Monday, September 07, 2009

Soviet Russian Pins on the Street

In Rostov-on-Don, a lady sets up shop a couple hours each weekday and sells these lapel pins. My impression is that during Soviet times, such pins were to a Russian what t-shirts are to Americans. Besides being fun to wear, they're a handy way of showing a bit of where we have been and what we've done. One website says that years ago, trading pins on the street was a popular pastime, apparently they were traded much like baseball cards.

This lady - Olga is her name, as I recall - has collected these pins from various estate sales. Looking at her pin collection is like walking through Soviet history. Say, care to join me for a closer look? (Click photos to enlarge.)


Most of these pins are related to the Olympic games. Several are especially interesting. Let's zoom on in closer.


A couple of these pins catch my eye. In the upper right is a red and gold pin that says CSSR 25. I was pretty proud of myself - for a few minutes, anyway - for deciding that was for the 25th anniversary of the USSR. Except it can't be: For one thing, USSR in Russian is spelled CCCP and besides that 1945 - in small print - was not the 25th anniversary of the USSR. Oh well. This is when I turn to my local experts. And there are many. Starting with the lady who is selling these. Here's betting she knows exactly the story behind that pin.

Another interesting pin lower right, silver with Roman numerals XXII. That would be for the 22nd Olympic games in Moscow in 1980. Remember when the US boycotted those games? (Boy we showed them a thing or two, didn't we? haha)

Another interesting pin is top center and says PRESS, in English, of course. The matching pin to the left says International Exhibition and seems to involve oil - power - and agriculture, I'm guessing. Maybe the engineers among us would have an idea. Again, I'll get the pin seller lady would know exactly the story behind those pins.

Anybody have a major interest in such pins? No promises here, but I can get them really quite inexpensively.

6 comments:

Tammy said...

Ahh, but it's against the law to take them OUT of Russia, dear! I read in the Moscow Times/ Kiev Post / something that foreigners can get smacked down (or some other kind of flogging) for trying to take them out of the country! (Really.)
Any chance you DONT have plans this Saturday? Thinking of making a run to Kiev & lunch may be in order....

Eileen said...

Oh Tammy, THANK YOU for the reminder about pins. How I avoided flogging is now a mystery...

Would LOVE to get together. Would any weekday work for you? My Sat is pretty well booked w/ one excursion or another possibility... Say, is there a chance that Sun evening might work? Or during the week sometime?

At least we could visit by phone. How about we continue this on FB. ;)

Jeanette said...

Well...just in case you have lost your fear of flogging, I'd love to have one that somehow depicts weight lifting (esp bench press). It would be for my son...not myself. Funny about that "rule." In Moscow there are street vendors that sell hats that are coverd with these pins to tourists at Red Square. My friend bought one (2001) and the pins made great souvenirs for people back home. Maybe the rule happened since then.

David said...

I bought pins in Kiev and brought them home w/o flogging in 1997. The card on the lower right seems to be entirely from the 22nd Olympiad. As for CSSR, I think it is for the "Czecho-Slovak Socialist Republic" Following a coup d'├ętat of February 1948, when Communists backed by the Soviet Union definitively took power, the country was declared a people's republic after the Ninth-of-May Constitution became effective there.

Eileen said...

Jeanette- I will absolutely keep this in mind, a pin about weightlifting for your son...Might need a reminder. Right now Am thinking about next trip back to the US.

David- oh Thank You so very much for that information. That makes all the difference. Nice to have a historian (an historian?) among us! Been to Prague some myself, makes it extra interesting,the history of it all. Guess that pin would be more popular *some places* than *others*, eh? ;)

Rick S. said...

The bears ( Misha ) are from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and if they are real are worth some $.

Check the back for known maker's marks before buying.

As far as buying the pins goes, I get them through the mail from Russia all the time with no issues.