Re: Rarity

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Posted by Tom Cole on March 27, 1999 at 08:30:35:

In Reply to: Re: Rarity posted by Michael Wendorf on March 24, 1999 at 11:29:42:

: : : : Dear folks -

: : : : My take on "rarity" is that it is fairly far down the list of criteria in terms of which I usually collect.

: : : : I think that the reason for that is that "rarity" says nothing by itself about some of the other quailities that I find important like "do I like it?" and "what is its quality?" It is obvious that some things that are "rare" aren't beautiful. I'm not attracted to most Arabatchi weavings because I find the color palette of the great majority of them unattractive. Yet dealers seem never to fail to mention "Arabatchi' nowadays if there is any suspicion that a given piece could be one. Rarity apparently both sells and pays.

: : : : Now having said that I admit that I sometimes too have tendencies in the direction of rarity. The fact that I had not seen one "in the wool" before, was a factor in my purchase of the humble little Tibetan pony neck band that I have up on our show and tell board. And I also plead guilty to having a taste for quirky weavings, and part of this quirky-ness is usually that they are unusual (this latter tendency is strong enough that I probably own some things I shouldn't own). This aspect of my taste is hard to distiguish from the humbler varities of rarity. Notice, too, that rarity can be a factor in quite inexpensive weavings as well as in those at the top of the market.

: : : : Regards,

: : : : R. John Howe

: : : You certainly hit the nail on the head when you used Arabathchi pieces as examples of "ugly". The piece on offer in this issue of Hali - in the gallery section - is a good example of very rare and "ugly". Who wants it? That's not to say that there are not beautiful Arabatchi pieces, but this one is not one of them. Marvin

: : Declaring a piece on the market as "ugly" from a photo in HALI seems to me a bit out of line. I would confine yourself to the discussion at hand rather than rugs you probably have never seen. I have seen this torba, in Tucson, and it is not "ugly". Your statements regarding its desireability in a collectors's market is something to be left to the marketplace in general and not your unilateral declaration. I am sure Mr. Terry does NOT appreciate your comments nor would you in a similar position. Taste in rugs is subjective.
: : To the discussion at hand, I am glad someone else flashed on the postage stamp mentality in collecting, something I mentioned previously which brought no response at the time.

: Tom:
: As someone who has worked (and worked hard) in the field and helped to discover some types of rugs that were late to the market and late to be understood I wonder if you could comment on the value of rarity from your experience? Thanks. MW

Given what you have said, "late to the market and late to be understood", a rare rug which is not understood, that and a dollar will buy me a cup of coffee! That's the way it goes sometimes. What to do?

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