TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  What has worked for you?
Author  :  Lelie Orgel mailto:%20orgel@aim.salk.edu
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 01:08 p.m.
Hello All

The present Salon made me wonder where my favorite pieces came from. I am an old-time collector, going back to the late 1960s. I regard myself as an equal-opportunity buyer since, at one time or another, I have searched for rugs that I can afford at swap-meets, antique shops, antique shows, the backs of pickers’ vans, EBAY, general rug stores, numerous specialist galleries, Acor and international fairs and even at a now-defunct gallery in Munich. Over the years I have sold or traded substantially more pieces than I presently own.

I was surprised to find that less than 5% of my present collection originates from sources other than rug dealers. Only two dealers have supplied a significant number of pieces (roughly 10% of my collection in each case). They have little in common. For one dealer it is a matter of coincidence of taste. We tend to like the same things, so I almost always admire the pieces he has on offer, even if I have no interest in collecting them. He rarely offers me pieces, but when he does I often buy them. In the case of the other dealer, it was a matter of availability. Our tastes overlap somewhat, but our areas of interest overlap strongly. In the good old days, his large inventory almost always included more desirable pieces than I could afford.

Coincidence of taste and availability of specialized material are obviously two of the ingredients that help to establish a specialist collector-dealer relationship. Of course, it also helps if the individuals involved like each other, and it is essential that a significant number of deals can get done at prices acceptable to both parties. The future is hard to predict, so it is much easier to analyze the past. If we define successful dealer-collector relationships as those that have led to a substantial proportion of a collector’s favorite acquisitions, what ingredients have made them work for others?


Subject  :  Re:What has worked for you?
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 03:44 p.m.
Hi Leslie,

You suggest an interesting test. In my own case, as an opportunistic collector, I've used many sources. But there are a few areas within our collection that stand out in fairly sharp relief when I look at them through your suggested approach.

We own a significant number of embroideries, and have gotten them from at least four sources. But almost all of came from the same dealer. The characteristics he has that led to this are:
1. His taste is, in our opinion, impeccable. We never pass up an opportunity to see his inventory; his stuff simply knocks my socks off.
2. We like him very much on a personal level. He fits Tom Cole's description of a "good person".

We also own a number of textiles from mainland southeast Asia (Laos and Cambodia). All except one came from the same dealer, although we've looked at mainland southeast Asian material that others had.
1. The aesthetics of the stuff he has had always seems to us to be much better than anything we've seen elsewhere.
2. We like him very much on a personal level. He fits Tom Cole's description of a "good person".

We have a fairly large number of Caucasian/NW Persian flatweaves, mostly from the same dealer. Guess what? The same two criteria fit him. I think I'm starting to see a pattern here.

We enjoy warm friendships with all three of these people. We know their families, have been in the homes of two of them and two have been in ours. We have traveled with two of them.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:What has worked for you?
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  11-03-2001 on 05:54 p.m.
Interesting analysis. I just surveyed the pieces I currently own: the majority come from specialist dealers - at least 10 different ones from around the world. I have not met at least two of them personally. The second largest group of pieces come from large well-known auction houses. Only one current piece comes from a generalist antique dealer. Like Leslie, a large number of pieces have come and gone. While not all collectors sell or trade, I believe that the majority do so to better their collections or to change focus. Even at the level of a Kirschheim, sales and trades occur. That brings up another point that might be better discussed as a separate thread. How does a collector choose a dealer to act as broker (presuming that a one-to-one sale or trade or an auction is not chosen for moving a piece)?

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