(ed. see boswell's website http://www.rippon-boswell-wiesbaden.de/en/on-line_catalogue_collector_carpets/ for catalog descriptions and photos)
RK has debated whether we should spend any time reviewing the coming boswell fall 2014 sale. Finally we decided to comment on a few of the lots and then to make a prediction.
First here are some comments, but before beginning we must say although there are a number of lots with what appears to be cheap estimates, though overall the sale is not actually so configured.
We can cite many lots which carry more than generous prices both because of their quality and worth compared to other examples of their types and more so because of the ever declining level of interest in good pieces by the ever declining population of rug collectors.
Lets clarify the term good piece.
By this we mean examples not in the best of its type category, nor in the lesser.
Good pieces in former years sold well; but now since almost every collector has good pieces the level of demand for them has been declining for almost a decade, with an ever increasing incline to that demand now taking place.
There is of course commerce in this type of weaving but only at very, very reasonable price levels.
Anyone who doubts the above is either too inexperienced and unable to see the writing on the wall, or in major denial. Put boswell in the latter group.
Todays marketplace for collector oriental rugs and related weavings is firmly focused on two areas: Non-classical examples that are in the best of type category or classical carpets that are either in excellent condition or exceptionally early.
This, too, is fact; disbelievers are fooling themselves to think differently.
Therefore, a sale like the one boswell has complied that is chock full of good pieces at surely not bargain prices will have trouble finding traction.
OK then lets examine the catalogs offerings.
Starting off lot 1, a group of 3 Monastir slit-tapestry woven yastiks, is we think a perfect example of the above.
Not debating the age, which boswell claims to be 2nd half 19th century but we see as early 20th century, these three cutesy small mats might have found a buyer in the 1980s or 1990s when rug collecting had it boom-time.
We doubt boswells salesroom will successfully unload a lot like this at the 1,450 euro plus 22% buyers commission, as only a newbie collector would go for them and please tell RK the last time anyone has spotted one of these rara avis entering this collecting field.
Lot 3, a Sivas prayer rug boswell calls rare(who is this guy kidding) is entry level piece that at 1,500 euro plus commission will never find a paddle waving in the air.
Lot 4, a late Khotan three medallion rug from the Gallo collection should find a buyer at its giveaway 1,400 euro plus commission ticket.
But Lot 5, a boringly droll Perpedil will remain unsold at 2,800 euro plus commission. Lowering the price to 1,200 euro plus commission would greatly improve its chances, but even at that price RK would not be surprised to see it passed.
Lot 6, a Kansu silk rug also a Gallo Collection piece, at 1,700 euro plus commission is another cheapie that will elicit bidding and surely find a new home.
But Lot 7, a funky somewhat too damaged for floor use Zakatala yatak at 1,700 euro plus commission will we feel struggle to reach that price and hang somewhat below at around 1,000 euro.
Lot 8, a late 19th century four medallion Gallo Collection Lesghi, at 1,300 euro plus commission will find a buyer but we doubt at any appreciably higher digit.
Lot 10, a type of kelim RK associates with a Borjalu moniker, is called Azeri by boswell. But regardless of its name it is a late decorative example headed for floor use, but at 1,300 plus commission we doubt its going to end up anywhere but passed.
An S group fragment showing a bit of border and four squashed main gols is foolishly priced at 2,200 plus commission and will undoubtedly go back to the consignor unless he halves his estimate. At 1,100 plus commission it stands a chance to find a takerwell, maybe it wont either on account of its condition and end of the line pedigree.
Same for lot 12 a Tekke chuval with 36 diminutive banner gol packed like sardines in a can. At 1,800 plus commission it too will suffer disinterest from buyers at that level. Where would it sell? RK ventures to guess 800 900 euro plus commission but even then its too late for any seasoned collector and where might we ask are newbies?
Lot 13, a boring cookie-cutter example of a typical Yomud asmalyk, at 1,450 euro plus commission aint gonna leap off the podium. We think even at 750 euro plus commission it would hardly even limp in the direction of a paddle waver.
The tentband fragment, Lot 15, called Saryk by boswell is a poor guess. RK believes it to be probably eagle group and might spend some time explaining why, but this isnt the time or place. We doubt it is 18th century as boswell claims and at 2,400 euro plus commission and also doubt anyone is going to bother to go the distance. At 1,200 euro plus commission it might sell, and surely if buyers knew what we know it might make even more than boswells overly optimistic estimate. Nuff said till we decide to release our findings.
Lot 16, a kinda geeky three medallion Karachofesque Kazak is topped out at its 4,700 euro plus commission estimate and we doubt it will reach it. Maybe 3,000 plus commission would help its chances?
But Lot 17 another Karachof, this time a long rug, at 2,000 euro plus commission is correctly positioned and should find a willing buyer. Comparing it to the preceding lot shows well the complete lack of logic often seen in auction cataloging, something boswell is surely guilty of often perpetrating.
Lot 18, a Luri kelim with almost lurid coloration, at 1,800 euro plus commission is a joke. Take a look and have a chuckle or two on boswell.
If Lot 19, an small Afshar rug, is as boswell noticed very typical with no outstanding or unusual features to cite why then would he think someone is going to shell out 1,800 euro plus commission to get it. Wishful thinking is all we can see.
Lot 20, a white field Senneh festooned with small boteh is another Gallo Collection piece. At 1,500 euro plus commission we think it a hard sell try 800 euro plus commission and see a buyer.
A harshang type design fills the field of Lot 21, a Sauj Bulag small rug. Its a cute thing, not really old enough to get major interest, but at 8,500 euro plus commission we doubt there will be any interest at all. Try 2,500 euro plus commission and see a few paddles waving until 3,500.
Suzani fever is pandemic among a small group of collectors who will, maybe, take a liking to Lot 22, called Lakai, a misnomer according to us. But we are no fan of these shiny silky things, so we will not hazard a better guess other than to say Bokhara. At 5,500 euro plus commission will it sell? Well have to say probably not, try the 3,500 euro plus commission level to greatly improve its chances.
Silk Persian city rugs are not in vogue any more but in some places there still are retail buyers. Therefore Lot 23, a blue field silk Kashan might have success but the minimal wear boswell cites might destroy its chances at 4,800 euro plus commission.
A late, end of the line ak su torba, Lot 28, made by a Tekke weaver at 3,500 euro plus commission will, we believe, fall through the large cracks between experienced collectors and ones just coming into the market (really now, are there any??). Ak su designed anythings are hard to sell and we are sure this will keep this lot unsold unless boswell allows bottom fishing at 1,500 or so euro plus commission.
Same for a Chodor engsi, Lot 29, but here it is the price -- 8,500 euro plus commission -- not really the article itself which will dampen interest. Chodor engsi are rare, regardless of the fact RK has owned 6 of them all earlier than this end of the line one, so there is surely possible mid-range collector interest. But again the price will be the issue. Try 4,500 euro plus commission and we think itll be sold.
Lot 30, a golden field Kuba with an unusual treatment of flowers in 8 drop repeated horizontal rows should sell at the 3,600 euro plus commission estimate. It has drama and color but might the late 19th century dating imply some synthetic dye? If so, forget it.
OK, this review of most of the first 30 lots is, we feel, good enough to give the overall impression for the remaining 233 lots, where there is just more of the same.
However, in a forthcoming part two of this review, we will picture a few of the best lots among the remaining 233 and add our, as always, sagacious and sanguine comments. And of course that prediction we mentioned.
Stay tuned, more to come