National Institute of Independent Expertise founded to root out fakes in Russian art market

The organisation, the brainchild of coin collector Vladimir Kazakov and The East European Auction house, aims to ensure that the provenance of a piece has been checked via an unbiased system


A Russian coin collector has teamed up with a Moscow auction house to create the National Institute of Independent Expertise to authenticate antiques on the Russian market, which is plagued by fakes. The organisation launched last month.

Vladimir Kazakov, a coin collector and now the general director of the institute, tells The Art Newspaper that his organisation is unique because it is creating a “completely new product” for the Russian antiques market, adding that each object will be studied by “three independent experts”.

The institute will use state-of-the art equipment, Kazakov says. It has been funded privately, partly by its co-founder, the East European Antique House, an auction house founded by Sergey Unin earlier this year.

Kazakov says that, until now, collectors have had to rely on experts who can be manipulated, and that Russian museums are not allowed to participate in the authentication process. The institute will start with coins (Kazakov estimates that half of the objects in this market are fake), but plans to expand to other sectors of the antiques market and, possibly, to paintings. He describes this as the market’s “biggest and most scandalous” area.

In Russia, he says, valuable currency-related objects can sell for more than $200,000. Last year, a Russian collector bought a ruble coin of Tsar Ivan VI, which dates to 1740, for SFr3.6m ($3.9m) at Zürich’s Sincona auction house.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'New Russian institute to detect fakes in market'