MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Skinner Auctioneers has chosen Benjamin Mini as the new director of the company’s rugs & carpets department. Mini will also serve as the regional director of the auction house for Maine and Northern New England.
Mini brings more than two decades of experience buying and selling rugs, textiles and other antiques. During his years as an active collector, Mini cultivated vital relationships within the field, and through those connections, his trading in the marketplace, and close study of the material, has developed a particular interest in woven textiles from the Near East and North Africa, including Anatolia, Persia, the Caucuses and the Maghreb. Mini’s love of weavings is supplemented by his long-standing interest in the social conditions and artistic ingenuity that produced these fine fabrics, and these histories are central to his understanding of their significance and value.
“When I first met Ben, we chatted about rugs, textiles and antiques. It was abundantly clear to me Ben is a kindred spirit. He will bring his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to Skinner to build upon our foundation and dedication to the rug and textiles collecting and trading community. I welcome Ben to Skinner,” said Karen Keane, the CEO of Skinner.
Mini’s arrival at Skinner coincides with the landmark acquisition of Jim Dixon’s Hesperides collection. Dixon was the consummate collector of rugs, carpets and textiles and, piece by piece, built an astounding collection during the last half-century. With a passion for the Persian and Golden Triangle regions, Dixon’s wide-ranging Hesperides archive has rarely been available for such comprehensive preview and offers something for collectors of every interest and caliber. The first part of this series of auctions will be a live sale on May 4 in Skinner’s Marlborough galleries, showcasing some of the finer rugs and carpets. An online auction will run from April 25 to May 5. A highlight from the vault and a standout item in the upcoming live auction recently turned heads during its viewing at Asia Week, New York: A Ming dynasty carpet from the Imperial Palace group, in superior condition and depicting a Chinese dragon, estimated at $200,000-$300,000.
Mini says, “It has long been my dream to work at Skinner. It is a leading auction house for fine textiles and plays a major role in the collecting community by catering to enthusiasts of all levels and backgrounds. I am proud to come on board as a department specialist and regional director.” Before this appointment, Mini worked for several decades as an educator, teaching history, art history and Islamic studies courses. His extensive study of regional variation enhances Mini’s passion for antique textiles. His knowledge in decorative and tribal rugs, flatweaves, embroideries and other textiles from the Middle East, North Africa, India and China will add substantially to the ability of the department to expertly handle and offer this material to the marketplace. Additionally, Mini has first-hand experience with Native American and pre-Columbian weavings, Navajo and Hopi rugs and blankets, American quilts, hooked rugs and embroidery, suiting his dual role of regional director for Maine and Northern New England.