Posted by Marvin Amstey on January 13, 1999 at 18:45:12:
In Reply to: Re: Dealer Fairs posted by Jerry Silverman on January 13, 1999 at 18:11:56:
: : Dear Friends,
: : In Yon Bard's first posting to this Salon he mentioned that the Dealer Fairs are his favorite events at rug conferences. Mine, too.
: : ICOC and ACOR include dealer fairs in their arrangements; the TM does not permit commercial activity during their conventions. The dealer fairs provide an opportunity to see and handle hundreds or even thousands of rugs and textiles in a leisurely manner, and to discuss them with other collectors and with the dealers. I think there is no better way (perhaps no other way!) to really learn about rugs than to see and handle them under the informal tutelage of others who know more. The dealer fairs are the best places I know of for this activity. They're also very social and great fun for anyone who loves textiles. I hope they are profitable for the dealers, too, because if they aren't, we'll lose them.
: : Steve Price
: At the risk of diluting my curmudgeonly reputation let me say that I've never met a "dealer's fair" I didn't like. They are almost reason enough to attend every rug conference, no matter where, no matter when, no matter how high the registration fees.
: For those of you lurking on this Salon who have never attended a rug conference, let me tell you what a "dealer's fair" is like. Imagine anywhere from about 40 - 75 of the best rug stores in the world all in one place, generally only a few feet (or floors) from the lecture halls. Because of space limitations, the dealers only have room to bring and show their best stuff. (...although some bring less lordly items as well to make sure they have something for everyone.) And it's all right out there - where you can touch it, get your face right up in it, and discuss its attributes with other ruggies and the dealer. You feel like you've been turned loose in a really good textile museum, and all the guards who keep you from touching things have been sent home early. Are there bargains at "dealer's fairs"? Probably not. The chances of finding a "sleeper" are about as good as your chances of being hit by a meteorite. Most items are "fully priced" at retail. But it *is* the rug business, and dealers need to cover their expenses and more; so deals get done.
: In another thread, Wendel has brought up the presence of unregistered dealers operating out of their hotel rooms. While I sympathize with conference organizers who are deprived of their fee that the dealers in the fair have paid and, consequently, who have less income to spread around for the other expenses of the conference, I have trouble knowing where to draw the line with unregistered dealers. What does one call a conference attendee who brings along a half-dozen sumak bags in the hope of selling them to collectors he/she knows will be there? Or even more indirectly, what about a local dealer who shows up at the conference and hangs around the hotel with a picture book of his rugs and the offer to drive interested parties to his/her store? The tradition of "camp followers" is a long one with which this behavior shares many characteristics.
: Dealer's fairs are usually held either in a centralized, single, large room or decentralized in each dealer's hotel room/suite. My preference is for the decentralized alternative. It's more crowded and bazaar-like. And it can't be closed at some arbitrary time by closing the doors to the big room. Each dealer can magnify his/her individuality and that of their goods much more easily in their own room than when they are slap-up-against other dealers separated by a sheet of peg-board. And for those who want to do their buying and selling in private it's much easier in a hotel room than in a ballroom.
One of my best Baluchi rugs came from a "camp follower". To me they are as welcome as the "fair" dealers. What doesn't get sold at the fair usually can be had for 1/3 to 1/2 the original asking price. So in describing retail price, I would emphasize FULL retail price - just like the famous antique shows. Marvin
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