Bad advice

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Posted by Wendel Swan on June 07, 1999 at 15:00:29:

Dear John, et. al,

Perhaps the quotation needs to be placed in context and perhaps he has valuable insights, but these words of Jan Timmerman are the silliest and worst guidance that could be given to a beginning collector: "Only buy the things you really like and never listen to the advice of others."

Only those with more dollars than sense can afford to heed such counsel.

Everyone will buy what he or she likes, regardless of Timmerman's suggestion, so to tell someone to only buy "things you really like" is pointless. Who buys what they don't like?

And anyone who would "never listen to the advice of others" either knows everything or knows nothing. It is difficult to say which is worse: to hear someone effectively say "I won't listen because I know everything" or "I won't listen because I know nothing except what I like."

When it comes to the question of "liking," does the expression of a bald preference have or convey any meaning?

Collecting is much more a learning process than it is a process of making acquisitions. The tastes and interests of collectors change as their experience with rugs evolves and their horizons expand. Beginning collectors typically concentrate on those aspects of a rug that are the easiest to understand, such as condition and fineness of weave. Eventually, the relative historical, cultural or aesthetic significance of these objects becomes paramount. An old rug fragment can then be as beautiful as the armless Venus de Milo.

Following Timmerman's advice would deprive collectors of the opportunity to learn from one another and to share the social interaction that makes the whole process both educational and interesting.


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