Re: A Possibly Related Instance

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Posted by Tom Cole on April 13, 1999 at 19:41:43:

In Reply to: A Possibly Related Instance posted by R. John Howe on April 13, 1999 at 18:40:39:

: Dear folks -

: I'm not sure this is about Marvin's question, which if I understand it reduces to estimating what a given buyer is willing to pay in a particular instance and what a given seller is willing to accept.

: I suppose one can research the sales catalogs for five years back to determine whether a market exists that then comparatively price the rug one is interested in buying or selling in those terms augmented by some auxilliary rules (for example, a cut or tear is reputed to permit one to divide any seeming market price by one half, etc.) But I doubt that any useful formula can be articulated.

: I was in the room and foolishly prepared to bid on a little Saryk torba at a Skinner auction a few years ago that had good graphics, color and seeming age but that also had a bite out of one corner. I was naively prepared to bid 80% of the $900-1200 estimate. It sold after pandemonium in the room and on the phones for $23,000 (the Skinner folks were giddy) and is reputed to have sold again the following week for $44,000.

: After that, I gave up on what Marvin is trying to pin down. There will always potentially be someone who is willing to pay an unrealistic price. So I have difficulty addressing the question Marvin has posed.

: But on a somewhat related subject, I received today a seriously fragmentary Turkish village rug that I bought recently. This rug nearly meets the test cited by Harold Keshishian in a recent rug morning program on fragments. Harold said that a particular dealer in fragments characterized his kind of fragment by saying that they were of the type which if hung on a clothes line in a wind, would not move much. You get the picture.

: This Turkish village frag is perhaps 6'X9.' It has holes, tears, and places where there is only warp. It is probably not 18th century but could be early 19th century. I didn't page much for it. But it also still shows the main border on all four sides, a large medallion in the field and some wonderful colors. It is, for me, absolutely beyond repair and I plan to have it sewn carefully to a backing with the warps as they would be on the loom. I think that it will be a ghostly but effective image that I can look at for a long time.

: I have restored a fine Turkoman piece that needed pile in some bare spots and have not yet (six years later) seen any color movement. That restoration probably enhanced the value of that piece.

: I had recently a nice Balouch piece that a dealer turned down saying that it needed some repair in his opinion and he could not match its fine wool. So in that case apparently a usual repair might have detracted from the price that could be commanded.

: With this Turkish village piece there is no question. It would be too expensive to do and I expect a restoration would not enhance the value of this piece in the market (although some reweavers are doing wondrous things now and I heard someone talk recently about having an old, old piece restored perhaps 80% and subsequently estimate by a major auction house to have "minor repairs.").

: Anyway, one of these days, I'll be able to put up an image of this Turkish village fragment to stimulate further conversation on this and related subjects.

: Regards,

: R. John Howe

"There will always potentially be someone who is willing to pay an
unrealistic price. So I have difficulty addressing the question Marvin has posed."

John- That Saryk torba is a GREAT thing, and the bites out of the corners are meaningless in the long run. GREAT art does not suffer for a little damage, marginally nice pieces may suffer immeasureably in the mind and eye of the beholders. That Saryk was REAL nice and Skinners embarrassed themselves with such a low estimate. And you are right, it sold some time after the sale for upwards of $40,000. Worth it at 40 grand? I don't know but it was certainly worth it at 23. And the present owner probably wouldn't sell it for all the tea in China as he has recognized the art in the piece and the "importance" it has to HIS collection.

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