Stalin death mask expected to make $7,780 at UK auction

A rare death mask of former Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin is attracting interest among collectors ahead of its auction in the UK on January 24.

The bronze mask, which is valued at between £3,000 and £5,000, is one of just 12 taken from the original plaster death mask of the communist ruler, following his death in 1953.

Most reside in Russian collections. The only other example to appear at auction in the West sold at Sotheby's in the early 1990's.

Stalin death mask
Stalin’s death mask has a £3,000 to £5,000 estimate

The mask is accompanied by bronze casks of Stalin's hands.

The auction house's Richard Westwood-Brooks told the British Daily Mail newspaper: "It was not until 1990 that anyone in the West got to see them.

"This is the only chance anyone is going to have to get their hands on this for the foreseeable future," he added.

Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union throughout the 1930's and 1940's, was ruthless in his treatment of opponents, resulting in the "Great Terror" during the 1930's, which saw executions and exile on a mass scale.

Stalin's body lay in state next to his predecessor Lenin's at Moscow's Lenin Mausoleum until 1961.

Stalin's body now lies buried at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. Lenin's remains at the Lenin Mausoleum.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has one of the few Lenin death masks that do not reside in Russia currently for sale.

It is one of just 14 known Lenin death masks. Produced by the great Russian sculptor Sergey Merkurov, it is the first to appear on the market for more than 20 years.

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