Attending the Navajo Rug Auction in Crownpoint, New Mexico in the late 1970s is one of my wife’s favorite memories. She loved talking about the experience. A tiny rug, 17×22-inches, hangs on the wall in our reading room.
As we drove cross country this spring, it occurred to her that we would be within a thousand miles of this once-a-month event. Could we go? We could!
In this photo two auctioneers are trying to get more bids on a rug. One charming aspect of the event is that the auctioneers donate their time and have been doing this for twenty years, driving hundreds of miles every first Friday. Weavers are paid the evening of the auction.
Actually, this auction was only the fifth since COVID-19 waned; the number of rugs for sale, only half the number that were on sale in the late 1970s; masks, required.
Yes, we got another small rug (not the one pictured), the next-to-last item to be auctioned. My wife’s aggressive bidding produced a flurry of other bids. Because she obviously wanted that small rug badly, other bidders thought she must know something they did not. That made them more comfortable bidding.
Then again, some bidders bid up prices simply because they want to see the weaver get more money for their work. They don’t want to win the bid, just up the price. It is something of a game, a game you want to make sure you do not win.
George P. wrote:
I know about matters like that at Briggs Auction years ago. It was a Greek Vase from Lesvos, which a young woman apparently thought was valuable, oh well.
Rebecca M. wrote:
Beautiful rug. My parents bought Navajo rugs back in the ’80s and they were expensive then. Beautiful work, takes a lot of time to make. Worth the price.
Connie H.G. wrote:
In the thirteen years I lived in New Mexico, I never made it to Crown Point. Always wanted to. A wonderful event. [DANNY REPLIED: Very much a community event, held in a school auditorium. Afterwards, the winning bidders got their photo taken with the weaver and the rug.]
Cyndy S. wrote:
I love these posts as they first appeared on Facebook. And as you move further west, many of them bring back memories of our own travels. Have a safe journey. Looking forward to more posts.