SKINNER AUCTION REPORT
By Carl Strock
Reprinted with permission from the Newsletter of the New England Rug Society, May 1, 1997
The Skinner auction of April 12 held at the Boston gallery was a lively affair, with a good crowd in attendance and an especially large selection of enticing material to bid on -- 279 lots in all.
Collector interest focused on a highly unusual pile bag attributed to Bergama, which was illustrated on a postcard mailed out to promote the sale. The bag consisted of two pieces bound together at the sides -- a plainweave back with a triangular flap-extension done in pile, and a pile front. A bold design in good colors on an ivory ground helped, but rarity more than anything else made this bag desirable. Bidding did not eactly go through the roof for it, however, and it sold for $3,737.50 against a $2,500 to $3,500 estimate. (All prices include the 15% buyer's premium.)
Other items of interest included:
- Lot 89, an unusual Bordjalu Kazak panel woven horizontally, with a spare, open design; in excellent condition. This was about the right size for the side panel of a large mafrash, which it might originally have been. $8,050.
- Lost 19, a Kuba bag with an unusual face-like design done in nice glossly wool. $977.50.
- Lot 139, a pleasing east Caucasian prayer rug with a multicolored cane-striped mihrab, in more mellow colors than shown in the catalog. $6,900.
- Lot 172, an especially coarse, almost gabbeh-like Zakatala rug. Estimated at $4,500-5,000. Unsold.
- Lot 190, a Salor torba fragment in kejebe design with an abundance of magenta silk. $6,325.
- Lot 27, a long, narrow Central Asian bag face cataloged as Chodor but possibly from some other Central Asian group, in the opinion of Turkophiles. This was of a format not seen elsewhere. $4,312.50.
- Lot 219, a pair of small Baluch saddlebags, with a gaping hole in the bridge suggesting accommodation for a pommel, the pile faces in silky wool and glowing colors, somewhat worse for wear. This lot was the main attraction for Baluchophiles, who otherwise had only run-of-the-mill pickings. $3,220.
- Lot 234, an Anatolian yastik so crudge of design that some of the border motifs were little more than blobs and squiggles but with soft glossy wool and beautifully subtle tones of blue and blue-green. $1,265.
- Lot 274, a Bergama rug of a type described by Henry Glassie in his talk to the NERS the night before the auction, which however did not benefit much from his endorsement, selling for a mere $747.50.
- Lot 74, a striking central Asian felt in characteristic ram's horn design. $1,840.
- Lot 93, a previousely rendered reverse soumak bag face in a design of Memling guls and eight-pointed stars. $1,495.
- Lots 15 and 157, two soumak bag faces in the most popular Shahsavan "shield" design, which almost always has a mechanical, overmemorized look to this reviewer's eye. Lot 157 -- battered and limp, with colors shot -- sold for $2,205. Lot 15, newer and with stronger colors, sold for $2,070.
Several other attractive soumak bag faces, lots 92, 155 and 156, went unsold. Yet another, Lot 90, went for a bargain $920.
NERS members were among the bidders -- often successful -- on these and many other handsome pieces in the sale.