About Rippon Boswell

The only auction house worldwide specialising in antique carpets and textiles

Consign your carpets and textiles to our successful auctions as early as possible. For a first opinion please send us photos or digital images of the relevant objects, giving measurements and a brief condition report prior to a visit to Wiesbaden or shipment for appraisal. We are also prepared to evaluate important objects or larger collections at your home. RIPPON BOSWELL, founded in England in 1884, is the only auctioneer worldwide specialising in antique carpets and textiles. The firms of the same name in Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany are today independent companies under different ownership.

Company history

All RIPPON BOSWELL companies have developed from the firm that John Rippon founded in Exeter, southern England, in 1884. As "Estate Agent & Auctioneer", John Rippon became a specialist agent and auctioneer of property, estates and fully furnished houses. His buying clientele at that time was chiefly made up of colonial civil servants who, after being pensioned off from overseas regions of the Empire, were returning to Great Britain and looking for a place befitting their status in which to spend their retirement. John Rippon’s successor was his son Henry, who took George Boswell into the firm as a partner in 1904. The company has traded under the name “RIPPON BOSWELL” ever since. Following George Boswell’s death the firm passed to L.D. Phillipps. In 1969 it was taken over by an international consortium. The new owners decided to specialise in carpets and moved the company seat to London, which was then a centre for the market in antique rugs and carpets. In order to be better represented on the international auction market, which was undergoing an expansive phase, they decided to establish subsidiaries abroad. A Swiss branch was opened in Basle in 1974. In 1976 the German branch of Rippon Boswell conducted its first auction in Frankfurt am Main, and the Hongkong office also started up at the same time. RIPPON BOSWELL Germany The Frankfurt branch was located in the west end of the city in Senatorin Lampe’s villa at Friedrichstraße 45. Auctions were held at the Frankfurt trade fair and exhibition grounds. The first auctioneers were Knut Günther, until 1978, and then Samuel Wennek. In the spring of 1987 Rippon Boswell Germany was taken over by Christa Lebold and Detlef Maltzahn, who had both worked for the company in Frankfurt for many years. As no suitable domicile – large enough to conduct auctions in-house – could be found in Frankfurt, the new owners moved the company seat to Wiesbaden. The address of the large Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) house in which the firm has been located since autumn 1987 is – strangely – also Friedrichstrasse 45. Over the course of the last two decades RIPPON BOSWELL Germany has gained international recognition with important individual objects and collections, often achieving maximum prices. The sale of the Vanderbilt Mughal carpet in autumn 1989 was spectacular: the large, square piece with a trellis pattern, dating from the 18th century, sold for around 1.3 million DM, at that time the world record for an oriental carpet at auction. In the auction on 1 December 2007, a small-format Mughal niche carpet from the rare millefleurs group again achieved a high price, making 456,000 Euros. Apart from the catalogue auctions in May and November and intermediate auctions which, according to demand, usually took place in March and September, private collections were also sold via special auctions, for example the collection of Viola Dominguez from Santa Monica in March 1992. The compulsory auction of antique collectors’ pieces from the confiscated property of a well-known gallery owner, carried out for the Bankruptcy Court in Munich, caused an international stir in June 1999. In October 1999, valuable individual pieces from the “Orient Stars” collection of the Stuttgart couple Waltraud and E. Heinrich Kirchheim were auctioned with great success. The special auction of Turkmen collector carpets, “The Lesley and Robert Pinner Collection of Turkmen Rugs”, in May 2004 likewise received a lot of attention internationally. The fact that antique carpets and textiles often achieve excellent results in Wiesbaden is due to RIPPON BOSWELL’s specific clientele, made up of leading international gallerists and private collectors, and to the consistently high standard of its catalogue auctions. A far-reaching event that cast a shadow over everything else was the loss of our managing partner Christa Maltzahn, who died in September 2007 from the incurable disease of the nervous system ALS.

 

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