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Christie's to hold record sale of Orthodox icons in London

MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti) - Over 230 Orthodox icons and artefacts due to go under the hammer on June 9 are expected to fetch around 5 million pounds ($10 million), a representative from Christie's of London said on Thursday.

The auction: "Icons and Artefacts from the Orthodox World" will feature over 230 lots, including Greek and Russian icons, church and religious artefacts dated between the 15th-20th centuries.

"This is the most valuable icon sale ever organized in the international market and is expected to fetch in the region of five million pounds ($10 million)," Christie's said on its website.

A 19th century Gospel Book, bearing the initials of Grand Duke Alexander Romanov, the son-in-law of Tsar Alexander III is expected to fetch $70,000-90,000.

A large number of rare Russian narrative icons, depicting a Biblical story or the life of a saint through a sequence of episodes are due to be sold in the auction. A late 15th century icon, "The Infancy of Christ," is thought to be the most valuable in this category, with a guide price around $160,000-240,000.

The 17th century "The Adoration of the Mother of God" commissioned by Maxim Stroganov, the family that was responsible for establishing the Stroganov School of icon painting in north Russia in the 16th century, is expected to fetch $80,000-120,000. The icon can be directly linked to the family of rich Russian merchants and industrialists and was traditionally used during wedding ceremonies.

The auction will also feature 19th century Russian icons, including a large selection in gold and silver oklads, including a rare pair of wedding icons, valued at $80,000-120,000, painted by Pavel Ovchinnikov, the main competition for Russian jeweler, Peter Carl Faberge.

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