When RK asks this question we are referring to early non-classical rugs from Anatolia, Turkmenistan and the trans-Caucasus regions.
While there never were boatloads of such pieces coming to the various auctions, well-known and others less so, there were each season at least one or two which would catch our eye. And even more occasionally one good enough to make us a bidder.
However, for the last several years this trickle of worth of a second look pieces has seemingly dried up like the Sahara.
The reasons for this are many and we'd like to mention three of the most significant:
1. The supply coming from old houses, estates, basement, attics and trunks hidden away for years has surely declined, and declined drastically, over the past 25 or so years. Naturally, the elephant grave-yard like environments which sheltered such weavings have been discovered and looted, leaving few left unfound.
2. The number of pickers, dealers and collectors interested in these historical weavings has conversely multiplied and with their ever-rising prices the chances of scoring them, whether by an auctioneer or his suppliers, have also decreased.
3. There are a goodly number ensconced in "old" collections and while the owners are getting on in age they have not, at least as yet, decided to sell.
These reasons, and a number of others, have created the present dearth of interesting auction lots; and although the first two will never disappear and will continue to influence what appears at auction, the third will sooner than later play itself out and these "old" collections will presumably come to the market. Most, RK will guess, through established auctions and not through the dealer channels.
Basically because the majority of these "old" collections belong to collectors who know auction fever will always trump face to face selling.
And also because most of them are not expert enough to properly 'price' their collections and will leave it to the "market" to do so.
RK has never been an auction buyer, preferring to acquire directly from sellers and leave the middleman auctioneer out of the equation.
And believe it or not we rarely have seen things we'd buy in the pages of auction catalogs.