RK just finished reading that rag Hali websites online review of the sothebys Jan 31, 2014 sale.
It was written by Judith Glass, who formerly worked for sothebys in their London rug and carpet department.
Her review, which like almost everything that appears in that magazine, is no doubt capable of impressing novices.
However those in the know, who are not part of their clan like RK, are able to see just where and how the smiley, everythings great in rugDUMB, premises they advance as facts really are not.
For instance here is the last line in Glasss piece: All in all this was a most lucrative day for consigners, buyers and auction house alike.
Was it really?
Lets shine some light on Ms Glasss imaginary tinker-bell frosted happy face ending.
First off many of the consignors lost big dollars on most of their consignments and, while RK does not have the energy or desire to catalog just how much, trust us many lost much.
Some consignors might have partially recouped on losses when individual items soared to far more than their estimates, but that was a rare occurrence at this sale.
The Asian Collector, aka Ben Fernandas from Singapore, who consigned a goodly number of lots, did very well only one, lot 56 the single Eagle Kazak RK discovered in Paris in 1981.
But overall his large consignment lost money on the prices he originally paid.
Forget about his having owned them for decades.
So his ROI, return on investment, was decidedly negative.
Guess he is not smiling, huh?
Also Dr. Robert P. Hendrickson from Connecticut, USA, who also consigned a large number of rugs, probably was, like Fernandas, overall a loser on his batch.
In all fairness Glass did point out how his lot 175 sold for a measly $37,500 when he had paid $121,870 in 2006. Note also the $37,500 is the hammer price plus premium, while Hendrickson would only net about $27,000 for the sale after deducting the probable 10% sellers premium and other sotheby fees.
So right there on that one lot Dr Hendrickson lost about $100,000.
And how about the good Drs lot 161 which was bought in 2002 for a whopping $130,500 and sold in the sale for $62,500. Again note that's the hammer price plus premium, while Hendrickson would again only net about $42,000 after deducting the probable 10% sellers premium and other sotheby fees.
Thats another loss of about $90,000. These two were not his only losses.
Doubt Dr Hendrickson is dancing a jolly jig to his local bank.
There are other losers among the consignors but they were the two biggest.
Had they had RK in their corner we would have never allowed them to load everything they did into the sale and would have found alternate places to sell much of their goods.
We can guarantee this approach would have been far more successful and rewarding.
But alas, both Fernandas and Hendrickson trusted mary joe otseas sotheby spiel and they have no one other than themselves to blame for the poor showing that faith returned.
And how about other big winners?
Of course, Ms Glass believes buyers were winners too.
Yes, some will be, and even though our former Eagle Kazak brought $233,000 we will be glad to bet the next time it is resold it will sell for more.
But the Ballard runt of the litter workshop, aka Turkish village, rug which some lucky amateur collector got to carry home for $125,000 plus a no doubt 20 percent or higher 'commission' to his "eager dealer" will, and we are sure about this, not be as fortunate when it hits the block again.
And rest assured that eager European dealer -- Ms Glasss words not ours who bought it in the sale was not spending his own money but that of a paying commission to him client.
Why will these buyers and others we can easily point out not be winners?
Simply put, race fans, because the Eagle is a champion and champions always perform.
The Ballard runt of the litter village rug is a B team bencher that has no real legs. It will stumble in the future, watch and see.
Lets all face an important fact: The knowledge in the collector rug market is increasing, far too slowly if you ask us, but nonetheless RK is the first to say it is advancing.
Therefore, in a decade or more when both the Eagle and the Ballard runt might hit the block that advancing knowledge will still appreciate the former but the latter will be exposed as the runt that it is and its biggest asset, the James Ballard name, will not enough to carry it onward and upward.
If there is any lesson in the sotheby sale it is this: Private collectors like Hendrickson and Fernandas, are not professionals and when they buy, either on the say-so of their rug expert in Fernandass case, or like Hendrickson on his own taste and knowledge, they rarely if ever beat the system.
Their losses are proof of this paradigm: Collecting antique oriental rugs is a tough row to hoe and hardly ever are collectors successful.
Another important aspect to this sale is the recognition finally paid to the collector, rather than the decorative, part of the antique rug and carpet market.
Collector rugs, and we mean genuine early 19th century and far older non-classical ones, are much rarer than just about any decorative or classical-type rug.
Sure, to correctly identify them requires an extremely larger skill set, but when it is done properly the returns, like the Eagle posted, are always the result.
And lets also remember this is RKs balliwick and our faith in these rugs has now gone mainstream for good reasons, and more to come.
Trust us on this one -- watch masterpiece quality, gem, examples of early Turkmen, Anatolian and trans-Caucasian rugs and related flat-weaves continue to gain more respect and greater selling prices.
We could go on examining the sotheby sale to prove just how ludicrous Ms Glasss lucrative day for consigners, buyers and auction house alike.. statement truly was. And how equally foolish that rag hali was for publishing it.
Well, at least for the many of the consignors and some of the buyers but surely not for the auction house.
Never forget it, sotheby like a Las Vegas casino always wins.