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Author Topic: Antiques in Russia  (Read 52787 times)

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Offline IAmZon

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Antiques in Russia
« on: December 14, 2007, 03:22:16 PM »
I have a very good friend who has a very large antique mall (34,000 square feet).  For many years, he has imported antiques from the Amsterdam.  But currency exchange rates with the euro has made that less attractive.

Has anyone imported a container of "antiques" from any of the FSU countries.  These could be formal or provincial pieces of furniture, architectural fixtures, anything ...

Would welcome comments and direction.

Thank you


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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2007, 04:45:51 PM »
Bad idea.  Russia's economy has improved dramatically and the flow of Russian antiques is into the country, not out.  Even before this, I saw few stores with period pieces.  Further, the Russian currency has also appreciated  vs the dollar.

Offline IAmZon

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2007, 04:53:27 PM »
I don't think actual treasures (real formal, old, and rare pieces of art, decorative art, artifacts)  can be found at a deal - that is for sure. 

I am involved in the Luxury goods industry and am well aware that Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Parts of the Middle East are the only Boom towns now (all oil related).

My thinking here is for Provencial pieces (Pieces that are old, and have charm, but no intricate detail, bronze, fancy stuff) and architectural salvage - gates; elaborate hand carved elements in architecture. Interestingly, in Boom towns - especially boom towns with age, "out with the old and in with the new" is the spirit of the times.  Clearly the US dollar would buy more in Romania, or Ukraine, then Stockholm, or Amsterdam?!?!!??!?!?

I am wondering if there are antique / architectural salvage aggregators (wholesalers), and perhaps more importantly, if there are "unique difficulties" exporting containers of used furniture, old art, architectural salvage.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 05:25:51 PM by rivardco »

Offline deccie

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2007, 11:14:17 PM »
I don't think actual treasures (real formal, old, and rare pieces of art, decorative art, artifacts)  can be found at a deal - that is for sure. 

I am involved in the Luxury goods industry and am well aware that Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Parts of the Middle East are the only Boom towns now (all oil related).

My thinking here is for Provencial pieces (Pieces that are old, and have charm, but no intricate detail, bronze, fancy stuff) and architectural salvage - gates; elaborate hand carved elements in architecture. Interestingly, in Boom towns - especially boom towns with age, "out with the old and in with the new" is the spirit of the times.  Clearly the US dollar would buy more in Romania, or Ukraine, then Stockholm, or Amsterdam?!?!!??!?!?

I am wondering if there are antique / architectural salvage aggregators (wholesalers), and perhaps more importantly, if there are "unique difficulties" exporting containers of used furniture, old art, architectural salvage.

I think the paperwork involved for you will be astronomical. There is a general ban on genuine antiques leaving the country. i.e. items over 100 years old. And for items less than that I expect the onus will be on you to prove they are NOT 100 years old. Expect lots of paperwork and gift giving.
This is not as trifling as it seems. I recall several stories of people being stopped at the airport for attempting to take "cutural artifacts" out of the country.
A standard tourist scam is to sell an antique for a cheap price in a tourist stall and then to get the person who bought it stopped at the border, item confiscated and then returned to to the seller for resale I think there is a ban on medals too.

Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 12:07:31 AM »
I have a very good friend who has a very large antique mall (34,000 square feet).  For many years, he has imported antiques from the Amsterdam.  But currency exchange rates with the euro has made that less attractive.

Has anyone imported a container of "antiques" from any of the FSU countries.  These could be formal or provincial pieces of furniture, architectural fixtures, anything ...

Would welcome comments and direction.

Thank you


Wow, what an interesting friend you have... 8) would you introduce me to him?  ;D Kidding.

By Russian law, an antique is every piece that is 50 or more years old.

Yes there is a formal procedure for exporting old things out of Russia. I could write it here but some research is needed.
Da, da, Canada; Nyet, nyet, Soviet!

Offline IAmZon

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 06:18:45 AM »
I would love to introduce him to you Lilly! You are very worthy.

But he is happily married and too old for you anyway:)

Thank you very much for your comment.  Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... often one persons "garbage" is another persons treasure.

Do you think the same difficult laws exist in other Eastern European counties?  Ukraine; Estonia; Bulgaria; etc...

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 04:20:33 PM »
Tim,

It is just not the onerous regulations, there is nothing there.

I know antiques, and have actually made some money off of buying and selling them (not much, but some).  One speciality of mine are rugs from the Caucasus.  Russians sometimes hang village pieces on their walls.  I went to rug places and found nothing of artistic interest, just stuff 50 years old with chemical dyes and bad drawings.  And the prices were 2-3 times what I would pay in the US, and that was 4 years ago.

There was never a large middle class in the history of Russia, which would be a source for what you seek. 

There was of course an upper class.  Those pieces are in museums or being returned to Russia at astronomical prices.  A chair sold at Sotheby's for $2,280,000.  A  PAIR OF PORCELAIN VASES (30") from 1825-55 sold for over a $1,000,000 last year at Sotheby's.  A dinner plate of the same era (9") can bring $150,000 or more.

It is happening in China.  Yesterday, a small 3ft. 9in. by 3ft. 8in Ming rug sold on at Sotheby's for $163,000.  Look around, maybe you have one of these in grandma's trunk.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 04:22:54 PM by Gator »

Offline IAmZon

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 05:29:55 PM »
As always ... Gator is a wealth of information. (I still have not developed a position on climate change ...whats yours?)

Nice chair!  I am hard on crystal and fine dinner ware (crash)  - keep that stuff away from me!

OK.  I give up.

Offline SANDRO43

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 06:56:32 PM »
Hey, let's start our own internal, virtual Christie's/Sotheby's, here's my Grandmother's possible contribution:

- Tryptich of 3 silver-framed icons in foldable, travel brass box (8" when fully open), featuring 8 Saints (left panel, legible at top: St. Nicholas, St. Vasili, St. John, St. Alexander), Madonna with Child (central panel, inscription unclear, looks like MPOYICXC, thought it could be Glagolitic but isn't, supposedly Our Lady of Kazan), Resuscitation of Lazar (right panel). Period: late XVIIth-early XVIIIth century (estimate).

Coffee spoon is for size only ;).
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 07:29:27 PM by SANDRO43 »
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Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 11:41:46 PM »
There was never a large middle class in the history of Russia, which would be a source for what you seek.  There was of course an upper class.    

Exactly, this is a reason why the today Russia may be not the best place to look for antiques. The country survived lots of disasters, many people went through extreme hardship, so their family treasures were lost or perished during last 70 years. The number of antique pieces decrease with time. Exile to Siberia did hardly brought many treasures to Siberian cities. At least I have not seen many in the shops when I was living in Siberia.

I did notice many beautiful and famous Russian history names in the phonebook in Siberia, and especially on the name plates in local cemeteries  :(

The rare private antique collectors in the FSU and Russia were rather silent and even well-hidden. This passion was not something that one would made in any way public. People had fear for their precious belongings. Even now when I read interviews with some local pros or auction people, I read this point of view.

I got my passion for antiques from my father, who had a weak spot for old things. He had a few precious pieces, without an own history however, but I cannot reproduce a feeling of holding little antiques in my hands. We don't own many of them, but early in my life I began to understand that it is much more worth to accumulate information and knowledge on antiques rather to own a collection. At least it is safe ... :)

Da, da, Canada; Nyet, nyet, Soviet!

Offline Daveman

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 12:00:45 AM »
A little off topic...

Lily, I want to ask you something somewhat related to antiques in a way... I collect vintage fountain pens.  I'm unsure what the translation would be in Russian, I seem to remember "авторучка" but that's probably not even close (no laughing allowed if I just said something crazy  ;) ) Anyway, these are the pens which must be filled with ink from a bottle.  I'm especially interested in acquiring one or two made in Russia from the Great War period (probably just prior considering pen manufacture would not have been a priority during)...

Do you know of a shop in Moscow where I could find such pens?  Are they considered "historical treasures" which would not be allowed to exit the country?

Thanks,
Dave

The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government. -- Thomas Paine

Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 02:03:56 AM »
Dave,

Always nice to hear on someone's antique passion  8)

I guess the term "авторучка" would be right, but I would specify it as "перьевая авторучка".

Unfortunately I have not heard of any particular shops in Moscow where to get them. It appears to me that it would be a long hunt for such rarities..I would try just the usual antique shops, including those on the Old Arbat in Moscow, because my guesses would be that such pen should not be extremely overpriced. You know, Old Arbat is abundant on antique shops but they boost prices incredibly, being the most popular street among foreign tourists. :)

If I'd be your personal antique hunt outfitter  ;D, I would recommend looking at second hand outlets, classifields, probably online auctions ..Looking in Sankt Pete may be more effective than looking in Moscow.

On historical treasures - as I said, anything 50 yo or older may be considered as such. For more details I have to look up legal database that is in my office.

By the way, would you mind showing pictures of your collection? I am curious  :)
I imagine it may look great when arranged in a separate room dressed like an old time bureau, supplemented with cabinet desk, various little ols paper holders, etc etc etc  :D 8)
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Offline Bruce

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 05:20:52 AM »
Even a fairly new (within 5 years) painting is a lot of paperwork to get out.  Forget about anything old.  Good artists exist in Russia today - and you can get their work out but it is much work.
"A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day."  Emily Dickinson

Offline SANDRO43

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2007, 08:01:00 AM »
Do you know of a shop in Moscow where I could find such pens? Are they considered "historical treasures" which would not be allowed to exit the country?
Here those pens can often be found in open-air flea markets like Fiera di Sinigallia in Milan and Porta Portese in Rome. Any equivalent of London's Portobello in Moscow ?
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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2007, 08:23:29 AM »
Lilly,

You are special because I think it is rare to find a RW interested in antiques.  Almost all perceive them as "used stuff", and do not comprehend any artistic merit, historical significance, or the warmth.


You wrote,
Quote
early in my life I began to understand that it is much more worth to accumulate information and knowledge on antiques rather to own a collection.


That is why we have museums.  There we can see the finest examples of what interests us without the expense of buying (and worse, overpaying or buying a fake).  Just can not touch.

The most fulfilling attitude is to collect and buy antiques that you really enjoy, will cherish, and want to keep forever - as opposed to buying with the idea of making money.  

Collecting esoteric categories, such as Daveman's fountain pens, can be joyful without killing one's budget.  Yet, even in such categories there are some examples that command mind boggling prices.  

A real thrill is to actually discover an important and fine example in a flea market, etc.  One has to turn over a lot of rocks to find these examples, but they are out there.  And the "hunt" is part of the joy, provided you are not frustrated by searching only for the Holy Grail.  

Sandro,

Glorious piece.  I know nothing about religious art; however, your piece seems comparable to numerous examples I saw in museums when touring Italy.

Daveman,

In my walking about Moscow, I have sometimes come across little flea markets.  Forgot where, but the stalls were open air if not a mere blanket on a sidewalk.  Lots of stuff, but nothing I collected.     


Offline Simoni

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2007, 08:32:17 AM »

In my walking about Moscow, I have sometimes come across little flea markets.  Forgot where, but the stalls were open air if not a mere blanket on a sidewalk.  Lots of stuff, but nothing I collected.     

In China, I came upon a family with two blankets, covered with lots of "neat" things.  I bought some at a very inexpensive price.  The real beauty was a beautiful sword.  For only 20 dollars.   

After pondering how to get it home, I went back to buy it, only to discover the police taking the sword and swishing the family away.  My terp told me it was not legal to sell weapons in China.  Don't know if that was true or not, but I was definitely better off not trying to get that sword out of the country!

Tim-- at the airport on that trip I met an American man who was in China buying antiques for his shop.  He told me he travels to China twice a year to make purchases.  I have no idea how he handled it with the government.



Offline SANDRO43

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2007, 09:21:52 AM »
Sandro, Glorious piece.  I know nothing about religious art; however, your piece seems comparable to numerous examples I saw in museums when touring Italy.
A more traditional piece, reportedly a wedding gift to my great grandmother ;).
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Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2007, 09:49:59 AM »

That is why we have museums.  There we can see the finest examples of what interests us without the expense of buying (and worse, overpaying or buying a fake).  Just can not touch.

 

It is a delight to walk in a museum hall with your loved one, draw his attention on things that you have read about when you were a kid, and whisper to him some long forgotten stories .. ;)

 
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Offline SANDRO43

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2007, 10:20:12 AM »
It is a delight to walk in a museum hall with your loved one, draw his attention on things that you have read about when you were a kid, and whisper to him some long forgotten stories ..
What would you whisper in this museum (Volterra) and hall (Torture), looking at this particular exhibit?

"Darling, we REALLY must get new mattresses" ;D?
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Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2007, 10:52:11 AM »
 :D

Well, I meant the Russian museums that I visited as a kid, and made lots of reading in my school years.

Looking at this pic I could probably say "what a good quality of wood did they have..'  :)
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Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2007, 11:07:48 PM »
Well, I looked up the rules for transportation of antiques from Russia to abroad...In short, I would not advise buying antiques here.

I copy and paste the information in English from the website  http://rosohrancult.ru

Federal Supervisory Service for Mass Communication and Cultural Heritage Protection Legislation Enforcement
(Rosohrankultura)

The information on rules of export of cultural values from territory of the Russian Federation

According to the current legislation of the Russian Federation in sphere of the state control for export and import of cultural valuables, the export of cultural valuables is carried out on the basis of the permissive document which is made out by Federal Supervisory Service for Mass Communication and Cultural Heritage Protection Legislation Enforcement (Rosohrankultura).
For obtaining such a permit it is necessary for the owner or authorized representative of a cultural value to apply to Rosohrankultura (its territorial departments) and to submit the corresponding application with the following enclosed documents:
a)   the list with the description of cultural values at quantity of items more than two;
b)   3 color photos of each cultural value the size of which should be no less than 8x12 cm (At export of the archival documents, printed editions, philately, numismatics, bonistics and faleristics items the representation of photos is not required);
c)   The certified copies of documents confirming the rights of ownership of cultural values declared to export;
d)   The documents confirming cost of cultural values;
e)   Copies of the identification document or Copies of the documents confirming the fact of registration of the  Organization in order, established by legislation of the Russian Federation
The items declared to export are subject to obligatory state expert appraisal made on a paid basis in accordance with the order established by the Government of the Russian Federation on export and import of cultural values of 27.04.2001.
Rosohrankultura makes a decision on reference of the declared subjects to cultural values, being guided by the List of the cultural values falling under action the law, the approved order of the ministry
In case of the decision on impossibility of export from territory of the Russian Federation of the declared cultural values, this decision is brought to applicants notice in written form in ten-day term.

The following objects can be recognized as cultural values by results of examination:
Objects of art, devotional articles, printed editions, manuscripts, archives, subjects of philately, philumeny, deltiology, numismatics, bonistics, articles of uniform, artistic and historical weapon, technical subjects, equipment, mechanical facilities, ancient awards and medals (except for the State awards), subjects of paleontology and the mineralogy, objects of science interest, and also rare and unique musical instruments.
Export of cultural valuables from territory of the Russian Federation is carried out on the basis of the export certificate for cultural objects of the territory of the Russian Federation in the form approved by the governmental regulation, 27 April 2001, No.322.
The objects created less than 50 years ago, as well as the household stuff irrespective of time of their creation, can be recognized as the objects of cultural interest. For export of these objects the information of standard pattern is made out.
 (The order of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, 07 August 2001, No.844).

For export of the printed goods, stamps, subjects of children's creative work, techniques, souvenirs, coins, the securities, created less than 50 years ago, registration of the allowing documentation it is not required.

The following cultural objects are not a subject to export from the territory of the Russian Federation:
movable objects of historical, artistic, scientific or other cultural value that are claimed as particularly valuable objects of cultural heritage of the nations of the Russian Federation by the law currently in force, regardless of the time of their creation;
movable objects regardless of the time of their creation time, that are protected by the State and entered in security lists and registers in accordance with the legislation system of the Russian Federation;
cultural valuables permanently stored at the State and municipal museums, archives, libraries, other state depositories of cultural values of the Russian Federation. In accordance to the decision of the authorized State bodies the given right can be applied to other museums, archives, libraries;
cultural valuables created more 100 years ago.
(The article 9 of the law of the Russian Federation "on export and import of cultural values", 14 April 1993, No. 4804-1)


For the right of export of cultural values the State Duty is raised:
The tax code of the Russian Federation in edition of the federal law, 02 November, 2004, No.127-ФЗ (the first paragraph of article 333.3, 333.34, 333.35)

cultural values created more 50 years ago - 10 percent from their cost;
cultural values created less 50 years ago - 5 percent from their cost;
paleontology collectibles - 10 percent from their cost;
mineralogy collectibles - 5 percent from their cost.

The calculation of a State Duty for the right to export cultural values (temporary export) is provided by the real market price of the cultural value, which is stated by the person who is applying for its export. In case when the Body of the Government that gives the license to export the cultural values estimates a different value of the commodity, the higher value is taken as a basis of the calculation.
The state duty is calculated by taking into account the total cost of all cultural objects that are exported simultaneously by the same person.


From payment of the state duty are released:
physical persons the authors of cultural values;
officials of consular office or diplomatic representatives, and also the members of their families living together with them who are not the citizens of a host country;
(The article 34 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 18 April, 1963)
(The article 49 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 24 April, 1963)

The state duty is not paid for:
the export of the cultural values which have been obtained on demand from another's illegal possession and returned to the proprietor.
Da, da, Canada; Nyet, nyet, Soviet!

Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2007, 11:25:13 PM »
The Rosokhrankultura also has an interesting resume of their activities for 2006.

That year, they arranged 8 383 certificates for export or temporary export of 108 085 pieces of cultural valables from Russia.
50 pieces of cultural valuables were prohibited to export. (!)

The office has issued 11 350 certificates for 252 352 exported pieces of culture.

The office has made 17 267 451 Rubles in fees for documentation and expertise.
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Offline Lily

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2007, 12:32:08 AM »
Here those pens can often be found in open-air flea markets like Fiera di Sinigallia in Milan and Porta Portese in Rome. Any equivalent of London's Portobello in Moscow ?

One open flea market in Moscow can be found at railway station Mark. The merchandises are exposed right near the railways, as you can see. Sellers are said to be active in petitioning for getting a more safe place to sell their things, 4000 signatures have been gathered under the petition. On the other hand, the prefect office is said to act according to legal rules. Reportedly, no person has initially applied for organization of this market. It looks like no one wanted to declare responsibility for its functioning. 

« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 12:43:13 AM by Lily »
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Offline Shadow

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2007, 05:16:06 AM »
On the note of exporting antiques from Russia I remember that when I took my fiancee to the Netherlands, the customs wanted her to open the suitcase. They suspected that the big square thing they saw on the x-ray could be an icon.
Actually it was a cooking book.  :D
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Offline Daveman

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RE: Antiques in Russia
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2007, 02:19:09 PM »


By the way, would you mind showing pictures of your collection? I am curious  :)
I imagine it may look great when arranged in a separate room dressed like an old time bureau, supplemented with cabinet desk, various little ols paper holders, etc etc etc  :D 8)

Thanks for the info Lily, and I'd be happy to share some photos with you.  Give me a day or two to shoot a few and you can see the historical trends of American Pen Manufacturing from about 1910 through the 1960's.   ;)  For me it's an interesting and fun hobby. I like anything with history and with pens, it's easy to imagine questions like - whose hands have touched them? what was written? Secret wartime information? Mob instructions during alcohol prohibition? Love letters from wives to soldiers?  If these pens could only talk, what stories they could tell... plus, all of mine have been restored to superb writing condition so you can fill them with ink and share a similar moment with strangers from a bygone era.   

Sandro, I'll have to hit one of those Italian markets.. I adore your native Aurora pens, especially the 88's from the 50's and I still crave one of the new "Nobile" special edition safety models.  One of the few modern pens I'm after. I also have a modern 88 which is a smooth writing instrument.  I own several Montblancs, Pelikans, Watermans, etc, but I have to say, the best performing pens from the modern European lots are without question those of Italian origin, and the Aurora's are about the best of the best IMO.

Gator, you mean you saw NOTHING there you collect? Not even one of those little wooden women, inside the other wooden woman, inside the other wooden woman.. heh... as a lifetime guitarist, I wanted to pick up a traditional Balalaika but was quickly informed that removing it from the country would be nearly impossible (which makes me wonder about the pens).

Dave
The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government. -- Thomas Paine

 

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