Re: Mistakes: What Are We Willing to Share with the Novice?

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Posted by Jerry Silverman on June 11, 1999 at 15:28:28:

In Reply to: Re: Mistakes: What Are We Willing to Share with the Novice? posted by Yon Bard on June 11, 1999 at 07:07:22:

: : Dear folks -

: : One additional question I should have asked at the beginning, has to do with sharing with the novice collector what expectations he/she should probably have concerning the likelihood of collecting mistakes, what the soundest reactions are to them when they occur, and whether even very experienced collectors still make them.

: : Mr. Timmerman, about whom I spoke at the beginning of this salon, confesses that perhaps his most serious mistake was to turn down once a Lotto rug (the real thing) with wonderfully saturated reds and yellows and a very low price.

: : One of my own initial collecting purchases was a mistake in the sense that not only did I not recognize that this little finely-woven, complete Tekke torba was full of synthetic dyes; not only did I not see that it had likely been chemically washed; I bought it in part because I rather liked the color! (As Doris Beck once said "tongue in cheek" and at length in a TM rug convention presentation, "What's wrong with orange?") And I still own it, despite several opportunities to sell it for what I paid. It may provide stern evidence, suggesting that I have not yet reached that elevated state that Katharine describes elsewhere here as that of a real "collector."

: : What are we willing to share with the novice collector concerning our collecting mistakes?

: : Regards,

: : R. John Howe

: John, let me play devil's advocate, while admitting that I would probably feel the same way as you do:
: Your append is a tacit admission that what counts is not esthetic values or whether you like the rug (the criteria that everybody pays lip service to) but, rather, age and the approval of the collecting community. Otherwise, why would you regard as a 'mistake' buying a rug that you liked, and I sense still like, just because it has dyes that one is supposed to dislike?

I second Steve's point.

At this very moment I am looking at the third rug I ever bought. My wife and I were vacationing in Washington, D.C. (believe it or not) and took a drive out Wisconsin Street from Georgetown. After noticing what seemed like dozens of rug stores, we decided to stop at a place that specialized in Turkish goods. The fact that we knew absolutely nothing about Turkish rugs inhibited us not in the least. We had just bought our condo and had a couple thousand square feet of hardwood floor to cover. We bought two that day. One was a perfectly ordinary Yagcibedir that we thought was waaay kewl. The other was a little, geometric central medallion Yuntdag - absolutely filled to overbrimming with bright orange and yellow. Jean and I thought it would be a cheerful rug for the foyer, a happy greeting to visitors.

Now that I know a little more about rugs, it is clear that $650 was about $500 more than the Yuntdag piece was worth. The colors are truly goofy, and the artisanship is childish. But - y'know what? - the rug makes me smile. It made me smile when I bought it, and now - 20 years later - it still makes me smile. Right now it's draped over a 19th century wooden crate that holds my stash of Shahsavan mafrash pieces. I can see it over there. And I'm smiling.


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