TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  10-28-2001 on 07:10 a.m.
Hi Folks,

Here's a dilemma we run into often. If a dealer is a collector, and you are a fairly serious collector (the category into which I place myself, incidentally), do you want the pieces that this dealer is willing to sell and not keep for his own collection?

It's a problem. Most dealers in "collectibles" love the stuff they sell, and have collections of their own. I don't want their culls, I want their best pieces. That's exactly what they don't want to sell.

One dealer friend collects only few specialized kinds of things (Koran bags, woven socks, for instance), and never sells specimens of those classes of things. I like this approach; it is clear, direct, and places him in no conflict of interest situations.

Other dealers keep favorite new acquisitions for some period of months, perhaps a year or two, during which they are not for sale and the dealer enjoys living with them. They then go on the market. I kind of like this, too.

How do other collectors and dealers handle this matter?

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Jim Allen mailto:%20turkomen@a-bey.com
Date  :  10-28-2001 on 10:51 a.m.
That is a direct contradiction of terms. The term collector/dealer really signifies the badly addicted collector. Unable to just buy his "fixes" he must also sell or push his "junk" to get to his next dose of "beauty"?
Jim Allen

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  10-28-2001 on 11:04 a.m.
Hi Jim,

I think you are mistaken. Many, perhaps most of those who deal in "collectible" rugs are collectors as well. In fact, most became dealers after being collectors first.

Can I name any dealers who are collectors? Well, there's you, for instance. You posted a central Asian (Uzbek, probably) bagface on our boards not too long ago that you told us is part of your collection and has been for many years. I presume that this is true of every piece you place on our boards. Your inventory, as you know, would not be welcome on this venue. Need more? Dennis Dodds is another well known for his collection and for being a dealer in upper end stuff. Much of what was shown in the exhibitions at ICOC in Philadelphia was from his collection. John Wertime is another prominent dealer/collector who has authored scholarly books on the subject.

The list could go on and on. Actually, I suspect that the majority of the dealers you might see operating booths or rooms on Dealer Row at ACOR and ICOC are collectors.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  10-28-2001 on 11:36 a.m.

I sense Denial.

It takes the zeal of a true collector to bring the best weavings out of obscurity and into the market. I certainly do not begrudge a dealer the joy of retaining the best of the efforts of his endeavors.
I also enjoy your participation in Turkotek discussions. I know that you get potshots thrown at you for some of your more unorthodox interpretations, but it is these kinds of exchanges that energize the process.

Collectively yours,

Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  10-29-2001 on 02:26 p.m.
Dear Steve,

Because many dealers encounter impediments to also collecting (e.g., cash flow, a partner's interests, having an vocation as an avocation, saying "not for sale" to customers, etc.), many of them are compelled or elect not to collect.

For those who work from their homes, the inventory might appear to a personal collection when it is not. Such is the case with John Wertime, whom you cite as a collector/dealer. While the distinction may not be clear, I have never heard John refer to himself as a collector and, having known him and his business for years, I would not call him a collector. He does not have a trove set aside for his personal satisfaction.

Best regards,


Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  10-29-2001 on 05:50 p.m.
Hi Wendel,

Thanks for correcting my misimpression about John Wertime. Of the universe of dealers who are also collectors, I pick out two as examples and one isn't a collector after all.

The important element, though, is that many - perhaps most - dealers are also collectors. Even with Wertime not being part of that group, I believe the statement is true.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Marla Mallett mailto:%20marlam@mindspring.com
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 11:06 a.m.
Just a few notes on the “dealer as collector” issue. I’ve been a dealer for 25 years, a haphazard collector for 40 years. I began the business to supplement my weaving studio income, selling primarily to the interior designers who were commissioning my own work. When I began the ethnographic textile business, I found it extremely difficult to part with the best pieces—and that at a time when the quality level of available Middle Eastern flatweaves was considerably higher than now, and prices lower. I decided that it was essential to sell the best I could afford to purchase, however, and I determined to keep only one item for myself from each buying trip—no more.

Well, my steady customers soon discovered that I tended to hide the best things near the bottoms of the piles in the gallery, to keep them around a bit longer…that they had to dig a little, and insist upon seeing everything! That gradually changed as the inventory expanded.

One pet peeve is this: I find it especially irksome to find an interesting piece displayed in a shop, only to be told it’s Not For Sale. Thus I vowed never to place such an item in my gallery. People are quite good about not badgering me to buy pieces in our living quarters, as they understand that’s separate from my upstairs gallery. At one point, however, I became quite frustrated because a couple of beautiful small Moroccan Zaiane hambles in my inventory were receiving absolutely no attention, so hung them temporarily in our living room. Immediately they attracted comments such as, “Of course you keep the best for yourself!” Actually, I don’t consistently keep the best, or the most expensive pieces, but rather just a few strange textiles for odd personal reasons. And it’s usually easier for me to justify keeping pieces in which I don’t have a lot invested. Sometimes, however, I seem to avoid doing even minimal restoration work on damaged pieces in my inventory, in hopes that favorite pieces will stick around a bit longer.

I do find that an important aspect of my business is advising people who are new to the field. I spend a lot of time “teaching” because I handle a range of textiles--including both respectable collectors’ pieces and purely decorative items. I try constantly to point out the differences, and try my best to steer people who seem like potential collectors toward better pieces. They are sometimes startled when I advise them against something that they like initially, but I think they ultimately are grateful. I don’t want them viewing their purchase with disdain a few years later when they’ve become more sophisticated and knowledgeable. I try my best to interest them in a very good small bag, perhaps, as a first purchase, rather than a mediocre large kilim. It’s actually disappointing when superb objects are bought by interior designers to merely fill spaces on sleek office walls; I’d much rather they went home with collectors. This aspect of dealing personally with customers and tailoring advice to their needs is the part of handing a website that I find most difficult.


Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 12:00 p.m.
Dear readers,

If you look at ALL the full-time rug dealers (new, decorative, antique, collectibles), I believe you'd find that few started out as collectors. The vast majority probably comes from rug producing areas or are descendants of those who did, so they have grown up in the trade.

I know of many dealers who got their starts by working in rug shops as restorers, rug washers or handlers. Others were introduced to the business through service in the Peace Corps and saw the acquisition of rugs as something to supplement income.

Marla's history is probably an exception, but clearly not the only one. Locally, Harold and Jimmy Keshishian both grew up in the trade and each went on to establish sizeable collections. Joe Fell in Chicago began by collecting, but ultimately got out of the business when his customers were virtually all decorators. I don't want to further pick on Steve examples, but Dennis Dodds is not a full time rug dealer. There are many collectors who support their collecting habits by dealing, but making the transition to full-time dealing is another matter.

There is a tremendous economic and psychological difference between being in the business of buying and selling rugs and collecting them (even if, as a collector, you sell a few from time to time). We all like to eat in restaurants, but few ever manage to be successful restaurateurs or could even cope with being a full-time restaurant reviewer for a newspaper.

In the end, however, from a buyer's perspective perhaps there is no substantive difference between full-time and part-time dealers.


Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Ludwina Akbulut mailto:%20akbulut@ispro.net.tr
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 02:38 p.m.
Hello Marla,
We are thinking the same on so many ways...I am even doing the same as you -hiding the best things near the bottom piles-. And I always feel bad when we have to sell a good piece to a wholesaler (because we need the money).I would rather like to sell a good piece to somebody who loves it. Sometimes-it is funny-it is like with pets, you want to be sure they get a good home.

Also I am against putting pieces in the shop 'not for sale'. I suppose in every shop everything is for sale if you are willing to pay the price a dealer wants for it.

And also most of the time I am teaching. I suppose also there on the same way as you do. But I feel tired of it. I can understand how 'Don Quixote' was feeling fighting against the windmills.
Here we have a lot of people for the first time looking at carpets and kilims, and here people come more easy in a shop than they do at home. My biggest problem in teaching here is that I first have to try to let people forget the 'information' they did get in other shops around here. Every day I have to explain the difference between a so called 'double knot' and 'single knot' and to teach them to speak about 'symmetric' and 'asymmetric' knots...And it is difficult to explain the difference between a 'collectable' piece and a 'decorative' piece when in the other shops around every piece is 'vegetable dye-very old, made for marriage...' I think I am on the wrong place....
And here is a difference : the people you are teaching can come back whenever they want, I am teaching people who are here for a very short time and maybe only for once in their life...they will not come back easy to my shop when they feel a little more sure about what they want. So the profit of the education that I am giving will be for other dealers... I am sure a lot of people after their first contacts here will go look for a carpet dealer at home... Anyway I am as I am and I can not change my attitude.

I do not believe in selling by 'internet'. There must be a personal relationship between a dealer and the customer.And this relationship is based on reciprocal trust and respect. My first principle is : 'everybody who comes in my shop is a friend-when you do not buy you stay a friend, and when you buy I want also to stay your friend.'
Although Marla ,your WS. is much more than the WS. of a 'carpet dealer' !

A lot of greetings
Ludwina Akbulut

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Yon Bard mailto:%20doryon@rcn.com
Date  :  10-30-2001 on 04:52 p.m.
Just out of curiosity, why do you feel that a novice needs to know the difference between a symmetric and asymmetric knot?

Regards, Yon

Subject  :  Re:Dealers who are collectors.
Author  :  Ludwina Akbulut mailto:%20akbulut@ispro.net.tr
Date  :  10-31-2001 on 03:35 a.m.
Hello Yon,

The first question everybody asks me here is to explain the difference between 'double' and 'single' knots, The moment they got the very good 'information' of the so called 'carpet' dealers around here they want to know that difference to 'control' the carpet they did purchase or they want to purchase because they do not want a 'single knotted' one...
I have to explain because it is the most used 'selling story' over here: 'You have to buy a Turkish carpet, it is double knotted!'sometimes even they show how easy a 'single' knot can be taken out...(before putting weft!).
You can not imagine how easy people who know nothing about carpets can be 'brainwashed'...This year I got the experience a customer did say to my husband : 'don't let your wife in the shop, she knows nothing about carpets!'. It was painfully that moment but it will be more painfully for that person the moment he realize that his purchased carpet (not in my shop!) is not a carpet from Eastern Turkey-with double knots, but a Pakistan Turkmen carpet with 'single' knots....
I am trying to do 'honest' business...feeling a 'Don Quixote'....

Ludwina Akbulut

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