediocre from the great than to be able to see a large number, of variable price and quality, in the same place?
Every dealer there could tell you what was good about his specimen, and at the end you would know something about Jaff Kurd bags, have a pretty good feel for how they are priced and why one costs more than another. You'd be able to recognize a bargain when you saw one, too. This seems to me to be incredibly beginner-friendly in every respect except for disappointing someone who is accustomed to flea market prices (and, with rare exceptions, flea market quality - they go together). Dealer booths cost $3700 to $6000 each (just to rent the space - not counting labor or travel costs); the customer base at ICOC and ACOR is largely composed of experienced collectors and other dealers. The guys who run booths there can't afford to bring in low end stuff. There isn't enough profit in it, and the serious collector won't waste time looking at what else the guy has. That is, this isn't the place to shop for very low end stuff or the amazing bargains that can occasionally turn up at flea markets. It's a terrific place to learn, and to find outstanding pieces, often at reasonable prices.
Hi Steve: As noted, I agree that the Fair was a great place to learn. And many people there have helped me, which I find a bit amazing since I tell them that I spend microbucks. We differ on two points, I think: First, I felt that the range of the quality of pieces was more significant than you suggest, I don't feel that it was really an "if-it's-here,-it's-probably-good" situation. Second, I am not convinced that a general price-quality relationship held --or for that matter that selling prices were even clear. Many pieces had no prices (?) and I got the sense that some attached prices were the starting and not the ending point of a pricing discussion. (Also, while the fair is chance to learn, quality is prehaps not so clearly/ objectively defined in anonymous art with values placed on age/ color/ scarcity/ drawing/ etc. varying with individuals). I have bought from some of the dealers there, don't get me wrong, but the rug biz will need new ruggies (I felt young there, and I'm no kid!) and IMHO some preaviling practices are better suited to serving established collectors than making new ones.
I share your irritation at things not having price tags or a price list. Some dealers have them, some don't. The "haggling window" is nothing like the 75% that Danny Shaffer quipped, at least not in this venue, and posted prices help let the buyer know whether he's interested enough to pursue the matter.
There isn't an absolute relationship of price to quality, but there is a general one. Many dealers price their goods on the basis of what they had to pay for them, and antique rugs and textiles are not commodities (although they come closer to being that than many people like to believe).
The dealer fairs do, indeed, target collectors rather than newcomers. But the newcomer can still take advantage of the education he can get there. And, it's almost free. Once he has that, he isn't a newcomer any more. He's either a collector or he's gone off in some other direction.
So to summarize:
1) Dealers' Fairs are great places to see rugs.
2) DFs are great places to train your eye to recognize good-better-best.
3) DFs are great places to learn from dealers (or from other chatty customers...you can learns as much or more from other shoppers as from dealers).
I'd like to offer another valuable benefit to be gained by attending a DF.
That's right: innoculation.
Seeing Really Good Stuff elevates your personal level of taste. Pieces that formerly you'd consider owning now don't reach the bar. And here's the cool part: pieces that you would consider owning now you can't afford. Stuff you can afford you don't want; and stuff you want you can't afford.
If you also attend the conference's exhibitions, the innoculation can be effective until the next conference.
(...who won't need a booster shot until 2004)
a collector, not Hali itself, gave the $8k/$2k quote in an article about the
rug market (Hali 100).
Steve: "There isn't an absolute relationship of price to quality, but there is a general one." OK, but there are better and worse deals and the variance seems pretty high to me. I don't take any Treasure Hunt/Lottery ticket stuff seriously (if I wanted to make money, I'd actually work, and you don't see that too often), and I enjoy looking around, but it seems that it's rewarded in terms of better deals.
Steve:..."Many dealers price their goods on the basis of what they had to pay for them..." That might help explain the variance. It can be hard to actually follow, but strictly speaking cost is irrelevant to market price and it should be forgotten in selling. If you think the market price is X, you shouldn't sell for .8X just because you paid .3X. And unless you expect increasing prices, you shouldn't turn down X because you paid .8X or 1.2X. High-cost things probably are held, and low-cost things become deals?
Whoever it was who made the remark about the rug business being one where an item marked $8000 could sell for $2000 was being facetious. Like most facetious remarks, it has more than a germ of truth. But that isn't the case at the dealer fairs or for any reputable dealer in antique textiles that I know. It does apply to a lot of what are known in the trade as GOBs (people who make a living by Going Out of Business) over and over.
You are right, the variation in prices for comparable pieces can be huge. I've gotten some remarkable bargains at dealer fairs, and passed up things that I thought were priced too high. I'm not a business person, so I can't debate the wisdom or foolishness of a dealer working with a more or less constant percentage markup rather than pricing his goods at whatever the market will bear. Maybe someone with more knowledge of he realities of being a dealer can do so. I suspect that in this business, as in so many, cash flow is a critical element, so cost turning a piece over quickly for a good percentage profit may make more sense than holding it in hope of a much larger profit, in view of cash flow considerations.
Nobody has mentioned the fact that only ICOC registrants are allowed in the
Dealers' Fair, which means that the customers are already by definition deeply
committed to the rug world. You can't expect the dealers to cater to neophites
in this environment.
On the question of whether to go for modest profit and good cash flow or wait for years in hope of a huge profit, my limited experience shows that many (but not all) dealers opt for the latter. In several cases where I knew what a dealer paid for a piece (because I saw him buy it at auction) the dealer strongly resisted my offer to resell immediately at a reasonable mark-up. Only after failing to sell after a year or two would they come down to my terms. There was one case, though, ehere the dealer agreed to my offer of 25% profit immediately. It is not my job to tell dealers how to run their business, but I do have the feeling that sitting on a large inventory for years in hopes of big profits is not optimal.
Hi Yon -
Very good to see you face-to-face, too, after all this virtual interchange.
One small quibble with your first sentence above. Actually, we allowed, yeah, encouraged, the general public to come into the carpet fair at ICOC X. $10 got you admittance for all three days. $9, if you had one of our ads in hand and $5 if you had student or faculty ID.
I don't know how many tickets we sold to the general public, but I think it was more than a few.
So there were likely some neophytes about at least sometimes for dealers to deal with.
R. John Howe
I probably wasn't very clear/// never happened before...
I was trying to say that it's better to focus on market prices and forget what you paid when setting a price. If your cost for an item was lower than usual and you consider it when setting a price, you may sell for less than you could get. This could cut off profits. If your cost is higher than usual and you think of it in pricing, you might keep the thing too long. Better to cash it in and do something else?
This was my first ICOC, and the experience could best be described as
The venue was terrific. I think the hotel and facilities were well suited to the purpose, and a great value.
The sessions, as noted often before, varied tremendously in quality. Yes, they need vetting, etc. etc. I have a couple of questions about this which I'll address elsewhere.
The dealer fair was terrific, and probably where I should have spent more time, but after my first two-hour pass through the place I thought, "If I see another six-gul Tekke juval I'm going to scream..." (Obviously, I wasn't in the market to buy one at the time.) Prices were what I'd expect at a specialty conference aimed at the dealers' target market. There was some truly top-quality stuff there--much better than that in many museums. And we got to TOUCH the stuff! That was my favorite part. I found most of the dealers to be friendly and helpful, though their knowledge varied almost as much as the academic sessions did.
We must have spent our time with all the wrong people, because somewhere in the middle of the second day my husband, a tolerant fellow with a good sense of humor, assessed the conference as a "nirvana for blowhards". But then, he's not a ruggie.
All in all, I'd assess it as a worthwhile experience, but it did have a sort of "closed shop" vibe, with a definite in-crowd. I've read laments over the past few years about the worries over the next generation of collectors (including whether or not there will be any) and the dearth of dealers who can deal exclusively in antique rugs. I think these are valid concerns. There's nothing we can do about the market aspect (the fact that the best, oldest pieces are now beyond the reach of most people). But there's a lot that could be done about fostering the development of new collectors, and for starters I'd suggest that the next ICOC organizers form a "congeniality" subcommittee to ensure that newbies and/or first-time attendees are welcomed and included. I'll be the first volunteer for the committee.
Hi Tracy -
You post here is one I am sorry to read since some of us DO try constantly to draw new people in and make them feel welcome.
As you might imagine, I was personally (as were some other LOC members here) nearly consumed with working to make the conference appear, operate and go away on time at the end. But we still tried very hard to be inclusive.
Your complaint is one I've experienced in almost every conference of any sort that I've ever attended.
The ISPI conference for instructional designers that I first attended in 1965, has always received this kind of critique and did for a few years establish the sort of welcoming mechanism you recommend. In truth it didn't work very well. I think the reason is that most such groups (I even saw it in a large teddy bear conference. Think about that. A teddy bear elite!!!) are in fact a gathering of a kind of elite. New folks can "get in" ultimately, at least to some degree, but there are circles within circles of influence, respect, interaction and acquaintance and some of those in the inner circles in fact have little time or energy for new folks.
ICOC tried to broaden its base in 1996 by mistakenly offering memberships. But it quickly became clear that there were few benefits of membership and that idea was dropped (I think). ICOC was founded by Pinner primarily as an effort to advance the more rigorous study of oriental rugs and textiles. It is much less a collectors' conference than is ACOR. In my view it contributes usefully to the goals it has established for itself, but one of the costs of that is that it is still in many ways a kind of "gentlemen's" club run by an elite for their own purposes.
In addition, you will have noticed that the rug world is competitive and therefore full of egoes, some of which are visibly enormous. And that can get in the way of relationships as well.
Even money has its effect, since only some (and I am clearly not in this group) get into the conversations about pieces in certain price ranges. (You can look but you feel a little awkward asking questions about a piece that even your own clothing likely suggests that you could never afford. :-) )
So I can understand if new attendees might feel somewhat "outside" things. It happens even in local rug clubs where those in authority are really only interested in learning at their own level.
Not sure we can ever address this phenomenon satisfactorily but I was sorry to read about your experience. We wanted it to be better.
R. John Howe
As a first time ICOC participant, I found people to be very friendly. But of
course many of the folks at ICOC have gone to these things for years or even
decades, so they have established friendships at the conference (which makes me
appreciate their kindness in spending time with a new person). All pretty normal
for such and interest or field. I do wonder if ICOC, ACOR, etc., have a sort of
a key cohort who have been doing this for a while. These folks have produced a
lot of knowledge (e.g., compare a 30 year old book on tribal rugs to current
ones). In that way, it might have been more fun to start in this interest
decades ago when progess seemed greater? Reminds me a bit of the jazz or
classical music audience: many people seem to be older than I am (gasp), does
this suggest a dim future or is this just an interest that people tend to
develop in middle age? If the conference audience was younger a few decades ago,
maybe the handwringing about the failure to develop to new collectors has a
basis. While the realities are surely more complex, rugs may have gone from good
press politically in the past ('art products of anaymous women workers in
relatively low-development countries') to bad press (blurred but damaging
concerns about child labor, etc.,) now.
Who knows if there's even an issue here? If the people with better info think so, to make ICOC more rookie-friendly, I think that the registration fee should be lower, the quality of the talks shoud be raised, and the fees that dealers must pay should be reduced so maybe there'd be more sellers and maybe even a bit lower prices. Maybe ICOC should cut back a bit on the costs for receptions and the like and only subsidize the expenses of a small set of star speakers who are known to provide new and strong talks every time? Anatomy is destiny, can't remember who said it...
John, I certainly wasn't faulting the organizers with my comments. After
meeting you I was leery of posting *anything* critical, since I enjoyed talking
with you so much, and I did not want you to take it at all personally. You and
the other organizers deserve BIG kudos, because on the whole the conference came
off very well, especially given the fact that most of the organizers are
hobbyists who do rugs in their spare time. I also understand that many of the
ICOC participants are old buddies who probably don't see each other very often
and like to spend their time together at events like this.
My comments were intended simply to offer one outsider's perspective. To put it concretely, in the nearly four days I spent at the conference, only ONCE did someone approach me to introduce himself (and he was a dealer I'd done some business with in the past). Every other contact I made was one I initiated, and I don't think I was particularly agressive in doing that. If my experience was not shared by others, then I'll take it to mean that I must be terribly intimidating in some way I can't fathom.
And I won't even MENTION how heavily male-dominated this field is. As someone who used to work in the technology sector, I'm used to that. But the age and gender of most attendees reinforces the feeling of "Old Boys Club".
Maybe none of that really matters. I have a head cold and I'm grumpy, which might account at least partly for my crotchetiness.
Hi Tracy -
I think your comment was likely accurate and I certainly don't take it personally. I just sorrow that we didn't do better.
I can think of one other person you met not entirely on your own initiative: I introduced you to Marla Mallett outside the breakfast room one morning.
We, likely should have tried to get those we know virtually on Turkotek together one of the conference days, but there was too much going on for those of us behind the scenes.
My wife and I did get a chance to hang out a bit on the evening of the 21st with Stephen and Abby Louw and it would have been fun if that group had been bigger.
Maybe at ACOR in Seattle.
R. John Howe
John, you're such a DARNED nice guy! And you're right about the introduction
to Marla (thank you), so I will amend my earlier comment to reflect that. I
think that if everyone took a page from your book, the issues I raised would
have been moot.
And now that you have me thinking, in the spirit of full disclosure I should admit that at least one other conference attendee spoke to me, unsolicited, when we were trapped together in the malfunctioning elevator.
I'm guilty of not approaching you until you introduced yourself to me. My excuse? You had an advantage. I'm recognizable from my photo in our Portrait Gallery (although it does make me look older and heavier), you never sent us one of yourself to include. I apologize anyway.
You mentioned also that you felt the conference was male-dominated. Registrants self-select - that is, women are as welcome to pay to attend as men are. I did an unofficial count of the gender distribution of the speakers, which is the only group selected by anyone in the ICOC organization. About one-third are women, about two-thirds are men. While this isn't an equal distribution, it isn't what I'd expect if women were being excluded on the basis of their gender.
I don't think women are or were excluded as either attendees or speakers--I have no axe to grind there. I'm just making the point that most collectors and dealers are men, and by that criterion it's a male-dominated field.
Another observation: Most textile curators and conservators are women, so
that aspect of the field is female-dominated.
I find it interesting that while rugs (at least the ones currently in vogue) are created by women, most connoisseurs of the objects are men.
And while most textile curators are women, rugs are relegated to second-class status in *most* museum textile collections (with a few very notable exceptions).
It's a strange world we live in.
Dear Tracy, et.al.,
Am I the only person who is just now beginning to recover from ICOC? Whew. On the other hand I think going to the store is a big deal - but still - what an adventure!
As a total newbie - both as a participant and as a speaker - the entire event was just dazzling to me, also daunting - creating the presentation was difficult, getting to Washington an adventure complete with practically being stripped by the security agents in Chicago - here's a tip: don't wear long full coats, flowing Eastern shawls and laced up granny boots at the airport, no matter how cute they are! Taking them OFF and putting them back on in time to run to the plane is a Major Challenge
I was lucky to have had Marla as a roommate and mentor - "lucky" isn't a big enough word - she's simply The Best. But I wish I'd had more time to talk to folks - there was so much to do and so many cool people. Tracy, I'd heard of you but was totally unprepared for your beauty and intelligence - wow! Other folks I've connected with over email, or read about on the 'net or in Hali - and there they were, in person! It was awesome. And, I got to see friends: Jane, Fred, Stephen & Abby, and of course Jerry! Sans camel hat, alas Sadly I didn't get to meet Wendel, as he was so busy.
On the subject of Men In The Carpet World: Tracy, I've mentioned this too, and was immediately informed that Of Course The Wives Were Collectors Too - but I think the empirical evidence is overwhelming, yes? I have no idea why this would be so; perhaps if women become more prosperous more will become collectors and even dealers. Of course in many rug-making regions there are cultural norms which preclude women from participating too much on the business front.
At the very least I think, apart from making art, we're beginning to play a vital role in academia and museums, and hopefully more women will begin to participate as collectors and dealers.
As to why museums still suggest that carpets and other textiles are not first rank art - like sculpture or painting - well - a lot of collectors and afficienados still don't see carpets as art! Again I find that baffling. Some people bring up the idea that it's only craft; others say it's only craft because carpets are often a group project. But you know what? I think ALL art is a group project - one way or another, we're all interlinked, all dependent upon each other for help, for inspiration, whether it's as mundane as help with stretching a canvas or as exalted as connecting with a cave painting created by a distant ancestor 20,000 years in the past. And people who love art, who are willing to spend time listening, learning, buying, selling, collecting - running websites and conferences! - are every bit as precious, every bit as much a part of the process as the people who make it.
Thanks to all!
Sophia, Bertram Frauenknecht has a theory to explain why it's primarily men
who collect rugs. According to him, since most of the collectible rugs are woven
by women, the men try to possess the women by acquiring their
Related trivia. It did take the Haji Baba Club a few years to come around:
the original club constitution written in 1932 specified that membership be "men
only" because women lacked the proper attitude towards rugs, being overly
concerned with "utility". Things changed in '57.
I just happened to be reading "Oriental Rugs of the Haji Babas" last night.
Hmmmmm. Jon, I wonder if there's some way I could use this possession
business to sell some paintings??? Sadly, I think I shoulda thought about that
about 20 years ago, darn it
I think the utility idea is pretty funny - maybe that's why they are still keeping us female types out of Augusta? We think the grass should be eaten by sheep or something, might ruin the place?
Hmmmmmm. Not a bad idea, now that I think of it...
collecting rugs to possess women? Interesting idea!!!
I used Jung's psychology in my talk in Boston considering the yinyang and its related image in Anatolian kilims as a pictorial expression of anima-animus ( has nothing to do with possession).
It is the subconcious part in all of us.
Men are more thrilled by it as they will never understand women Therefore they love their tribal rugs as an allegory.
It could be an interesting approach to sell paintings. It was nice meeting you, Sophia.
All the best
Another Rug Image
Dear folks -
Not to deflect from the discussion going on in this thread, but I'll take advantage of the heading to post some images of some other pieces I admired at the dealer fair.
First an overall view of a Yomut main carpet:
Then a little closer view, showing its nice "boat" border and a little of its elem.
Last, a close-up to let you examine the gul and the minor ornament.
Not a great carpet, but a very attractive one with lively color. And I like "diamond" shaped guls for some reason.
R. John Howe
Follow Up to Some Posts
Steve, Wendal, and All-Granted, I may have well had the Holy Grail within
arms reach yet didn't know it, but in my defense I can say that I came back for
a second look six to eight times. Everytime I went back it seems that two or
three people were ahead of me in line, and given my spectator status, combined
with the realization that this vendor has a total of three days to sell his
wares, I wasn't about to get between him and a potential buyer. Perspective,
among others of course, is what this venue best affords, the chance to see
quality in it's various manifestations, enabling one to judge.
There are some aspects of prices and pricing which I think it is important to consider. In one example a friend of my father happens to have been the owner of an important collection of American antique clocks, and in particular a certain tall case clock of the highest order. He used to joke about it's value, saying that he would never get as much for it as it's valuation, even if he did want to sell it.Good luck finding someone both interested enough and wealthy enough to afford it. Ultimately he assured my father, value is nothing more than that which someone is willing to pay. Price is fickle. Sobering is the fact that the fore mentioned case clock, if one were even to come on the market, could fetch not tens or even hundreds of thousands, but millions of dollars. But not when he bought it. Today you have to be verry wealthy to afford even one piece of Federal furniture of the highest order, let alone assemble a collection
Again, perception comes into play. The Smithsonian Institution offered at one time, and probably still does, a rental program in which various artifacts of historic significance could be had for a mere $5,000.00 per year, including insurance and enclosed in it's own display case. That was almost twenty years ago. Face it, rugs are a bargain. Even a regular guy who saves a few bucks on the side and with a little luck might assemble a small collection of rugs or bags of a high order- try that with Chippendale period furniture-Dave