Excavator with a giant iron weight crushes the walls of the old house and leaves the “battlefield” piles of broken bricks. Trucks carrying this broken bricks to the dump. The mark with double-headed eagle, looking out of the heap of debris…

What’s mismanagement, we sigh: whether the case in Europe, where, as they say, no single brick is lost, everything is in motion. After all the pieces of the old house — also Antiques, besides brick and other materials can be used for restoration.

Well — we can say that in Russia in recent years, there are still a whole industry of “building Antiques”. Brick, if he be leader, and generally old — he, you know, now costs money. So cast iron weights, may soon be only for the concrete five-story building, and really valuable materials already dismantled carefully and stored carefully. The only question: whether it is dangerous a market for historic heritage?

On the border with the Tula area. Abandoned HOMESTEAD across the road from long ago renovated Church. Here to 70-ies of the last century was the school, now 40 years — nothing. Two decades ago the ruins were all boys from the local cottages: picked chocolate brown jagged bricks with double-headed eagles on stamps. “SIDOROV” — or something similar — was listed under eagle. Now I would like to experience the feelings of the pioneers, but not beyond. Not only because “the adults that we are,” but also because the marked bricks in sight yet. However, several dozen stacked in the far corner — gently, at each other and waiting for something.

Is that manor house will be restored?! — happily asked the staff of the Church.

— Yes, it’s one in the village business established: sells vintage brick in Moscow…

Brick — the engine of progress

— to Sell? Easy! — fun meets Alex, who established a small business on the ruins of the manor house, eyeing the make of the car “buyer”. — Two hundred rubles thing! A lot? So it’s not the Soviet times, a brick, a real Royal! Try to find somewhere else! In the district, except me, no you never sell. But it still slipped a fake — you know, where they make them… there is a huge factory.

Competition Alexei in the village there is: he’s the only young man right here, not in Moscow or at a major international food production company in the neighborhood. The ruins of it, of course, wasn’t buying, and enjoys, in his words, abandoned property: any school, not even no country in which this school worked. And landlords who have built not even more so — there will be an heir, let’s talk.

Who owns the manor — or rather, its ruins, is still unclear (fineher default — state: they should soon be put up for auction under the program “a rouble for a meter” as a monument of architecture of Federal value). But there is no fence and security — safety bricks especially nobody cares. So Alex is feeling rather calm. However, how much material he had already managed to sell a small businessman tell me do not agree.

That’s just about the uniqueness of your business he’s wrong: firms that sell antique building materials, has unfolded in a big way. At least in Moscow. “Our company in 2014 deals with the analysis of old buildings and sells antique bricks and tiles from the old brick XVIII–XIX centuries, — told “MK” in one of the firms offering antique building materials. — We have in selling genuine old bricks, made of facade and interior tile flooring. In addition, we do restoration and Assembly works, design and construction, we design projects with visualization, equipment and supervision, build a wine cellar room, cigar room.”

Ancient brick (with the mark) in fact is not the subject of Antiques because its production quantities do not allow to speak about its uniqueness, — told “MK” a collector of old bricks Vladimir Smirnov. Is no more (but no less!) than a physical Testament to a bygone era. The average brick plant in St. Petersburg produced several million bricks a year and employed about 5-7 years. Thus, the differences in rarity of the bricks themselves are either in a very short period of plant operation (few surviving copies), or in the locality of the distribution of marks (a small artisanal production within a parish) or in special short-run stamps, specially used for promotional and exhibition purposes.

Vladimir Smirnov, by the way, I started to collect bricks in 2007 when, as a historian, faced with bricks, klejmenie “G. L.” on the Karelian isthmus, at the place of destroyed pre-revolutionary dacha. By doing research, he found that the bricks produced in plant count Levashov Dibuny.

I was surprised by this, since the image of the graph once before does not jibe in my head with the manufacture of bricks, — says the collector. — Then I began to pay attention to other bricks with the stamps in Saint Petersburg, and realized that almost no information about their manufacturers, the timing and place of work plant. This became my subject of study, which devote all their free time — in particular, in 2017 I became a co-author of the catalogue of brick stamps of the St. Petersburg province. While the collection currently nassitive more than 3000 different instances of the 70 provinces and regions of the Russian Empire and in 25 countries.

Collectors of bricks, according to Vladimir Smirnov, has in addition to St. Petersburg to Moscow, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Samara, Roslavl, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Hungary, England, Scotland, the USA and other countries.

— the Growth of interest in antique bricks as the object of architectural decoration linked with loft aesthetics, — said the expert. — They are used for decoration of internal premises of bars, restaurants, display walls, fireplaces, bar counters, private homes. Hence the internal market for such bricks and selling them as mass parties (after dismantling of old buildings) and single copies via Internet auctions and other online platforms. People began to realize that holding in my hands tangible evidence of the history of their country, which may be of interest to others. Currently, the market prices more or less settled, but this does not prevent individuals unsuccessfully to offer some copies for hundreds of thousands of rubles.

Kameny brick can be forged — and forged a famous brand even during their production. Same as in 90-e years our flea market sold “abibas” and “casasonica”, 150 years ago, change one or two letters imitated the famous and expensive British brand bricks. Known, according to Vladimir Smirnov, and modern forgeries: the old brick without the stigma applied to fantasy names or drawing of the mark, made with modern technical means. It also happens that completely novodel brick is done with a stamp, copied from the “old masters”.

— the Buyer who is not familiar with the texture of old brick and does not possess knowledge of the methods of stamp application, may well make these fakes for the originals, warns the collector. — However, some consumers who don’t care about the historical veracity of the object, may well be amiss just a beautiful imprint on the brick.

To the “woodwork” is not ripe

— the Market for vintage building materials, I think, was formed not so long ago, — says local historian Alexander Usoltsev. But fans of such things has always been, even in the early 2000-ies. Another thing is that they often use old bricks not to formicella, and for the collection. A wide scale and, accordingly, the formation of the market is already 2010-ies, when the large-scale renovation of industrial zones, constructed in the so-called brick style. Loft-style has created an interest in historic brick interior. Of such material, of course, do not build, but the use of finishing — including expensive restaurants.

Now a collection of such materials in d��the installation older buildings doing not so much out of love for the history, but for sale, says a local historian. The main “training ground” for the extraction of brick — regions, as well as Saint Petersburg and Leningrad oblast: there is not only a rich heritage of brick construction, but good demand for the materials for interior design. The story of a particular bricks — how they are taken, what at them the stigma — often designers do not care.

— Where and how to get the materials, do not destroy if for the sake of the monuments of history — unfortunately, none of the consumers not interested in purchasing where it turns out — said Usoltsev. — The civilized market yet. And that’s talking only about the bricks and other materials, such as “woodwork”, that is, doors, Windows and the like, and in our days mercilessly break down for repairs, as it was recently at Plyushchikha and replaced by the remake. Awareness of customers not yet reached, to require the preservation of the old “woodwork”: limited to the styling, functionality is more important. Old doors and trim are sometimes used, but again, not on purpose, but as wall panels and plugs.

However, this happens only in Moscow: in Moscow on the trim there is the most direct and unequivocal demand. Buy them to decorate country houses — those built in a more or less traditional aesthetic.

the House was built new in 2015 and trims very much like to see this village smelled, — says Alina, the owner of a house in the village of Taldomsky area. — At the old house when we bought it, the trim was gone: he was falling apart, someone else to have them “pulled”. Neighbors told where to buy: in the Tver region, Kimry, found the ad of the guy who sells the frames. He, when we came to buy, there were many sets of houses, perhaps twenty. Says buys frames, when the demolition of old houses, but I don’t really believe it: he “takes off” evicted villages, of which there are many.

a Separate segment of the market trojansimulator — antique hardware: door handles, latches, button calls… For these items the demand is there, said Alexander Usoltsev.

— sometimes It is necessary to restorers, restoring antique furniture, — says local historian. — Yes, and designers of modern interiors like the old hardware it is cheaper quality modern and looks better. Although now in China make copies of anything for a fair price.

to buy the old hardware, do not have to go through advertisements or contact the firm early enough in the morning to go to the flea market (for Moscow and province). And be happy: rustic accessories the first half of the twentieth century are in abundance. But with bronze and LaToonen, and also with the objects of the XIX century, and especially older — hard: this hardware is only released during the demolition or renovation of historic buildings, mansions, churches, apartment buildings. And trade of these items comes with care — via the Internet. As manholes, for example: on a network advertising portals sometimes hatches “Muir and merilis” and other vintage items.

Demolition for sale?

— on the one hand, it would seem, for the big city the fashion for vintage building materials — it is good, — says Alexander Usoltsev. — People learn to distinguish the old from the remake and appreciate the authentic things. The growth of such consciousness is good and urban heritage: people begin to understand that a replica can never replace the authentic buildings. But we must not forget that this fashion turns into a disaster for regional heritage in small towns and villages people seeking to earn money on anything, “ripped off” all. Historically, Russia has been massively razvenchivaet, and make and give building materials for sale by the locals.

This trouble began with enamel plates-pointers, says a local historian. Followed road signs obsolete models, lights and other once-forgotten and now rare objects of street environment. It’s hard to resist when the plate or sign is “neutral” and the price could amount to a five digit amount. Remember the auction part of the metro signs: prices at the beginning of this year reached up to 50 thousand rubles.

— In the town of Yegoryevsk long ago hung a sign-arrow — recalls Usoltsev. — She was nobody in the city really don’t need, until he came to a well-known designer and not rested (well, or bought from someone local) this sign. Many months after this sign I saw in the interior, against which starred the designer himself, was troubled.

— Development of proposals on ancient bricks in any case should not be at the expense of the barbaric destruction of historical buildings and architectural objects of cultural heritage under state protection, — said collector Vladimir Smirnov. Is unacceptable to all true collectors, and, moreover, they often assist supervisors in detecting and preventing such illegal actions.

However, all over Russia, the lack of a dilapidated and crumbling buildings, not standing on the protection and inoperable, he said. They make out sometimes — and it is here to fix history “biography” of these buildings (Dating, building owners), handy mark on old bricks.

Another scandal erupted not long ago in Moscow: mosaic 1960-ies, clearedth of a renovated Soviet industrial zone, suddenly was discovered in the interior of the newly opened bar in the city centre. Local history the public is sharply divided in relation to this case. Some local activists (they were the majority) rebelled: for the sake of interior design was crippled by a huge mosaic by deleting the part without any permission. Others (a minority) noted that the work of art, on the contrary, receives a new — slightly postmodern, but full-blooded life.

Such conflicts seem inevitable — not only because different regions have made progress in the protection of the heritage at different speeds, but within one city is very different regional consciousness. Which, of course, the ideal requires to preserve not only the artifacts, but also their original context and location.


• the price of “building Antiques” in Moscow, July 2020:

• Brick red with marks from 50 rubles apiece.

• the Tiles in the kiln — from 200 rubles.

• Bronze door handles — from 500 rubles (USSR)

• Enamel plate with the words, in good condition — from 2000 rubles.

• Trim rustic carved, in good condition — from 3000 rubles.