I bought this rug at an auction in Florence when I was living there in the summer of ’82. I stumbled across an estate sale in an old palazzo and out of curiosity went in. I was amazed at the fine articles they had. It was like going back to the 18th Century. I was gazing around when I stumbled on a beautiful 9’ X 11’± Oriental rug in great reds and blacks
that would go great in my dining room at home (which was painted red but had too small a rug under the table).
The rug was to go to auction in two days. Well, I went every day trying to learn enough Italian to bid so I wouldn’t make a huge mistake. (Italian numbers are quite complicated as they add each group of numbers into a long string of phrases.) So, armed with my Italian dictionary and great hope, I arrived at the hour of the rug bidding. When ‘my’ rug came up for bid, my heart started to pound. The numbers began to get very long, very complicated, very quickly. Finally there were two of us that seemed to be left wanting the rug. I didn’t want to go over $1000US so I was listening, bidding and trying to translate at the same time. When I thought it was still in the acceptable range, an old Italian woman raised the bid; I raised mine. Two more rounds and it became mine at unmilionenovamilaquattromillequattrocento (1,094,400 Lira or $684US). I carried it three blocks home, placed it in the center of my Florentine apartment and voila— perfection.
I shipped it to Washington via boat that took three months! I though for certain it was lost. Finally, both Ed and I marveled how perfect it was under Grandmother Cooke’s table in the dining room. I placed it first in the dining room of my Rehoboth Beach home and now my Milton home, still under Grandmother’s table.