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General And Slightly Off Topic Talk Forum for exchanging ideas and talking about general issues without straying too far off topic.

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Old 02-25-2003, 05:52 AM   #11
alanirvine
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Ukraine

I am planning a July trip to the Ukraine (Kiev and Odessa).

Does anyone know of a good source of Soviet awards that I might be able to visit while there? Flea market, dealers, etc.?

The dates are a little flexable yet. Also is there an inexpensive way to get there?

Thank you,

Alanirvine
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Old 02-25-2003, 09:39 AM   #12
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Alan,

In Kiev, the best option is in the piazza/fountain square near the main post office on Khreshaytix Blvd. (the main street of Kiev). This is a large area where vendors place their wares on the benches for those interested. This is a very touristy area, so bargain hard and ask to see the things the sellers keep out of plain view.

There is also a street near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and the British Embassy if memory serves) that winds downhill past a smaller cathedral that has a lot more venders. The street is quite steep and cobblestoned but lined with artisans and trinket salesmen, including litterally a half dozen carts of Soviet medals/orders/uniforms, etc.

In Odessa there are three places:

1) in the main park in the old city. Across and down the street from McDonalds on the main street of the old city is a small park lined with tables of matrioska dolls, flasks and artwork. A bit deeper into the park are some badges/medals/coins.

2) On the Potemkin steps leading to the Harbor. There are a couple of guys selling things along the sides of the steps.

3) Odessa has a collectioneers club that meets every Sunday morning in the Green Theater (outdoor) in Shevchenko park. If they are not there due to poor weather, they meet on the first floor in a bar across the street from that park entrance. Ask anyone around and they should know about it. There is a minimal entrance fee. In the theater, badges and medals are to the left as you enter, stamps and postcards, telephone cards, etc. to the right.

Be forewarned--all of these guys, club included, know the value of their pieces, and are in the business to take advantage of the tourist. Also, Ukraine customs is the most difficult in the whole region (Belarus included). They will go through your bags just for the fun of it and confiscate everything they see or worse. I have flown into Ukraine via Kiev (both airports) and Odessa and the treatment is the same throughout. You might want to focus on paper items...

Also, in Odessa, there is also a very large outdoor market. There are actually two--one near the train station which you don't want, and another that is even larger, extending for several square blocks where you can find some things laid out on the blankets. This area is where the locals come to sell their items for bread money; so items are less high end, used, and less expensive. It is still interesting though, particularly if you are interested in things like records, toys and soviet books/journals. I bought some gasmasks, soviet army equipment toys, and some stamp catalogs in my searching one day. Bring small bills, be prepared to bend down in traffic, and watch you money and your bag in this heavily travelled area. I would exchange money elsewhere for safety reasons--its safe enough, just lots of people.

Last edited by CtahhR; 01-27-2014 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 02-26-2003, 10:25 AM   #13
alanirvine
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ukraine

Thanks for the information.

I am going back to vist inlaws, but plan to spend a great deal of time in the never ending search for that great deal!

I know about Ukrainian customs. I had about 15 medals/oders confiscated the last time I was there. I gave them such a bad time I had visons of me going to jail. Judging by the condition they kept the terminal at the Odessa airport, I was in no hurry to see the Odessa Jail.

Alanirvine

Last edited by alanirvine; 02-26-2003 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 02-26-2003, 02:37 PM   #14
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Odessa was the place where they just opened and went through my bag like I wasn't standing there--they didn't ask questions, just opened and ruffled. I had to fight to get some Lenin Head pins and unofficial CP medals through. The Sr. Lieutenant who spoke some English passed my to a major who eventually said, "I dont want to create an international incident" and let me pass after much arguing between us in Russian.
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Old 02-26-2003, 07:18 PM   #15
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I had all the medals in one plastic bag and it showed up on the x-ray machine.

At first they let me pass through after they examined the medals to make sure it wasn't a bomb.

When I went through customs where they asked me if I was bringing anything back with me, stupid me, I said oh yes, I was bringing medals back with me. Within a minute there were 6 customs agents trying them on saying that they should belong in a museum. What a joke. I think that I paid a total of $300.00 or so for the lot. They weren't going to let me have them. Looking back, I think that if I offered them some momey they would have let me through. I had visions of going to jail though.

In Moscow, I got about 10 medals through by putting them in my checkin bags and dispursing them throughout in a vertical position so they would show a small profile to the xray machine. No problems.

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Old 02-26-2003, 09:54 PM   #16
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customs

<>

I also put about 30 medals in a similar position in my parent's bags after they had come for a visit while I was living in Moscow. Unfortunately, the x-ray machine caught one of them that had fallen over, and it was done for... They tore apart my folks bags right there in the airport, and confiscated every medal that was there! The funny thing was that I had some WW2 general's uniforms in one of the bags and they didn't even give them a second look... it was the medals they were after!

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Old 02-26-2003, 10:01 PM   #17
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Their lack of interest was very strange with respect to the general's uniforms with the gold wire and all! Actually, in Moldova, Soviet uniforms were still on the list of un-exportables (you get my meaning). Apparently, the ministry of defence had deemed the soviet unis of "secondary value", meaning if all of Moldova's uniforms were suddenly lost in a fire or other similar catastrophe, then the regs allowed the Moldovan military/MVD to legally dust off and wear their soviet uniforms temporarily....
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Old 02-28-2003, 10:22 AM   #18
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You guys are crazy for even thinking of trying to smuggle the awards out of Russia and other former SU republics!

There are several reasons I would never attempted to do so:

1) As you may all know, it's against the law to try export from the country anything that's over 50 yrs old. I am not sure, but I think the cases like are treated as criminal offence, meaning that you may be facing severe troubles if cought.

2) If you buy from the places some of you mentioned in Kiev - you would be paying hefty premiums for common awards (last time I was in Kiev - they asked $600 for a common Lenin. The place was on the Andreyevskiy Spusk - "the little street going downhill with the church on the side". It's tourist oriented market and they ask top dollars for common junk.).

3) Prices for the rare awards in FSU are almost as high as here in the US, so you'd be economically better off if you find some sellers here.

4) The fakes market is flourishing over there, and you have to rely on your expertize only, with no one to assist you (like McDaniel or other collectors).

My advise is that you won't save anything by attempting to smuggle awards from the former SU republics.

Do yourself a favor, find some deals here - even if you pay a bit of premium - it's well worth it, it will save you embarrasment at the customs, as well as substantial amount of $$$$$ that could be used for the better uses.

On the other hand - if you decide to ignore my advise and choose to look for some awards in Kiev - go to the places other than Khrechatik Street or Andreyevskiy Spusk.

On the left bank of the Dnieper, there's park called Victory Park (they may have changed the name recently, you'll have to double check). Over there there's an exhibition/performance center where coins/awards collectors gather on the weekends.

But again, be extremely careful over there. As soosn as the locals spot a foreigner with the $$$$ - you may be a subject of a scam or even a robbery.

Best,

William

Last edited by CtahhR; 01-27-2014 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-28-2003, 11:50 AM   #19
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I think the golden times (hell times for russians) has gone away, and you can't find nice pieces (the exception is by the way of guys specialy doing researches all over the country for big dealers all over the country)
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Old 02-28-2003, 12:10 PM   #20
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rule 1..

I have been dealing in higher end soviet items for about 6 years and have been over there 3 times in the past 5 years. I deal with people who know how to get stuff out, so I NEVER carry stuff out on my omy person, not even order copies. The hassle is just too much. I was with a friend this past year and he got stopped in every airport we went into simply because he has a copy Lenin and a copy Kutz2 in his bag. They lit up the machines and the guys know what to look for. We were able to convince each inspector that they were fake, and he got them out. However, he could have gotten them over here for a few bucks more. There are no great bargains (the prices in Kiev and Moscow were just as high as over here, and they had lots of copies) over there, so prices are not going to be a factor in most cases. The only reason to do it is if you see something over there that you can't get here. I have done that with high end uniforms and flags but I can't see doing it unless you collect maybe 1920's repubic awards or something. In that case, like with high end uniforms and such, you need to know who to ask as they won't openly display the stuff.

I have to wait about 2 months for my uniforms to come over, but they pretty much always do. Only once was a load lost, on land, leaving Ukraine.

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