Bargain of the sale, lot 64, the jim burns Caucasian embroidery
The dust, what little of it there was, has now settled at Vienna's NovoForum and, as RK opined they would, things did not go very well for the munkasci collection sale.
There was a shining spot or two, but not among munkasci part of the sale.
The most noticeable being the catalogs back cover lot 51, the overly restored and often sighted for sale since its debut in Ulrich Schurmann's 'Caucasian Rugs' publication, that returned a whopper 135,000 euro plus 22% commission result.
RK was not surprised, though a number of our contacts were, considering the entrance into the market of several new buyers for top, or what they perceive as top, weavings from the transCaucasus region.
The catalog's description followed Schurmanns lost in the sauce idea it was produced in "Shirvan" in late 17th century.
Both are far from proven conclusions RK would be delighted to debate anytime, anywhere, with anyone who believes different.
Suffice it to say we'd call it an Armenian workshop Kazak produced somewhere near the Caspian Sea port of Baku.
This aside, the humongous amount of restoration, something the catalog description might have made a bit more prominent, put to question just how much of what is there was originally there.
We intend to revisit this in part two, but we need to mention when this weaving is compared to lot 64 the gross difference in price, as well as iconographic content the embroidery being a far more beautiful and historically important example of basically the same form one might be well put to question the savvy of the carpets purchaser and underbidder(s).
Another rare upside in this auction was lot 84, also in our estimation wrongly provenanced this time to Moghan, reaching a rather over the top 34,000 euro plus 22% commission.
Lot 84, another example of the relish certain new buyers are exhibiting when it comes to pursuing ex-well known collection weavings at auction
Considering the not infrequent appearance of rugs of this ilk, granted this is a very good one but surely not the best as its owner (jim aka generous jim burns) has unabashedly been declaring for two decades, RK would prefer calling it a workshop product most probably produced in what is now Georgia, somewhere close to the ancient city of Tblisi.
This is no Moghan area village rug, not by a long shot.
Its worth noting all three lots are rumored to have been consigned by generous jim burns. And if so it was a nice payday for him, not that he needs it.
Speaking of paydays, it surely wasnt one for kurt munkasci and the 130 Turkmen weavings in his consignment.
Racking up a 45% sale ratio, the munkasci collection auction will probably go down in Turkmen rug auction history (surely to date) as the worst performing sale ever, displacing RKs TentBand Collections totally unwarranted 50% sale ratio.
The disastrous TentBand results were unquestionably due to sothebys rug expert, bill the snake ruprechts, underhanded efforts to sabotage the sale, as well as the help he received from and several European dealers, who felt threatened by RK budding friendships with some of their best clients.
While the sale ratios are similar, the quality and importance of the 20 TentBand Collection pieces was far and away past the munkasci collection.
There is absolutely no debate there, and RK welcomes anyone who suggests there is to do so publicly here on RugKazbah.com.
RK will be glad to demonstrate the idiocy of any such idea.
It is interesting several of the pieces from the TentBand sale were offered by munkasci; one in particular that went unsold in 1990, Lot 192 the S group chuval RK has often stated is the earliest example of the type.
And while RK does not put much faith in ideas the buyers for Turkmen weavings at auction are as astute as they should be the fact Lot 192 sold and Lot 213, the Tekke(?) chuval some pundits believe is both earlier and superior failed to sell, might show at least some improvement in that direction.
In the long run this really does not mean a whole hill of beans but it does suggest certain buyers have increased their knowledge enough to realize this comparison was, and always will be, foolish and poorly conceived.
Thats it for part one, however, we must add the following to counter the somewhat absurd rumors circulating in certain European collector circles RK is working with Austria Auction or for Udo Langauer.
What apparently has given fodder to these totally unsubstantiated contentions is the appearance of several high level pieces in AAC auctions RK has and had been previously associated with.
To shut the lid on these rumors RK needs to state that yes some pieces we once owned were consigned for sale there, but they were not consigned by us and rather were placed by either partners we had engaged or by buyers who purchased them from us.
And although pieces of ours have in recent times turned up in other European rug sales, like Nagel as well as in certain American auctions, we were totally surprised when we first heard the rumors of our alleged involvement with Langauer and Austria Auction.
We hope the above will now quench the thirst certain ruggies have for both starting and promoting tall tales about RK and our collection.
Stay tuned for part two and our comments about munkasci results.