TORGSIN (TRADE WITH FOREIGNERS)
Acceptance and evaluation of precious metals
When receiving precious metals, the whole objects having some antique and artistic value often come across. These objects should be delivered to State Bank as a whole.
What antiques are mainly caught?
The following items come across among gold articles: old-time snuff boxes — round ones with hammered ornaments, of two-coloured or four-coloured gold sometimes, decorated with enamel, with portraits, landscapes or scenes painted on enamel, with inserted miniatures painted in ivory, with mounted stones or gems, carved on agate, carnelian, coral etc., with mosaics, stones and so on. Such snuff boxes may have 72nd, 56th and 36th hallmark.
Snuff boxes, cigarette cases, boxes of Fabergé or Bolin make with or without enamel in case of object complete good condition.
(There are manufacturer's stamps of these firms on Fabergé & Bolin branded articles with a depiction of the former Russian State Emblem — a double-headed eagle above the mark.)
Toilet articles, powder boxes and scent bottles as well as various dressing-cases, holders for pins and needles both old ones as well as of Fabergé & Bolin make.
Various articles made of stones decorated with gold: rock crystal, nephrite, malachite, azure stone, rhodonite, jasper, agate, carnelian, amber, coral, etc. both old-time and highly-artistic works of Fabergé & Bolin.
Antique ladies' jewelry: diadems, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, brooches, earrings, rings with small diamonds, roses, emeralds, rubies, with stones, gems, with Ural stones, with turquoise, etc. before the era of 1870s as well as of Fabergé & Bolin make.
Old-time man's watch and lady's pocket watch with gold covers, with the same old-time mechanism only, in the form of bulbs or duplex. Vintage watches may be contained in one or more boxes. Watch box or case should be decorated with hammered ornamental pattern either enamel or figures or scenes painted on enamel or hammered ornament of two-, three- or four-coloured gold or inserted diamonds, roses, pearls and other stones.
Clock may have chimes and may be actuated by figures on gold dial sometimes. Clock with chimes without ornaments on the cases should not be preserved.
Suspended clock in the form of a basket, medallion, mandolin, berries, etc. decorated with enamel must also be preserved as a whole.
Ladies' watches, bracelets should only be taken from clock watches of pre-revolutionary work upon condition of their safety.
Gold objects from burial excavations, cast, forged and hammered woman's jewelry, bracelets, rings, earrings, etc. may occur among the objects taken on the South (Northern Caucasus,
Such objects should be treated with particular attention, making resort to expert
evaluation of local museum specialists wherever possible. Crimea, Ukraine
It is necessary to keep gold baptismal crosses, with and without chains, small sized ones, of the XVII century and older, hammered or decorated with enamel, diamonds, roses, rubies and other precious stones.
Any gold objects belonged to Members of the Imperial Family or Grand Ducal Family and presented by them to different persons. Such objects must either have relevant engraved inscriptions either Imperial or Grand Ducal crown with a monogram under it or the coat of arms of the former Russian Empire in the form of a two-headed eagle, or inserted portraits of Members of the Imperial Family.
When receiving gold, it should be noted that the above named objects up to the XVIII century inclusive are generally made of pure gold either of 84th or 72nd hallmark or of 36th hallmark and of 56th hallmark once in a while. Objects of 72nd, 56th and 418th or of 36th hallmark may be classified among the articles of the XIX century.
Receiving clerks, assayers who have revealed a valuable antique item and taken appropriate measures for ensuring its safety are to be rewarded by the Board of All-Union Association "Torgsin."
Regarding antique silver, it should be noted as follows: when accepting silver, the objects made before the end of the XVIII century, inclusive, such as: bowls, mugs, cups, wineglasses, rouses, cups, drinking glasses, boxes, figures of people, birds, animals, vases, tureens, candlesticks, plates, dishes, tea sets, coffee pots, teapots, sugar bowls, milk jugs, trays, etc. should not be broken.
All of the above-mentioned items must be hammered or engraved: if smooth, these objects should have an ornamental pattern like a band, small edging, heads or figures; handles are shaped like paws of animals, birds, etc. There is often a small edging of fire soldering, engraved coat of arms, and so on. All of this points to antiquity of objects.
Most of these objects have a mark (not a hallmark) in the form of foreign or Russian letters or craftsman’s signature.
The letter with a crown and without a crown or a sign: bunch of grapes, cross, church, etc., one key, shapes and heads of people, animals, birds and other images are of frequent occurrence. The aforesaid things, as well as low assay (Oriental) objects should not be withdrawn.
Small items manufactured before the year 1880: small trays (weighted up to
1,000 g), tea sets, coffee pots, teapots, sugar
bowls, milk jugs, salt shakers, cannikins, cups of Empire, Rococo style or of niello
work should be withdrawn separately from the things of the XIX century. Spoons
should be withdrawn only if there are at least 6 pieces, with ornamental
pattern of Empire style or of niello work.
Russian objects of the XIX century should have 84th or 72nd hallmark; year with a hallmark and without it, with the marks 800—880 are present on the objects. Big things of the XIX century such as: vases, tureens, trays, candelabra should not be withdrawn.
Things of the XIX century must be in a good state of preservation and not very massive.
Things of exceptionally good work of Fabergé, Khlebnikov, Ovchinnikov firm and others; all the small things of graceful form like vases, bowls, stoops, ashtrays, items of ladies' toilet, items of desk — watches, frames, figurines and other objects of a rare form with coins or enamel should be kept from the items of work of the late XIX & XX centuries. Even dinner ware and tea silver of Fabergé hammered work should not be withdrawn. Particular attention should be paid to Russian gilded silver of the above-mentioned firms with multicolored enamel a la russe, and white (wickered) filigree silver.
Particular attention should be paid to silver formerly owned by Russian Tsars (mainly Fabergé objects) up to and including Nicholas II, Grand Dukes and their families. Double-headed eagle or owners’ monograms under the crowns must be on such things. Objects presented to anyone by Tsars, Tsarinas and Grand Dukes at one time are subject to withdrawal as well. Things with earlship either ducal coats of arms or crowns must not be withdrawn.
Silver objects of Jewish cult before 1870 should be withdrawn. If these things have a parchment or other additions then, not breaking the same, proper weight discount shall be given for these additions. The above-mentioned objects must be in good condition.
Objects of niello silver, cigarette cases, snuff boxes, matchbox holders, etc. and especially Veliky Ustyug and
objects, as well
as items of Caucasian silver, such as: belts, daggers, cavalry swords, etc. are
subject to withdrawal. Vologda
It is necessary to pay attention to pre-war items of ladies' toilet such as diadems, belts, brooches, earrings, rings, both with real stones and glass bone, mosaic and suchlike Caucasus, Volga objects with the exception of Mordovian or
All mentioned things should be taken in such a form as they are. If steel, wood, bone objects in the form of handles are joined to the abovementioned then such objects should not be broken out but approximate discount should be given for weight of these articles.
Receiving clerk should be awarded a bonus for the above-mentioned work. 10 rubles bonus in soviet currency for gathering gold in “util” (scrap) per
1 g of pure metal and 10
kopecks in soviet currency for collection of silver per 1 g of silver of 84th hallmark.
Guide for Torgsin consignment stores
Vneshtorgizdat, 1933. 62 p. Leningrad