Ancient Byzantine
Icons for Sale
This page is an extension of the
Medieval Byzantine Icons page.

For the Collector : Over 1000 ancient byzantine icons for sale.

The owners of several establishments listed on this page not only love icons but they also have gone to great lengths to acquire considerable knowledge about them. For example, some are accomplished Iconographers, while others studied Slavic Languages or Theology. Although this in itself is no guarantee against fraud, their knowledge and love for icons is a good safeguard to ensure that the icons are what they are claimed to be. When the owners or representatives are mainly traders or investors, one may not have the same level of assurance and comfort. Nothing, however, beats doing your own homework.
     Lazar Brkich, for example, has some advice for collectors. In an article Understanding Russian Icons, he summarizes a few basic points one must always keep in mind. Here is an article on Acquiring Orthodox Icons by John Hall. Also interesting to read are Church Treasures in Cyprus , Looting in Cyprus , and others in Special Reports (all three links are on the same page). They shed light on art theft on a gigantic scale.

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Copyright © 2002-2006 P.W. de Ruyter      Number of Establishments : 28      Updated : 30 April 2007

Mother of God of Feodorov
Russian icon, 17th c.
Russian Icon Gallery

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Russian Icon Gallery (Tallinn)
Collectors for over 30 years. Icons for sale are well presented, online, fully detailed. They mostly are from the 18th & 19th centuries. Click on icons, next on gallery, then select category.
==> 382 icons (category 'icon editions' only)

Russian Icons from George Serebryakoff (Tallinn). Contact: Konstantin or Juri Manuilov | > click 'Icons'
E-mail: | |


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Art-Russian (Helsinki) ==> Approx. 60 icons
Not all icons seem to be ancient. It could well be that several of them are contemporary icons. One will need to contact the Seller to find out.


Christ Emmanuel
Greece, 17th c., 80x47 cm
Galerie Manic, Paris
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Galerie MANIC (Paris)
Housed in the Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris, Galerie MANIC have been supplying selected icons, mostly of the 15th-19th centuries, from Russia, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria for the last 25 years. In addition MANIC are appraisers and restoration experts.
Galerie MANIC ==> 20 icons.


Mother of God Joy of All Who Suffer. Palekh, ca. 1800
Ikonen Galerie H.R. Schmied
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Antikhof Neuenstein (Neuenstein)
==> 14 icons with good descriptions

Brenske Gallery (Hannover) ==> 70 icons

Icon Gallery Maria Rutz (Düsseldorf)
Restoration, evaluation and sale of icons ==> 45 icons

Ikonen Galerie Horst R. Schmied (Bad Griesbach)
Restoration and sale of icons
==> 50 icons on wood ; 18 bronze icons

Ikonen Galerie Dr. Michael Ewenstein (Berlin - Grunewald)
Old Russian Icons ==> 24 icons


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Carlo Teardo Antiquario (Milan) ==> 40-50 icons


Mother of God of Tikhvin, mid-19th c., Antique Shop Sancta
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The Religious Antique Shop Sancta (Lithuania) ==> approx. 100 icons
     Update of 12 February 2003 with different old icons ==> 40 icons



The Dormition
Russian icon, 17th c.
Jan Morsink Ikonen

Mother of God Volokolomskaia
Russian, 17th c.
Drs. Ingrid Zoetmulder
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Antique Art Dealers - HWC Dullaert. Mr. Dullaert (Amsterdam) ==> about 35 icons

Icon-Atelier Hüsstege. Geert Hüsstege (Leimuiden - 10 min. from Schiphol)
Restoration and sale of [mostly Russian] icons from the 17th to the 19th century. With Mr. Geert Hüsstege being a talented iconographer, the Icon-Atelier also sells contemporary icons. See the page Contemporary Byzantine Icons .
Icon-Atelier Hüsstege ==> 37 icons

Icons and Bronzes for Sale. A. Jacobs (Eindhoven) ==> 14 icons
Top of Page ==> 2 icons

Jan Morsink Ikonen. Simon Morsink, Hugo Morsink. (Amsterdam)
Jan Morsink Ikonen specialize in the sale and purchase of Russian and Greek icons, and do expert evaluation and restoration. They exhibit at major national and international art fairs.
        Icons from the world renowned workshops of Novgorod, Moscow and Palech form a permanent part of their collection.
Twice a year, in February and October, they exhibit new acquisitions.
==> 30+ icons for sale dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
Excellent images, beautiful site !

Milatz Ikonen (Heerhugowaard) ==> about 40 icons

Old Russian Icons & Icons for Sale. Ingrid Zoetmulder. (Delft) ==> 72 icons

Tóth Ikonen. Ferenc Tóth (Amsterdam) ==> 10 icons for sale


Mother of God "Hope of the lost" ('Vzuiskanie Pogibshikh')
This very rare type was known in Russia in the 18th century though the origin may be older,
19th c.
The Temple Gallery
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Iconastas - Russian Art (London) ==> many icons with or without metal riza

Icon-Rus : Guaranteed Authentic Russian icons (17th -19th c.)  New!    Irena Smirnova
     Icon-Rus are valuers, restorers, purchasers and sellers of Russian icons. The Gallery has its roots in an appreciation of the support and comfort that icons have given ordinary people throughout Russia's turbulent history. A spiritual strength that combined with their intrinsic beauty have made icons an oasis of peace and contemplation that is beneficial to all mankind.
     Established in the U.K., the Gallery has its own studio where icons are sensitively restored using traditional techniques studied at The Ekaterinburg College of Art, Russia. Staff are members of the British Association of Iconographers. Icon-Rus offers an extraordinary 30-day Return Policy and 12-month Buy-back Policy.

Sothebys (London)
1994 Catalogue : Icons, Russian Paintings, and Works of Art

The Temple Gallery (London)
Specialists in Russian Icons. Richard Temple
==> New site with a great number of images, and equipped with a search utility.
The icon shown to the left , of the Mother of God "Hope of the lost" ('Vzuiskanie Pogibshikh'), is related to the story of a monk damned in Hell being rescued through the intercession of the Virgin.

Virgin of Vladimir
Russian icon 18th c.

Mother of God of Kazan
19th c.
Click image to enlarge.

Mother of God
She who shows the Way
(Greek : Hodegetria)
Russian, undated. Andre Ruzhnikov Russian Art

Mother of God
Joy of All Who Sorrow
Russian, undated
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Andre Ruzhnikov Russian Art (California)
Collection features a large choice of the highest quality Russian icons ranging from the 15th through the early 20th century. ==> 122 beautiful icon images

Gary-Donald Arts (inaccessable site)
==> 23 icons on wood panel ; also metal clad icons

Icons For Sale. Audrius Tomonis (USA) ==> 20+ icons
(Icons are provided by a contact in Lithuania)

Jackson's Auction. James Jackson
(Cedar Falls, Iowa, phone: 319-277-2256)
Jackson's Auctioneers & Appraisers is a large enterprise. They auction many different items. Icons are offered for bidding in auctions approximately four times a year as part of Fine Art and Antique auctions or Collector’s Choice auctions. The next auction of this type will be held on November 22nd and 23rd of this year. Catalogs will be available for purchase approximately one month prior to the auction date and it will be posted on-line one week before the auction.
     To view some icons that have been offered for bidding in past auctions, you can enter 'icons' in a search box of past catalogs.
     James Jackson, owner of Jackson's Auction, also is the founder of The Sacred Art Exhibition / Gallery . You can click that link to see the gallery or you can first read a few lines about the James and Tatiana Jackson Collection & Gallery on the Medieval Byzantine Icons page and then view the gallery from there. Dmitry Alexandrov (Chicago)
Very good presentation
==> 5 icons among 126 items ==> 40-60 icons

Russian Art (New Jersey) ==> 25-30 icons


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Understanding Russian Icons
By Lazar Brkich

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is reprinted without illustrations from LORE magazine, a benefit of museum membership. © 1996 Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc.

ICONS EXPLAINED.COM NOTE: This article is reprinted by Icons - Courtesy Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc. 13 September 2006.

In old Russia nearly every phase of life was colored by religion. Every day in the calendar was dedicated to the observation of some saint. Every individual and every trade had their patron saints. A distinctly Russian form of representing saints and religious themes is the icon. Painted on wood, icons are known to the Russians as "obraz", but we know them better by the term icon, which comes from the Greek word for picture or likeness, "eikonoi". The painting of icons is the most distinctive art form of old Russia, and Russian icons are the most varied and beautiful of all.

Until recently, there was not much interest in icons. Even in Russia, where they were common, icons were taken for granted. But today old Russian icons are recognized as works of art by art historians and collectors alike.

Collectors of icons should remember that the best and most valuable icons are to be found in Soviet and European museums. A great many, of course, have found their way to America and private collectors. From time to time, early and rare icons are offered for sale by prestigious auction galleries and normally bring very high prices. Also, icons a century or two old are still found occasionally in some better known antique shops. But the majority of icons offered today are often of inferior quality. The collector must be careful because a number of known fakes turn up in the market now and then. When purchasing an icon it is best to enlist help from a reputable expert.

In buying an icon there are a few basic points one must always keep in mind. The value of an icon depends only partially on age. Of undeniable importance, however, is the material of which an icon is made, the quality of workmanship, and its overall condition. One must take into consideration the design, color range and aesthetic effect of the icon. The most valuable icons are without exception those painted on wood panels following traditional, aesthetic and proscribed requirements. Mechanically produced icons are generally of inferior quality, regardless of their sometimes valuable metallic coverings. Icon collecting is both challenging and rewarding, but the search for a bargain in this field demands caution and at least a basic knowledge of icon art and its value.

Icon painting in Russia, as elsewhere, has followed traditional canons. As a consequence, icons can be so like one another that at times it is scarcely possible to distinguish between them. This is why icons representing the same subject, although they were painted centuries apart, can be so similar. One must keep in mind that the forms of the Russian icon remain unchanged through the centuries.

Icons are naturally divided according to subject into two main groups; painted icons which simply depict holy personages and icons which depict scenes from the Scriptures or events from the lives of the saints. Icons from the latter category serve a didactic purpose. They have served, so to say, as an attractive and effective teaching tool. On the other hand, icons which represent individual saints have been the object of veneration.

In Russian iconography, literally hundreds of themes have been represented. Images of Christ are numerous, with the type known as 'The Saviour Not Made by Hands' being perhaps the most popular of the Christ representations in old Russia. There are also other representations of Christ including depictions of the events of his life.

The enormous and varied iconography of the Virgin is even more impressive. There are no less than three hundred types, all different. In the Milwaukee Public Museum collection, some better known icons of the Virgin are: 'The Virgin of Vladimir', sometimes referred to as 'the most ancient hymn to motherhood', 'The Virgin of Tykvin', 'The Virgin of Kazan' and 'The Virgin of Shuja'. This profusion of types if also evident in the depiction of the most popular saint of old Russia, St. Nicholas of Myra.

The Festivals of the Church was another theme popular with icon painters. Icons of this type were used in sets consisting of twelve or sixteen scenes from the Scriptures. Furthermore, old native Russian saints and numerous icons have preserved their images, including events from their lives.

The old Russian icons in the museum's collection are not uniform in quality, all the more so because they were created at various times and in different icon painting centers. The collection includes a number of masterfully executed miniature icons and a few fairly good examples of icons made of materials other than tempera on wood and by varied techniques. Most of the icons in the collection belong to the nineteenth century, although one dates from the 18th century, and several were made in this century.

The Virgin of Shuja in the museum's collection is an excellent example of a tempera on wood. This icon was painted on a wood panel. In order to prevent warping, diagonal strips of wood were applied on the back. The edges of the panel rise above the picture space from the frame. The colors were mixed with egg yolk and diluted with kvas, a popular Russian drink made from sour bread. The completed painting was given a coat of a special varnish. This varnish at first enhanced the colors, but turned dark and opaque later, producing the contrary effect. The metal frame and halo, in the form of a crown, were added much later. Other icons in our collection such as the four small icons of the Evangelists and the four Parable icons, as well as others, were produced in the same manner. The small icons were produced in the same manner and display a wonderful precision of execution.

In addition to icons painted on wood, there are a number of icons and religious objects made of metal. Most of these icons date from the 19th century but a few in our collection are much older. The design is engraved on the metal or the background cut away to leave the figures in relief and then perhaps filled in with white or blue enamel. There is a great variety of these icons including typical Russian crosses made in the same manner.

A 17th century metal icon mold might continue to be used well into the 20th century. A very attractive brass quaditych, for example, was cast from an old mold in Belgium in the 1950's. This is not unusual. Many modern copies have been made in the old style and sold to unsuspecting people in Russia and Europe. These small brass icons sometimes consist of a single panel, of two or three panels hinged in the form of triptych or occasionally even a larger number of panels. They were carried by individuals for private worship.

In a further departure from classic icons, the 19th century brought many changes. It was a period of decline, commercialism and mechanical reproduction. A number of icon handcraft shops were established in which cheap metal icons were produced. Icons were printed in color on time and became very popular.

In another development, enterprising craftsmen took advantage of technical innovations and made metal coverings in factories. These metal coverings, or "riza", were originally applied to icons toward the end of the 17th century. Intended only as a partial covering of silver, gold, or cheaper metal, the riza covers the entire painting except faces, hands and feet. Later craftsmen, however, no longer bother to paint the entire panel of the icon but only those parts of the figures which were to remain visible. Although these coverings were sometimes made of precious metals, the icon underneath is incomplete and virtually worthless, unlike the icons of earlier times. Unfortunately, cast metal and other mechanically produced icons constitute a large part of the icon market today. In the case of icons covered with the riza, one must check to make sure that there is an entire painting underneath, as opposed to merely a face, hands and feet.

However, it would be wrong to conclude that icons of great charm and value were not produced in the recent past. A number of craftsmen still continued to produce more expensive icons and preserved the integrity of icon painting. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century there were attempts to revive icon art on a larger scale. This attempt, despite the production of a number of fine icons, had only limited success. The museum has several fine icons from this period of revival. In particular, the saints depicted on one icon represent the Romanov Royal family: Nicholas, Alexandra, Alexei, Maria, Anastasia, Tatjana and Olga.

The 1917 Revolution in Russia brought a halt to the production of icons. The icon painters who had previously been engaged in icon art now turned their energies and skills to the production of boxes and other objects made of papier-mache. These objects are universally recognized for their fine quality and artistic appeal. In that craft the old tradition still lives on. Instead of images of Christ, the Virgin and Saints, ancient legends and folk tales make up the themes of many miniatures. Other themes depict the history of the country and the exploits of the revolutionary leaders and heroes. The figures depicted on those objects are as graceful as in the earlier icons, lacking only the halos and that unworldly look so unique to icons.

The icon has returned to the Russian home, too. Many Russians lately have become avid collectors of old icons. As a matter of fact, icons are in great demand the world over, not necessarily as religious objects but for their intrinsic artistic and historical value.

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