TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  More Suggestions
Author  :  Sophia Gates mailto:%20thunderbird@21stcentury.net
Date  :  03-12-2001 on 09:23 p.m.
I vote for Marla's gorgeous, informative site, which specializes in ethnographic flatweaves. She also has articles and items of interest concerning structure; events in the rug world and interesting information about Rug Personalities. In addition to a wide range of Anatolian and other Middle Eastern textiles, Marla has a wide selection of Egyptian tapestries which are beautiful and unusual and represent some of the most creative work being done today.

I also like Haliden and Samarkand, although Samarkand no longer lists prices which I find totally annoying and off-putting. Ditto Cloudband which I otherwise enjoy - so many dealers seem to think - what? That their pieces will have more cachet if the prices are hidden? I simply find it discouraging as I generally assume that "POA" means "Sophia Probably Can't Afford It" - which may or may not be true, but I for one would prefer to find out up front! Plus, as a collector, I think it's important to know market value for certain types of pieces.

My very favorite site of all, however, is EBAY!!! Yes - an ever-changing, never ending kaleidoscope of treasures and trash. I have bought both, from a truly awesome mid-19th century ensi to a really dreadful thing I can't even bear to look at, it is so horrible. I do not know WHAT I am going to do with it.

Anybody want a rug? Hey - it's cheap!


Herewith are the addresses for my favorite e-sites:


Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Filiberto Boncompagni mailto:%20filibert@go.com.jo
Date  :  03-13-2001 on 02:30 a.m.
Dear Daniel and Sophia,

I never bought anything on the internet for various reasons.
The first is that generally you need to use a credit card, and I do not trust at all the safety of the web.
The second is that I live in the M.E., so I suppose that this probably translates in bigger shipping costs, longer delivery time, and surely troubles with the customs.
I can see that internet shopping is great for stuff like CDs, books electronics…But for rugs and textiles?
Being unable to handle the pieces is a huge handicap, isn’t it?
Why don’t you (Daniel, Sophia and others) tell us more about your e-purchases? Details about your best and worst buy? You can omit the seller’s name, of course. Did you use the - how it’s called - ESCROW? It works well? Any problem with customs?

I endorse Sophia vote for Marla’s website. I also found very useful Rugnotes, but it disappeared from the web!


Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-13-2001 on 08:49 a.m.
Dear Filiberto,

Here's an image of one of my favorite eBay finds:

It isn't going to win any prizes anywhere, but I think it's the perfect Christmas decoration for the tribal rug collector. You've seen it on Turkotek before, around the holiday season.

I've purchased four rugs/trappings/bags on eBay, plus two or three other items, and have been generally satisfied with them. On the other hand, I have heard many a horror story and examined a few rugs that were misrepresented by eBay vendors, enough so that I no longer even look through eBay offerings. There are many honest, knowledgeable vendors on eBay, but it's also the perfect haven for frauds and has very weak protection for the buyer who gets shafted. I know of one prominent eBay rug dealer who finally got kicked off for chronic fraud, but they didn't catch on to him until after he assumed his third identity. The victims, of course, got stuck with their losses. The most extreme form of fraud is to sell something, collect the money, and not deliver. Close behind that is to assert that goods are returnable, authorize returns, then not refund the money. Neither happens very often, but they do occur. Some common forms of misrepresentation include color enhancement, misattribution of age, undisclosed condition problems. Shill bidding is common, the feedback system is a sham.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More eBay Adventures
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  03-13-2001 on 03:09 p.m.
Dear folks -

Like many of us, I've bought rugs on eBay, both well and to my chagrin. And I know I'm not alone with regard to the latter. Some very experienced people have been taken there.

The instances in which I got fooled all had to do with inaccurate color. Primarily, with one dealer who enhances his colors dramatically. Each of these pieces was much darker than it appeared on the screen.

Also watch descriptions critically. Not every slightly unusual Yomut is a likely Chodor (especially if it has a symmetric knot :-)). Likewise while there were Saryks (and Chodors and Salors) in the Middle Amu Dyra valley not every Ersari chuval with an "X" border or a gul with a cruciform center necessarily merits the "possibly Saryk" label with which a dealer might tantalize you.

The most daring (read "foolhardy") eBay purchase I have made was of an 8' X 9,' I think clearly 19th century, Yomut main carpet with a "tauk naska" major gul, detailed drawing, good color and a white ground border.

The person who put it up had it on consignment, described it as a "handsome Bokora," and clearly knew nothing about rugs.

I literally threw $2500 out into cyberspace and then sweat every minute until it came in the mail and I was able to determine that it was what I thought it might be.

Turned out well but might well not have.

I'm like Steve, I hardly look anymore (although in a recent chance "Turkmen" search on eBay, I did buy a mint condition copy of the out of print, Pinner/Franses "Turkomen Studies I" for a relatively good price).


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Sophia Gates mailto:%20thunderbird@21stcentury.net
Date  :  03-13-2001 on 07:35 p.m.
First, I'd like to reply briefly to the assertion that the Ebay feedback system is a sham. I seriously disagree! People do not post positive feedback unless they are pleased with a transaction - period. The option clearly exists to complain bitterly if displeased - either a buyer or a seller may post negative feedback, and neutral feedback may be posted as well. Ebay does suggest that disputes should be settled via email and/or phone. People who are unhappy do have options! I have returned and/or exchanged several pieces with which I was less than enchanted. However, E-purchasing is no different from your local rug store - essentially, you get what you pay for. Expecting a masterpiece for $150.00 is likely to result in disappointment - although miracles do occur! Ebay has such a wonderful variety of textiles - ikats, embroideries, rugs, trappings - it seems a shame to me for serious collectors not to at least look. It's a tremendous resource for information and many of the people who buy and sell are well worth knowing, in or out of the marketplace.

And now - on to the main topic of my post - my best and worst E-bay experiences! Well, it's hard to choose The Best from among three Really Good Experiences, so I'll tell you about all three. One was the time I landed a
a truly old and beautiful Tashkent suzani for a bargain price. It's the kind of piece I'd only dreamed of owning, considering that these can easily net five figures. For some reason or other, The Competition must have been asleep that evening - it was summer, too - and I got it for about $600.00. I should mention that this was a piece presented by a well known Ebay vendor who never uses reserves, and whose auctions I never miss - they're chock-full of fascinating surprises. When I got the piece I was ecstatic - it's one of those pieces with big round moons - the color is extraordinary and it's impossible to describe the workmanship. A treasure.

The other two Great Ebay Experiences both involved ensis. I'm a person who believes that ANY Turkoman is better than no Turkoman, but I especially love ensis. And prior to the advent of the Internet, the selection I was exposed to here in Chicago was truly woeful - surprising, perhaps, for a big city - but there were plenty of late Tekkes, a few equally late Ersaris, quite a few really shot pieces, NO Yomuds or Saryks or Chodors - and what was available was horribly expensive. So when I had the opportunity to purchase one on line I grabbed the chance. My first piece was actually not from Ebay, but from Cyberrugs, another awesome site. It's a Yomud and I love it. The second piece was a (Dealer's Name - Deleted) and as a great fan of (Dealer's Name - Deleted) I felt secure enough to bid on the piece although I was on pins and needles for the entire time it took for my check to clear and the piece to arrive. Well, I was more than happy, especially when the rug was clean. Now it hangs above our bed. It's a Yomud also, but very different technically and esthetically from the first. The first piece is symmetrically knotted and has a simple palette, with an elem of great soaring "eagles" and trees. It has a sort of brute power about it that I find mesmerizing. The second Yomud is assymetrically knotted, has a wonderful, complex palette, and has the classical insikush field design and curled leaf main borders.

The third ensi, which I acquired from an Ebay vendor based in Holland, is a Saryk which I personally believe was a steal. It is moody, dignified, and like the other pieces has an emotional quality not always found in Turkoman rugs. So I have been lucky and blessed.

My BAD experience, however, I am still smarting about because I HATE being wrong. I espied a cool-looking rug being offered by a vendor who'd purchased a few rugs while overseas as a soldier, so I thought I'd maybe sneak off with a prize. The piece was clearly Kurdish, clearly tribal, had a great pattern I'd seen in pieces in Hali, described as Kagizman, and although it did have an orange border it looked mellow on my screen.

Plus, Ebay had just instituted a feature called "Buy It Now" - for which one can grab a piece for a certain price before The Competition has a chance to attack! Well, what was a girl to do. I "Bought It Now" - fortunately for only $125.00!

Well, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my prize. Unfortunately, when I unwrapped the package and unfurled my treasure, I saw that, although it was indeed a tribal piece with great, shiny, silky wool and brocaded ends and barber-poled sides and a good old design, it was DRENCHED in the most intense orange you've ever seen. Red, blue, and ORANGE - oh lordy. It is beyond neon. I am going to leave it out in the yard ALL SUMMER LONG. I shall ask the garbage man to drive over it with his truck. I shall pray for intense sun. Hey - maybe it will be struck by lightening?

I'll let you know how it turns out!

In sum - I think Ebay's a trip. But - don't use the "Buy It Now" unless you're prepared to Regret It Later! - words of wisdom from One Who Knows!

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-13-2001 on 09:49 p.m.
Dear Sophia,

EBay's "Feedback" system is a sham, period.

It is not unusual for someone to adopt more than one eBay identity (you can have as many identities as you have e-mail addresses) and post positive feedback on himself, and it's not unusual for small consortia of vendors to get together and fix themselves up with mutually positive feedback. My attention was directed less than two weeks ago to an eBay vendor who had accrued 20+ positive feedbacks in about one month, all from people whose listings were in precisely the same format as his own, fonts, colors and all. Negative feedback is discouraged by the fact that buyers who post negative feedback on vendors get negative feedback themselves from those vendors, which makes buying difficult for them. The vendor to whom I alluded as getting kicked off for chronic fraud indulged in this practice.

Then there is the phenomenon of "Private" feedback. I don't know exactly what a vendor has to do to get listed this way, but the system here is that you can discover that there is negative feedback about him but you can't see it - if you want details, you are told to send him a e-mail for information.

I'm glad your experiences with eBay didn't include getting burned. Mine didn't either. But I know enough about it to recognize that the risks exceed my comfort level.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Sophia Gates mailto:%20thunderbird@21stcentury.net
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 01:20 a.m.
Dear Steve:

Most of us with high positive feedback ratings have worked extremely hard for them.

We buy and sell with every attempt to be scrupulously honest in our dealings.

It's ALWAYS possible to find exceptions to the rule. Shill bidding and rings and fraudulent practices occur at Sotheby's too - and not just Sothebys.com. Should these negative circumstances prevent people from going to Sotheby's?

Unfortunately rug dealing has always been one of those Mysterious Oriental Arts about which nobody can know enough - including the dealers. Buying or selling, we are all in a process of constantly educating ourselves and each other. Asking questions, having an open mind and a humble attitude - and most of all, really loving rugs for what they are and for what they have to say - the very same qualities that enable one to have successful business relationships at the local dealer or the bigtime auction house - also pertain to the Internet.

As far as risk is concerned - there is ALWAYS risk. Haven't we read articles in Hali and ORR about Very Expensive And Extremely Old Salors Which Somebody Bought At Sotheby's and which subsequently turned out to be Made In Kabul ca. 1980? Or at least, over which there was a great deal of sturm und drang? And who hasn't worried about the "naturalness" of the dyes in her favorite Turkoman? Can the proud owners of very expensive Shasavans SWEAR that they were made in 1890 and not in 1990 from unraveled kilims?

I don't think so! I was watching a program about Khmer art the other night and one expert estimated that, of the pieces currently available for study or in the marketplace, a full 70 - 75% were forgeries and another 10 - 15% had been extensively restored. The remainder were PROBABLY authentic.

What does this mean? Well, to me it means, well, "Buyer beware!" But - as a person who really lives for art, not just as a collector but as a painter, even my worst experiences have had value. I have learned! I have enjoyed! And I have laughed, at myself most of all.

Is that a waste of money?

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Jerry Silverman mailto:%20rug_books@silvrmn.com
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 04:13 a.m.
So here's my experience with eBay.

Finding an interesting piece is difficult. First off, the seller has to know enough to list the piece so a buyer can find it. A search for "oriental rug" delivers 800 returns...or at least it did a minute ago. A search for "antique rug" delivers 346. (Searching for "rug" yields 5,994.) But what if the seller lists the piece with the keyword "rugs"? Then there are 632 listings which may or may not be a subgroup of "rug".

So conduct a more precise search, you say. Okay. How many ways can you spell Turkoman? Torkaman? Turkmen? Turkiman? Turkman? Turkeman? Turcoman? And on and on. I've seen Tekke, Teke, Teeke, Teki, and Tekkey.

There's a wheat/chaff problem with finding interesting, collectible rugs on eBay that approaches 1/1000. And that's just finding the damn things.

Once you find something intriguing, you must then decide whether it is anything like it appears on your monitor. Now that Photoshop and other similar programs are so ubiquitous it's impossible to know for sure whether the colors, brightness, contrast, etc., are true.

I'll leave the issue of the trustworthiness of eBay dealers to others. My experiences have been pretty good, but then I've only dealt with people I know or know about. In only one instance did I get something completely unacceptable. It was a small Baluch rug with a fascinating design. When it arrived, it turned out to have almost no pile. Honest, if I had shaved the thing, I wouldn't have had more than a shotglass of fuzz. The seller took it back and returned my money...although I admit to holding my breath from the time I shipped the piece back until the check arrived and cleared the bank.

My best eBay purchase was a striped Ersari chuval with an unusual border system that was the topic of a Show and Tell here about six months ago. It wasn't cheap - probably wholesale or a bit less - but I haven't seen another to match it since. And the seller was someone I know and trust.

I'm asked fairly frequently whether someone should buy a rug on eBay, and I usually tell them that they probably shouldn't. Even experts get fooled; so what chance do they have? If it's really good, someone who knows more will find it and bid it up to near retail. Only very rarely are Good Things missed by knowledgeable buyers. If it's crap, they don't want it at any price. So I ask them: do you feel lucky, punk?


Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 06:51 a.m.
Dear Sophia,

In a previous post you said,
... the Ebay feedback system is a sham. I seriously disagree! People do not post positive feedback unless they are pleased with a transaction - period. The option clearly exists to complain bitterly if displeased ...

I responded by asserting that every single one of those points is incorrect. Positive feedback is not always from satisfied customers, it's sometimes self-administered or posted by cronies; negative feedback is not posted by anyone who would worry about whether he might be the victim of retaliatory negative feedback; a return guarantee is only as good as the vendor who offers it.

In response, you point out that fraud is not unique to eBay. I'm glad we at least got past the initial claims that eBay's system protects the buyer.

Fraud is not unique to eBay, of course. But it is more common there than it is at Sotheby's or anywhere else except, MAYBE, the short notice hotel auction or the going out of business sale.

It was not my intent to tar all the eBay vendors with the same brush. Most are honest, most know what they are talking about, most keep their word. I'm sure this group includes you, although we don't discuss the merits of individual dealers on our boards. The simple fact about eBay is that the US Department of Justice considers it to be the biggest single source of consumer fraud they deal with. Not all of that is in rugs, of course, and part of it is just a reflection of the sheer size of the thing. But it does make it much more risky than Sotheby's (to use your example), and much more risky than most dealers.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 01:10 p.m.
Dear Steve:

I think some changes have occurred in the eBay feedback system that you may blissfully unaware of. For example, it is my understanding that only high bidders in an auction that met it reserve and the seller from the same auction may post feedback. Likewise, a link to the auction is generally provided so that you can take a look at the history of a bidder or a seller. The days where anyone could just post feedback to themselves or to others has, I believe, ended quite some time ago. I do not believe that you can fairly call it a sham. Imperfect perhaps, but not a sham.

That said, eBay has also been extremely lax in weeding out bad seeds and monitoring their return. However, as you acknowledge elsewhere, it is a vast site and the job a complicated and thankless one handled by a small staff. The worst offenders are dealt with and, in some instances, have resulted in criminal referrals. Like anything, you have to be careful out there.

Best, Michael

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 01:47 p.m.
Dear Michael,

I was aware of the change you mentioned in the feedback system. Limiting feedback privileges to the high bidder does reduce the ability to add to one's own positives, but it still permits someone to shill bid and become the high bidder on his own item, then post feedback to himself. I agree that this is better than the old system in which someone could simply get a bunch of e-mail addresses and give himself a high feedback rating without even bothering to shill bid. But it doesn't change the fact that it isn't hard for a seller to inflate his own numbers, or to intimidate a shafted buyer into not posting negative feedback. Thus, neither the positive nor the negative feedback numbers are reliable; both can be manipulated by an unscrupulous vendor. If the numbers aren't reliable, feedback is a sham and is unworthy of trust.

Your other point, that eBay is understaffed with regard to being able to do anything about what occurs on their venue, offers little comfort to the victims and, in my opinion at least, is a pretty lame excuse for operating a haven for the defrauders.

People who understand the risks involved in buying through eBay, and do so anyway, take their chances and either win or lose. Nothing you or I or Sophia can say will change that, nor should it. But many don't understand the risks until too late. As recently as yesterday, for instance, Sophia (and I think we would agree that she is better informed than the average consumer vis-a-vis eBay) believed that all positive feedback on eBay was exactly what it was represented to be, that anyone unhappy with an eBay vendor could post negative feedback without hesitation, and that any vendor who offered a return privilege would honor it. All of that's true if the vendor is among the honorable majority. None of it's true for the others.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Stephen_Louw mailto:%20slouw@global.co.za
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 02:52 p.m.
One think that bugs me about eBay is the number of vendors refusing to sell carpets to non-US buyers. Whilst vendors are free to sell to whom they please, I personally find such blanket exlusions insulting. As long as there are no export restrictions, and as long as the vendor gets their money prior to shipping (which they would want for local postage anyway), I don't think it fair to adopt that approach.


Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 04:47 p.m.
Dear Stephen,

Has anyone ever offered an explanation for refusing to sell outside the USA? It seems illogical to me.

Then again, so does the British language. All the superfluous "u" after the letter "o". We were right to kick them out of here in the 18th century.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Stephen_Louw mailto:%20slouw@global.co.za
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 06:42 p.m.
Hi Steve,

I have asked a number of sellers who stipulate "will ship to the United States only" whether they would be willing to ship to either Johannesburg (where I live) or, alternatively, London (where I can collect easily). In about half the cases, the seller is actually more than willing to ship anywhere, and simply did not think about their shipping options when they set up their eBay selling page. (I think the "US only" restriction is a default).

However, about half the others simply refuse to ship outside the US. The only reason ever offered to me being that it was not worth their while haggling with customs (whether to Johannesburg or to London). One seller even got very angry with me when I pointed out that the main customs problems would be on the buyers side.

I wonder if the European followers of this board have had similar experiences?


Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  03-15-2001 on 05:52 a.m.
Dear Steve,

I was convinced you created your Christmas asmalik yourself. I remember showing it to my wife as you showed it on the board.
Now I understand it was a genuine asmalik.
This is my main problem with the internet.
You can't belief your eyes.

I've sold some rugs by means of the internet and my site in Europe, but the customers I've delt with vissited my shop personally, after they vissited the site. They combined it with a bussines trip, holyday.
Selling a rug without knowing the customer seems to me a very frustrating thing. I think it would hunt me in my dreams: "Do they like it?" If not, I want it back. "Is the rug in accordence to their expectations?"
People are welcome in my shop to buy rugs, and welcome on the internet to talk about rugs. But I will never sell a rug by means of the internet only.
That's why pricing isn't a main subject. Should Ferrari have a site don't think anyone should complain about prices on request. It's the customer problem: Pay nothing, think you can buy world rugs.
E-bay? I've looked once. Frustrating...timeconsuming....mostly kitsch rugs shown in backyards, kitchens, doorsteps etc. Lookes like homemade porno video. No style, no class, very low profile. Anyone selling or buying by means of E-bay lacks something essential......human intrest......
If I should discover a rug on E-bay at a very low price, I'll send the seller an E-mail his item is underpriced. This is what I do if someone vissits my shop with grandmothers rug. I tell them what it's worth if it where in my shop. So, If people walk by my shop, I never have to duck or hide.
Think that's what makes life worth living.

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-15-2001 on 07:07 a.m.
Dear Vincent,

I think you are too harsh on eBay dealers in general. There are many good people who use this venue for selling, and some make an honest living at it. I do agree with your assessment of the overall level of quality of what's offered. A few good items (mostly from a few good people) swimming about in a sea of trash.

Like the princess said, you have to kiss a lot of frogs if you're looking for Prince Charming.

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Sophia Gates mailto:%20thunderbird@21stcentury.net
Date  :  03-15-2001 on 09:21 p.m.
I agree with Steve - Vincent, you are being way too harsh on the people who buy and sell on Ebay. There is a wide range of rugs in this world and they fulfill an enormous variety of needs - it doesn't take a world-class Kazak to make a splash in the foyer! And not everyone is seeking Great Art or has the budget to purchase it. Should they simply dismiss the world of handmade rugs altogether? Frankly I think that would be sad and ultimately counterproductive. Many people start out buying VW's who ultimately wind up in the Ferrari showroom.

And, I'm sorry to say, price is important. Wouldn't it be nice if everybody was gifted with excellent taste and an enormous budget to match! However, this isn't the case and the internet gives people of all income levels the opportunity to participate in the world of art and antiques, both as buyers and as sellers. I think Ebay and other internet sites are an absolute godsend to people of limited means who are hungry for beauty and knowledge. It also provides an opportunity for people to enter the marketplace, who otherwise would never have the chance.

I believe firmly that art should not be accessible only to the wealthy. The artists who make art, after all, are frequently anything but wealthy - and are definitely NOT snobs. Moreover, while it is wonderful to admire and if possible acquire an expensive antique - what is wrong with purchasing an affordable contemporary piece and helping a weaver survive? Meanwhile, one gains information about the people and cultures beyond one's own doorstep. A win-win proposition, yes?

Finally - as to the humble sheds and gardens frequently in view behind the equally humble rugs - SO WHAT? This is the global village. It's pretty much what a Turkoman encampment would have looked like, back when those five-figure treasures were being created.

Art is not made in a vacuum. Only in our "advanced societies" have artists and their work become totally marginalized, the property and domain of the rich, and artists living virtually as outcasts - although our economic values have had far reaching consequences on the entire world. Rugs and textiles of all the arts, perhaps including pottery and jewelry and baskets, were made and used by ordinary, real people in ordinary real situations. And they were produced and sold for economic reasons too - although why this is considered a dirty secret is beyond me! Somehow it's considered romantic to own a dowry piece or a shaman's robe and not a chuval which was sold to buy food! Hello?

OK - enough already. But as you can tell this is a subject about which I feel passionately. I feel that the humble Afghan chuval has a place in the world of no less real value, intrinsic HUMAN value and historical meaning, than the $50,000 Kashan. Rich or poor, we all have meaning - we all have value - and so does our work.

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  03-15-2001 on 09:46 p.m.
Dear Sophia,
I didn't mention money at all.
But if you like to know the price, why is it so difficult to ask? It's a very human thing to do...having a conversation about a rug on display.
I know people that drive a VW again and sold the Ferrari in order to buy a rug.
Poverty keeps people decent and inventive.
Money destroys good taste on the long run.

So maybe we agree more then you think.

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  03-16-2001 on 10:11 p.m.
Dear Sophia,

Some further thoughts.
One day, I had a look at EEEbay. It's the E that's putting me of...I think.
First rug I saw, I went completely out of my mind. EEEE!
Image. Nice image. Not one image but 6 images. So the guy has a digital camera. Don't think he's eating out of a wastepin.
Description. Old..........THAT OLD!!!
Fringe all in tact.
No signs of wear........?
Oooh, it has been up on a wall.
Etc. etc.
What does a layman think of this. "Why does my local dealer ask 10.000 dollars for a 200 years old rug, if I can get it on Ebay for much..much...less."

It's because the info that's given in combination with the price..... is pure, brutal, criminal fraud.
So the simple minded, and even Einstein could have bought this rug, just because he doesn't know. It's essential in a well to do society, that there is trust. The whole western-economic system is based on trust. I work...you pay me. I pay...you deliver me. etc. When the internet gives people a possebilety to break this trust, because they can't be traced personaly, social not controled , it's end of story.

Websites and domains are for sale. So one day I think I'm looking at Turkotek, but the members decided to sell the domain name/website. Turkotek.SM. First I think it's a new Search Machine, but looking at the images I blush..oops.

And if I ever made a mistake by buying a rug that wasn't worth a penny, I wouldn't advertise it to the world. So who cares?

And a Ferrari with an VW engine has been made.
But then we know what we buy, whithout having to study for it.

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 06:19 a.m.
Vincent -

I think you will get in a lot of trouble if you act on your precept that the basis of the Western economic system is "trust."

Although this is absolutely off-topic, the motive force of the Western economic system is short term economic self interest. One person taking advantage of another. Greed, not trust, is the central defining value.

A person who comes to the market expecting to be able to deal in terms of trust is a lamb for the shearers and will be shorn.

But as I say that's so far off-topic that it's not even another salon.

Couldn't resist the correction, though.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 07:02 a.m.
Dear John,

What an astonishing view of the western economic system! It sounds like it was lifted from an old copy of Pravda (Truth!).

It surely wouldn't be acurate to say that trust is the principle on which the system is based (although it would be more nearly accurate than to say that greed is the fundamental principle). But the fact is that trust is an important element for most business practices, and any business that can't hold the trust of its customer base, suppliers or employees doesn't last very long. That isn't short term greed, it is long term economic good sense. It isn't one person taking advantage of another, it is two people mutually profiting (that ol' devil, Greed) from their interactions.

The notion that people will produce according to their ability without economic incentives was subjected to test on a large scale for 75 years. It resulted in an empire that had to build walls to keep its citizens from escaping and had to prevent books from coming in because they showed how absurd the notion was. Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath was banned from the USSR because poor people in the USA, the main characters, owned trucks. When I was a visiting lecturer in the USSR in 1979, my hosts, who included one of the physicians who examined the cosmonauts, neither owned an auto nor even knew personally anyone who did. They begged me to smuggle in books and to help their kids get into the west. We succeeded, 10 years later, in getting one of their kids to the US. She is now a citizen here, but she lived as a guest in our home for 8 months until we could get her visa settled, and I got a good, close look at the acculturation process as a prisoner turned into a free person.

Couldn't resist the correction. I'm sure you understand.

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 11:07 a.m.
Dear Vincent and John:

Trust and greed are perhaps at the extremes. How about "self-interest" and the principle of "contract" as the basis of our system. And you cannot hide your identity using the Internet. I currently make my living prosecuting people who try to do this and sometimes believe they are quite sophisticated at doing it. We still find them. They get a 6:00 wake up call at home from friends wearing blue jackets with large yellow letters on them that spell POLICE. If anything, the Internet gives people a false sense of anonymity. But now we are twice off topic.

Best, Michael

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Sophia Gates mailto:%20thunderbird@21stcentury.net
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 12:10 p.m.
Folks, I think one has to use some common sense while perusing the Internet. Greed on the buyer's side is the basis for many a con game. Reading Hali and other rug publications and talking to dealers and friends who collect is a good way to know whether somebody is fooling you or perhaps overstating the case or perhaps, just ignorant about his "18th century museum piece".

However, I disagree that one can't find legitimate bargains on Ebay and other auction/internet sites. The whole function of the internet is to create "virtual" stores which eliminate the costs of brick & mortar shops - a huge source of overhead. Moreover, any astute rug shopper will know that prices are stepped on many times before the rug reaches the high street shop. I shudder to think what the poor weavers must be getting paid!

Speaking of the weavers there is at least one dealer on Ebay who is trying to do something about their plight - they're well known and frequently present interesting new pieces made with good dyes and hand-spun wool; the profits go to help educate the weavers' families and otherwise aid in their support.

Frequently these people are refugees from war and revolution, and live in conditions which otherwise would seem hopeless.

One person who used to contribute regularly to the various discussion boards had the idea of letting the weavers, via the internet, go directly to the end buyer - the user, dealer or collector. I don't know how that's going vis a vis oriental rugs but some Native American weavers/jewelers/potters, either directly or via their representatives, are selling on Ebay with, I think, good results. And once again, the savings can be considerable.

Another way Ebay dealers reduce costs is on antique rugs presented on the 'net directly after acquisition - uncleaned, unrestored, and much less expensive, once again, than they would be at retail in a classy shop. This represents a substantial and legitimate savings although the buyer should be prepared to pay cleaning and, if desired, repair bills. Even after such costs one should generally come out ahead. And don't scoff at the occasional, genuine miracle - they do occur! There are several sellers on Ebay who never use reserves and I suspect they do get burned on occasion, but they depend upon volume and also use Ebay as an advertising mechanism, through which they build repeat customers. And sometimes, even well-educated dealers make mistakes and let something go for less than they should have because they didn't understand it was, for example, Kizil Ayak rather than Yomud.

I do not think the Internet will replace the person-to-person dealer. But, for experienced buyers who are careful and disciplined, as Michael points out, it can produce legitimate savings and bring real treasures to light.

Subject  :  Re:More Suggestions
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 07:50 p.m.
Dear John,

Why does this world need a World Trade Org.?
We have to get things on black and white.
What's said yesterday, doesn't apply this day in many societies. They can't afford this, because the world is changing that rapidly, the agreement they make today, will finish them tomorrow. We refuse to be flexible, they can't be flexible.
Make an effort in setting up a reliable network in India, Iran as a Western blockhead.
You'll get shaved. Take part in discussing quality, quantity, price, delivery.
"Yes Sir, Yes Sir. Indeed Sir. You're right Sir." But you see the guys head wiggle...(The top of the head stays in place but the chin goes left, right, left, right)no, no, no. no. It's a leftover of the English occupation. And they are very right in doing so, we've had our days of pleasure out there.

Have a look at Turkish economics...corrupt. In a pit now.
Have a look at Indian economics....corrupt. Never been out of the pit.
Have a look at.....
Have a look....
Have a look at Russia.....
Could go on for a while....

But you're right, it isn't the topic in this discussion.
But thinking the internet is a good instrument for the not so well to do is a strange way of looking at the world.

You're very welcome in correcting me.

Best regards,

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