Posted by Jerry Silverman on June 06, 1999 at 16:08:09:
Very interesting subject, John.
Let me address your questions one by one.
1. Where have you tended to find the rugs in your current collection? Most of my rugs have come from retail dealers for whom I have been providing advertising/public relations counsel. I spend a great deal of time in their stores, and now and then something catches my eye. The temptation to trade-out some (or all) of my monthly retainer for a rug occasionally overwhelms me. Recently, Iíve bought three pieces over eBay.
2. How frequently do you tend to buy pieces? More frequently in the past...less so, lately.
For example, how many pieces have you bought each year in the last two years? 3/year
Is it your practice to determine about the price level at which you want to buy and then to restrict your rug purchases until your rug fund has grown to that level or do you buy more frequently and knowingly give up some order of quality because you find it enjoyable to be looking constantly with the possibility of purchase and/or because you find that you want to have some pieces in your area of collecting interest "in your hands." Or is your strategy in
this area different from these two possibilities? I look constantly, but I donít buy until I find EXACTLY what I want at the price I want to pay. I plan to collect for the rest of my life, so thereís no rush.
3. What makes a rug "collectible" for you? It must be a good example of its type. And it must look nice with my other pieces.
Do you use some specific standards or criteria and not collect outside them? If so, what are they? I prefer ďtribalĒ pieces. I like to display them so I can see them whenever I like. But most of my available display space is pretty much occupied already, so Iíve confined myself to small things.
What, for you, is the meaning of a sentence like, "It's certainly a beautiful rug but it's
definitely not a collectible rug." I have a few ca. 1980 rugs made in Afghanistan. They are very, very finely woven with kurk wool and silk on silk foundations. Design-wise, they are creative amalgams of Turkmen and Caucasian iconography. Killer color. Definitely beautiful. But ďcollectibleĒ? Probably not.
4. How important is "condition" to you in your collecting decisions? Very.
Without having the issues in this next question take over the salon, have you repaired and/or conserved the pieces in your collection? The rug retailers I represent have very qualified repairers, and I have had everything conserved or, in the case of mothing or edges, repaired.
A related question is do you buy/own rug fragments? No.
Why or why not? The ones Iíve been interested in were too expensive for my budget.
5. How do you "keep" the rugs in your collection? Are they, for example, displayed or stored? Do you not buy pieces you would have difficulty displaying? See my answer to question #3.
6. Have you undertaken any particular tasks with regard to the pieces in your collection after purchasing them? No.
7. Are there particular resources that you found more valuable in your efforts to advance your learning with regard to your collecting interests? (i.e., books, rug clubs, trusted dealers, other collectors, rug conferences, etc.) Rug conferences have had the greatest impact on my collecting in that theyíve basically halted it. Why? Rug conferences always have exhibitions showing great, great rugs. Seeing top quality material elevates oneís level of taste. At first the effect on me was merely a feeling of satiation with rugs after viewing a bunch of exhibitions; but soon I felt intimidated as a collector, knowing it was unlikely Iíd be willing to spend enough to buy the quality of pieces I now appreciated.
8. Have your collecting interests and/or standards changed noticeably since you began to collect? Yes. See above.
Do you "purge" your collection from time to time? Not yet, but the ease of selling on eBay may change that.
Do you still own the first piece you bought once you decided to collect? Why or why not? Sure I do. I liked it when I bought it. (It was a new 2íx3í Daulatabad Afghan, a sturdy little thing that warms my sonís feet when he gets out of bed.)
9. What is your picture of what eventually will happen to the rugs in your collection in the event that you turn out to be a mere mortal? I have told my children that they should take what they like for themselves and send the rest to auction. My rug books are a different matter. Iíve got a pretty useful collection now, and Iím thinking of finding a museum that would want to own it - eventually.
10. What other advice do you have for the novice collector of limited means? Donít buy anything until youíve seen and touched at least a thousand rugs. Go to museums to see world class pieces. If there are any near you, attend a few auctions to see what sells and at what price. Try to develop some personal standards. NEVER buy anything from a Going Out of Business Sale or a Hotel Auction.
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