The 2019 Neue Gallery Presents season began with me speaking on the topic of Collecting 101. We had a lively crowd who enjoyed light bites and wine before we gathered around the front of the gallery. I was prepared to talk about facets of collecting that would be of interest to beginners, but after spending time with our guests, I discovered that most were seasoned collectors, so I quickly switched gears. In fact, June Greenwald was in the audience, how was I supposed to speak to this iconic woman who sat at the helm of her family antiques business for decades? What happened naturally was wonderful: we all began sharing stories about great auction buys, estates sales and stories from the old White Elephant Sale that was held every year in Cleveland. It was a reunion and a “best of” conversation for collectors!
I started with a story of a gorgeous antique Caucasian carpet that was part of the display at the White Elephant sale. It wasn’t the focus of the display; it was beneath items on display. I first walked, no, ran past it as I entered the sale. I made a hard stop after processing what I had seen and asked a volunteer to help me dismantle the lovely display so I could quickly roll it up and claim it. At this event you couldn’t make a pile of goodies and continue shopping unless someone you knew well worked there would watch your new found treasure. It was best to look out of yourself here and I carried my intended purchases around until check-out. I remember paying $600 for the carpet and that was a lot in 1995. I sold that carpet a few months later for $6000 to a prominent carpet dealer in Cincinnati. I didn’t become a carpet collector from the experience, but the extra cash certainly encouraged me to keep learning.
The next Neue Gallery Presents event will be presented by Bridget McWilliams and she’ll be talking about great collectors and how to live like one. Please join us 4/17 at 6:30 for an educational and fun evening with the Neue Auctions team.