While new carpet auctions are not exactly popping up like mushrooms after a good heavy rain a new contender, leclere auction, has thrown a chapeau into an already too crowded ring.
Anyone can go around to carpet dealers and get consignments for a sale.
This modus operandi might fill up the pages of a catalog but rarely if ever results in a successful sale.
Carpets dealers are far more aware of what makes a sought after, and valuable, rug than they were 20 or more years ago, so finding undiscovered pieces they might have is nigh on impossible today.
And since the antique carpet business is not exactly booming, fact is it is in the doldrums, whenever any dealer gets something worthwhile it is easily and immediately placed with a private client they already know.
Nobody holds back a piece for an auction when it can be readily sold to a client.
So the chances for an auctioneer, especially one with no track record of decades of being in business, has little to no possibility of finding such pieces from carpet dealers for a sale.
And finding private clients who have worthy carpets for consignment is again not easy for even the most established auction houses, like Christie and sotheby.
This is one more factor making it difficult to assemble noteworthy carpet auctions.
As for leclere, the additional fact of having a rug expert who has little knowledge of the antique carpet world, other than selling on ebay for a few years, or contacts bodes poorly for leclere's chances to mount credible and successful sales.
Marsailles is a good place where RK is sure some excellent and rare rugs might be hidden in attics and basements, and France in general is a country where early and valuable carpets have been found.
We say "have been" because not only did we find some but those days are long past, and it is Paris not Marsailles that is the auction capital of the country. And it is here most if not all will end up.
RK has contacts in Paris and for the past decade all of them tell us nothing interesting is appearing, though once and a rare while something exceptional does still appear.
The catalog for the leclere sale suffers all the above and more, and it is not surprising there is not one really interesting lot among the 94 on offer.
There are a couple of respectable late 19th century Persian furnishing carpets but not one collector piece RK would even bother to look at twice.
Neither will buyers, and we are sure this sale will be unsuccessful with a sale rate well below 50%.
However, should leclere auction be able to draw in to their saleroom local private clients looking for 'decorative' furnishing rugs, then of course they will be able to raise that percentage.
This is the dream of all carpet auctioneers, to find buyers for mid- and low-range 19th century carpets.
It is also one that so far only the extremely well-regarded and long-established skinner's auction in Boston has been able to achieve, and RK sincerely doubts new kid on the block leclere carpet sale will be able to equal, or even come close, as the demographics of New England versus southern France are as different as the languages spoken therein.
We should also mention the catalog's pseudo-academic notes, written by ms fiorintino, are both out of place and a silly attempt to make the ordinary merchandise appear to be more than it actually is.
Better to under-describe and let buyers think they can steal something they want and know is better than turn them off with hi-falutin' and unwarranted prose.
In short leclere's rug expert and the auction house needs to rethink their strategy in light of both the facts of lfe in the antique carpet auction business and their own capabilities.