Well it's that rag hali time again with the latest issue, number 201, hot off the press.
We are not going to waste time on any in-depth commentary. We'll just spill a few words about the more egregious and nonsensical items those who slave for little lord franses in his all but destroyed dreams of being a publishing magnate have scribbled.
He is a fool to keep publishing a print edition but franses never was the clever businessman he imagines. He's sucking blige water now and will soon, we predict, go down with the ship.
The articles in this issue, like those of the last few years, are stilted towards textiles and those who research and collect them. So much for the now rusted rubric "the magazine of oriental carpets" that formerly adorned that rag hali's masthead.
There's nothing wrong with textile research and collecting but face facts it ain't rug collecting, which after all is this magazine's prime audience.
When asked why: We opine no one on staff really knows anything about the types of carpets -- Turkmen, Anatolian, trans-Caucasian, south and west Persian -- that interest most collectors. Hence no ability to produce interesting articles. And the collector community is equally paralyzed, or is it just afraid?
Anyway, this is franses's problem, one he seems unable to solve or even make a stab at solving.
Close to the front is an advertisement for an S-group, turreted Salor gol, chuval by someone who does business under the name Amir in a surburb of Boston.
It is a very nice eample not 18th century, or a best of type, but still a desirable, valuable item.
We called him up and here's how the conversation went.
RK: Hello, I am calling about your ad in the latest issues of that rag hali.
Amir: Who are you?
RK: We made up a fictious name.
Amir: Are you a dealer or a collector?
RK: Well, what difference does that make.
Amir: I want to sell this to a collector.
RK: OK, I am a collector. How much do you want?
Amir: I am interested in taking bids from collectors.
RK: You are taking bids? Are you an auction house or a rug dealer operating from a shop?
Amir: I want collectors to bid for it.
RK: Go start an auction, then, if that's what you are trying to do.
Amir: Sir, please tell me your bid.
RK Listen up, it is your rug, you are a professed dealer, you need to have a price. So just spit it out and tell me what you want?
Amir: OK, in my heart I want $250,000. What do you think?
RK: I think you are a moron and a clown. Your chuval is worth $35,000 50,000, and honestly I do not think anyone will even buy it for $50,000 in today's market.
Amir: But I want $250,000
RK: It's obvious you do not have a clue what it is worth and now you got a free appraisal, GoodBye.
This is typical sleeze bag carpet dealing. Best of luck to Mr. Amir.
Now from the ridiculous to the sublime.
According to their advertisement the next rippon-boswell sale is slated for November 30th and will be a single-owner sale.
Seems Romaine Zaleski will be offering a chunk of his alleged 1,000 rug collection. From what we have seen Mr Zaleski's horde is of varying age, quality and importance. It will be interesting what he is going to try to divest, and more interesting how it is received by bidders.
The rippon ad says Selected antique rugs, carpets and textiles from the private collection of Romain Zaleski and Helene von Prittwitz Zaleski.
The story of Zaleskis carpet collecting is a rather public one, but one many in the public are not privy. It has gone on for at least three decades but the majority of his buying was done at the knee of Moshe Tabibnia, who built his business around him.
There is little doubt the best of Zaleski's collection came from Tabibnia, and very little of what he bought prior to attaching himself to Tabibnia will raise any eyebrows.
It also seems clear not everything that had Moshe's stamp on it was a whole lot better.
We doubt any of the masterpieces Zaleski opened his wallet wide for will be hitting maltzahn's auction block, especially in this first outing of what we are sure will have a second, third, and perhaps more acts.
Zaleski did not score bargains, he paid retail, and RK is pretty sure he will take a major bath, like Vok and others who bought years ago and paid too much for weavings that are now not exactly front-page news.
Time will tell but our predictions have a track record of being right on so here it is: We doubt Mr Zaleski's rug invstments will turn any profit for him.
Of course the big question that is the slightly smaller 1,000 kilo elephant in the room -- besides what is offered -- will be the estimates and then naturally the reserves.
Cheap estimates backed by high reserves fool no one and since boswell has a proven penchant for pulling bids off the back wall and chandeliers to keep items from selling below the reserves it will be a curious sight to watch.
By the way, we'll be even more surprised if this supposed private collection does not include items that formerly appeared in Tabibnia's gallery or on his website.
Best of luck to them all, surely they will need it.
Today's market is not very receptive to second rate and less classical and Anatolian village rugs, or post first quarter Caucasian rugs. Nor are boswell's bidders looking for high-end decorative goods. So, in the end, Mr Zaleski might have been better off with sothebys or Christies to disperse his collection because they have the broad range of buyers a "specialist" auction like rippon-boswell doesn't.
Carpets from another name collector, Simon Crosby, who passed away some time ago, are also going up for grabs at an old, regional English auction house on November 21st.
Unlike Zaleski who bought mostly classical rugs, Crosby was a Turkman carpeteer. At one time he had a powerful collection but over the years, long before he passed away, he sold most of the best of them.
We've heard after he passed away a number of the better weavings also went out the front and back door.
We seriously doubt anything major is left, perhaps explaining why a small regional auction house and not a major one in London will be the venue.
Crosby was a good guy and friend of RK. Early on he was among the more knowledgeable, and in the mid-1970's when we met him we instantly became mates.
He was also responsible for publishing the "Turkmen Carpets from Franconia" book and even though it also bears the name of peter the crook hoffscheister Crosby did all the heavy lifting with hoffscheister just along for the ride.
Same for the "Tent Band - Tent Bag" book RK wrote and foolishly included hoffscheister.
But unlike RK, Crosby remained friends with peter the crook. Why we have no idea, as hoffscheister is and always was a nasty piece of work.
RK was sorry when Crosby disappeared from the rug scene long before his passing. He was missed then and still is now, at least by us.
Our last mention is the stunning results of the online Kashmir Shawl sale held in June by Christies.
Some readers might know RK had a great collection of historic Kashmir tapestry-twill, aka kani, weavings and did ground breaking research on these fabulously intricate textiles.. We sold our collection in the early 1980's and several of the lots in the sale were formerly ours.
The most notable, and second highest priced in the sale, was lot 19 a 17th century long shawl end, aka pallou, with what we have called composite flowering shrubs.
It's a good story how it ended up in the Samuel Josefowitz collection but one we will not recount here and now. Once again, that's going to be for our promised autobiography of a carpet collector.
Lot 19 Christies online Kashmir Shawl auction, June 2019; sold for $70,565
Much of our Kashmir shawl research was published in a book we ghost-wrote called "Shawls of the East" as well as appearing in the Weaving Art Museum 2007 exhibition "Tapestry Flowers".
We did not have the stomach to bother reading through the only feature article on carpets in this issue.
On Kazak rugs it was written by raoul tschebull, aka tschebullshit, who is generously described as a "specialist" collector and that now over-used and sullied sobriquet in rugDUMB "scholar".
This say-nothing paean to his own collection, from which all the rugs except one well-known Anatolian village rug from the Joseph McMullan collection, and his new book is a worthless addition to the rest of his publishing efforts.
Tschebullsit is a former rug collector turned dealer turned big mouth scholar, whose 1972 paperback catalog of Kazak tugs still is, and always will be, his best contribution to the field.
He is a wanker and his droll, boring, informationless writing is nothing but, as one old time and long gone ruggie Sam Gordon quipped, scholarshit.
So much for that rag hali's continued and obviously unsuccessful efforts to broaden readership by trying to seduce textile people into the fold. It's not going to work and were anyone besides franses running the show this puppy would have gone digital some time ago.
Quite frankly we tire of saying so.