Then and Now – Two Caucasian Rugs at Sotheby’s
Some fifteen years ago, back in November 1998, we reviewed two lovely Caucasian rugs from the Gary Bortz Collection that had been sold earlier that year (May 1998) at Sotheby’s in London (HALI 101, Auction Price Guide, p.134). The first was a particularly beautifully coloured, velvety, Karagashli Kuba from the first half of the 19th century that had been exhibited by the London dealer Clive Loveless at the Maastricht Orangerie in March 1989 (HALI 41, p.21). In 1998 it sold for $63,410, well above SLO’s estimate. The other was a chunky, funky Kazak, also 19th century, previously published by Patrick and Rie Ampe (Kailash Gallery, Antwerp) in their 1994 book Textile Art. In London it fetched the equivalent of $37,490, again easily surpassing expectations.
Now, a decade and a half later, both rugs have again come under the auctioneer’s hammer, this time consigned by a Florida collector to Sotheby’s ‘Important English and European Decorative Arts’ sale in New York on April 24, 2013. The good news is that both rugs were sold – the bad news is that the Karagashli, estimated at just $15-20,000, limped to $16,250, while the Kazak could barely reach the bottom of its $20-30,000 estimate, and that sum included buyer’s premiums.How times and tastes have changed!