TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Burton Y. Berry was there
Author  :  Richard Farber mailto:%20farberr@netvision.net.il
Date  :  08-19-2001 on 01:50 a.m.
Dear all,

I quickly skimmed "out of the the past' for a feeling of what a collector of 25 to 75 years ago felt about the questions in the salon.

I believe that Mr. Berry would have stressed availability and commericial concerns when considering the question. He viewed collecting as a kind of wave fueled by materials supplied by dealers, whether is the bazar or in the international centers. He viewed is own success as getting on the wave before it began to swell and crest. He describes purchasing coins for $50 and having the price rise to a thousand in twenty years effectively closing the area of Byzantine silver coins to new collectors.

After the quantity of material suddenly drops, the prices go up and new collectors find it impossible to enter the field. After a while interested wanes and a new area of collecting suddenly appears and the old material becomes the stuff of museums and old fuddy duddy's . . . He describes the process with "turkish towels" brass stutues as well as with silver coins . . .

as to the answer that Steve suggested . . . .

"then the answer to the question, "what will collectors collect in 2101?" is "everything". This is not a very informative answer, although it's true.

Steve Price"

I would suggest as an alternative

objects that will be collected will be those available in quantity large enough for substantial numbers of collectors to assemble representative collections.

all the best


Subject  :  Re:Burton Y. Berry was there
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  08-19-2001 on 07:10 a.m.
Hi Richard,

I am sure you're right. It follows that if, by collectors, we mean some kind of group of people who interact about the things they all collect, there must be sufficient numbers of those things around to sustain such a group of people.

It also follows that things will come into and go out of fashion as supply waxes and dwindles.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Burton Y. Berry was there
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  08-19-2001 on 07:34 a.m.
Richard -

Yes, Mr. Berry, apparently a far more flamboyant figure in Istanbul, than I knew when I first encountered his book, was well-positioned to notice such trends.

Here are two more instances I know of how serious collecting got started.

The current chairman of the board of The Textile Museum was stationed overseas and found himself in Eygptian markets looking at rugs he could not afford. But also there were some instances of weft twining that were more financially accessible to him. He began collecting these and found that they are some of the oldest weaving structures known. He is now the author of the standard treatment of weft twining, has a world-class collection in this area and has mastered many of the variations of it himself. I saw him demstrate at a TM rug morning session once.

Another example is likely more pedestrian but still illustrates the unexpected turn that a collecting urge can take.

I know a clothing store owner in rural Northwest Ohio, who as a child was attracted to coin collecting. He quickly found that the coins he wanted did not fit his allowance. One day, in an exploratory conversation with a local farmer about some coins the farmer had, the farmer mentioned that he had run into some old slot machines in a nearby barn and took the boy to see them.

The boy told me that the minute he saw them he knew that his collecting interest had changed.

He has in the ensuing 35 years built one of the most extensive collections of museum quality examples of coin operated machines of various sorts. Gambling devices, banks, pinball machines, juke boxes, etc.

About five years ago, he took me through his very large basement (about five large rooms) where his has built first class (mostly mahogany-framed or supported) displays of his collection. It took a couple of hours to go through it. At the end, I asked him what he thought the current value of it was. He said that he wasn't sure but that it would likely be well over a million dollars. "Of course," he said, "I was lucky. I bought a great many things before anyone else was even interested, and so I often paid very little for them. It's curious," he said, "how it has turned out. I would have been only a very ordinary small scale coin collector but I think my coin-operated machine collection is likely the largest and best in the U.S. And all because that farmer showed me a couple of then, illegal to own, slot machines."

Such collecting urges and dynamics are at the core of what we are speculating about here.

But one need not resort to speculation to say that they will surely go on in 2101.

Oh dear, we're no longer talking about rugs.


R. John Howe

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