“Gelos” – Rare Book Auctions in Russia
By Alena Lavrenova
Gelos was established in Moscow in 1988 and is renowned for being the leading Fine Art and Antiques auction house throughout Russia and the countries of former USSR.
Gelos is interested mostly in Russian art. There’re nine departments currently running in Gelos: Books and Manuscripts, Photography, 19th and 20th Century Art, Decorative Art and Jewellery, Silver and Porcelain, Russian Icons, Fine Coins and Numismatics, Arms, Armour and Militaria, Fine Wines. Auctions are taking place every Friday.
There are three types of big auctions for finer and rarer items: Auction of the Month, Auction of the Season and Auction of the Year. The ‘Auction of the Month’ is held every last Friday of the month, the ‘Auction of the Season’ every last Saturday of three months. At the end of winter the ‘Auction of the Year’ is taking place – the best items are collected for this auction during the year. There are also special book auctions, and numismatic auctions every month.
Gelos has two branches – in Saint-Petersburg and in Paris. For every big auction these branches provide a wide range of antique goods, predominantly Russian items or items that can be described as ‘Russian interest’. The auction house has a good system of online-bidding, placing a bid via web as well as the practice of telephone bidding on every auction.
The Antiques Art Examination Institute also belongs to Gelos. It’s an educational institution for vocational training in the antiques business.
The Book and Manuscripts department is working with antique postcards, stamps, documents, autographs, old posters, prints, lithographs and geographical maps as well as rare and fine books. The following books are the most popular now on the Russian antiquarian book market: books belonging to the first years of printing in Russia and books of the first half of 18th century, Russian classic writers’ first editions, fine copies of spectacular books of the late 19th century, Russian avantgarde and related forms of book art.
Foreign books have less demand among Russian buyers though books about Russia are interesting for Russian dealers and collectors as well, even if they are not printed in Russia.
The most significant sales during the last few years on Gelos include the Ivan Fyodoroff’s Bible [Ostrozhskaya Biblia] – the first Bible ever printed in Russia was sold for 850.000 roubles [$ 28.300] in March 2008. Pushkin’s first full edition of ‘Eugeniy Onegin’ was sold for 1.500.000 roubles [$ 50.000]. The very fine autographed book by Sergey Esenin with a previously unknown piece of verse of the Russian poet was sold for 220.000 roubles [$ 7000].
We can say that the majority of the most interesting and valuable Russian books and related items were displayed on Gelos auctions during the last 23 years.
Special Book Auction’s Schedule 2011
28th January – Book Auction of the Month
24th February – Book Auction of the Year
25th March - Book Auction of the Month
29th April - Book Auction of the Month
28th May - Book Auction of the Season
24th June - Book Auction of the Month
29th July - Book Auction of the Month
26th August - Book Auction of the Month
1st October - Book Auction of the Season
28th October - Book Auction of the Month
26th November - Book Auction of the Season
30th December - Book Auction of the Month
The article is presented on ILAB.org by permission of Alena Lavrenova. Thank you very much.