Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

When in 1993 in the Ukrainian city of Kirovohrad died a pensioner Alexander Borisovich Ilyin, nobody could even imagine that he will be at home to untold riches. Unbelievable, but dwelling an ordinary electrician was filled with works of art and ancient books, the cost of which amounted to millions of dollars.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

Alexander Ilyin was born in 1920 in the Russian city of Rybinsk in the family of a former noblewoman Natalya Rimsky-Korsakov and normal working. Despite the expropriation of family property during the revolution, Alexander's mother was able to save a lot of heirlooms.

Alexander Borisovich Ilyin

The boy's father, though he worked at the plant, his wife was filled with love for beautiful old things and actively participated in the addition to the home collection. Ilyin from childhood grew up surrounded by works of art and as a teenager he started well to understand them.

In 1941, Alexander Ilyin entered the Moscow peat Institute and immediately almost got to the front. But the guy managed to avoid mass mobilization of the first days of the war and get a "white ticket". They say that the exemption from military service Ilyin has paid to the Commissioner of the military enlistment office of rare vintage book, but check it is impossible today.

While peers Alexander was killed at the front, he did not lose in vain time and traveled about, looking for Antiques and works of art. Many people in his time of need gave family heirlooms for a nominal fee or even changed for food.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

One of the mugs wizard of Rawicz

One of the friends of Ilyin, a famous collector, was later told that Alexander boasted, as in liberated from the blockade of Leningrad bartered for a bag of flour a silver tankard by the famous Ukrainian master Ivan ravych. These episodes had hundreds and home-a collection of rarities ilina grew rapidly.

After the war, Ilyin was in the USSR. His family moved to Kyiv, and Alexander himself stayed a long time in Kiev as a restorer. He worked in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra until 1961, while the reconstruction of the monastery did not turn. Then he moved to his parents, along with impressive baggage of the ancient Church books and utensils from the repositories of Orthodox relics.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

The library of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where he saved the books Alexander Ilyin

Family and friends Ilyin said that because he has restored the ancient gospel, the monks gave him a few books. But the bulk of the wealth he inherited at the date of closure of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, when it is cordoned off by soldiers. Then the priests asked Alexander to stand secretly under clothing valuable religious books and items that they are not confiscated.

Ilyin, risking to get under criminal article, a few days plied between Laura and her apartment without arousing anyone's suspicions. No one could imagine that the average restorer makes the under coat priceless treasures. Needless to say that a lot of the saved "stuck" to the hands of Alexander and to show him the claims of the monks would not have happened.

In the Kirovohrad Alexander Ilyin began to live as an ordinary Soviet working people. He got a job as an electrician in the trust of city cafeterias, where he worked until retirement. Neighbors and colleagues remembered Ilyin as untidy and living extremely poor lonely person, eating in the canteen and went everywhere in the overalls.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

So, simply, ate an underground Soviet millionaire Ilyin

From the fancy "frills", which afford a modest electrician, it is worth mentioning a German motorcycle of the war years. Ilyin had bought it to freely move in Ukraine. Having a certificate of the electrician, he came into the house of Soviet citizens under the pretext of checking of counters, and carefully examined the situation. A trained professional eye to immediately recognize valuable items that Ilyin then, as if casually, asked to sell.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

Many things from the collection ilina exist in a single copy and do not have prices

Alexander Borisovich was able with minimal cost to recover the hopelessly damaged items, surprising the most seasoned antique dealers. They say that to restore one ancient leather binding, Ilyin picked up a piece of leather to the junkyard and still coped with the task perfectly.

With colleagues and clients Ilyin met on neutral territory, so his wealth no one even knew existed. The collector was never married and had illegitimate children. Of the relatives he only had two nephews who had not been able to obtain the inheritance of his uncle.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

Article about the collection Ilyin in "Komsomolskaya Pravda"

One day in the house of ilina came the police, and her Committee of art critics and historians. Seen in the modest home of a pensioner ilina impressed seasoned scientists. The house was just inundated with thousands of valuable books, Church plate, paintings and antique dishes.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

In this homely house kept his collection of Alexander Ilyin

Today many collectors believe that not all things from the collection ilina is at the disposal of the state. The most valuable exhibits, analogues of which had not even the Hermitage, disappeared forever in the apartments and mansions of officials and a large police authorities.

Treasures electrician Ilyina, or How the Soviet collector and overcame the Hermitage

The grave ilina enthusiasts found only in 2016 and on it there is a monument with an unusual epitaph

Today nobody can give an exact value of the treasure electrician Ilyin, as the inventory of his collection does not exist. Call different numbers, from $ 40 million, to a billion, but the truth is no one knows. This is the case even thirty years later, surrounded by a dense veil of secrecy and much speculation and legend.

Keywords: Antiques | Art | Collectors | Millionaire | Monks | Restoration | Treasures of the Hermitage

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