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The article explores the marketing tactics and consumer expectations with regards to icons released in the street markets and provincial cities of Soviet Russia and acquired by American collectors from 1928-1938. These icons, including those from Byzantium in the tenth century, were seen as cultural commodities during the Russian revolution and the subsequent socialist construction. The Soviet apparatus Antikvariat was tasked with appraising the icon collections held by the Gosmuzeifond or the State Museum Reserve for exports.


This article was originally published in Canadian-American Slavic Studies, volume 43, issues 1-4, in 2009.

This article also appears as a chapter in Treasure into Tractors: The Selling of Russia’s Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938 (Washington DC: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 2009), pp. 273-304.

Peer Reviewed






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