Posted by Stephen Louw on June 07, 1999 at 15:41:05:
There are no "high end" dealers in South Africa, at least not in the Michael Frances or Hermann league. However there are one or two dealers selling good mid-range stuff, much of which was imported from the UK in the post-War period. My favourite rugs have come from one of these dealers. Our local branch of Sotheby’s sells some rugs, but mainly low-end stuff, unlike the US and UK auction houses. Other auction houses sell mostly junk, or contemporary Iranian imports. By and large, purchasing over the Internet (eBay especially) has the potential to open up new horizons to buyers like myself who lack the means to travel to and buy from European and North American dealers.
2) Frequency of purchase.
Two or three a year.
– strategy. Generally to fall in love with a rug offered to me, and then save up until I can afford it. This can take a while, but is definitely worth it.
3) What makes a rug collectible?
Strong “tribal” flavour. Increasingly, colour and wool quality. Rarity. Age.
Important, far more so than it probably should be. I don’t own any fragments.
My collection is not large enough for this to be a problem, yet. All rugs are on display.
There are two issues here. First, regarding structure, materials, etc. I am trying to learn as much about this as possible, and use my rugs for this. Secondly, regarding rug history, design evolution, etc. I would like to do this, but have yet to find a way to do this.
7) Valuable resources.
Books, followed by the Internet. What I would most like to have access to, and what I believe I would learn the most from, is dealers forums and museum collections. Published collections (like Vanishing Jewels) are really useful and informative, as well as a challenge. These were not put together through money alone, but through knowledge.
8) Changing interests.
I first bought modern decorating rugs, and still own my first piece, a contemporary Bijar. I will sell this, however.
9) My mortality.
Have not given this a second thought. My partner thinks all Turkoman rugs look the same, so she loses out as a potential custodian.
10) Advice to novice collector.
As a novice, am not qualified to give advice. But generally, buy fewer better pieces. Read widely. And learn from extant collections, many of which have been published.
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