ponents made right next door,” says Lankton.
“It saves on delivery costs and time. They ask
us to come, and we’re glad to.”
As the company’s chairman of the
board, Lankton has been the ultimate frequent flyer, regularly visiting satellite plants
in Ireland, Hungary, France, India, and
Singapore, to name a few. On his long-ago
motorbike tour, the Soviet Union was off-limits because of the Cold War, so he was
especially intrigued when in 1989 Nypro was
invited to build a facility there. For Lankton,
it was a fateful connection.
Today, Moscow is one of his favorite
destinations. “I like the Russian people, their
culture, their courage against Hitler in World
War II,” he says. And he’s become smitten
with the beauty of early Russian icons, not
for their religious significance but as works
of art. In the l990s, many 500-year-old icons
were going for as little as $20 in Moscow flea
markets, but it was illegal to take higher valued antiquities out of the country. His solution was to buy the backbone of his collection
at antiques auctions in London, Switzerland,
and Germany. Today, he is more likely to
make purchases at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
Inevitably, the collection that started as
a hobby outgrew the Lanktons’ home and
moved to Nypro headquarters, where he created a special display room for it. That led to
the idea of a real museum, so that the icons
could be shared with the public.
collector gordon lankton (facing page)
opened the museum in 2006. Architect David
Durrant renovated the late-19th-century brick
building (below) to create a contemporary
space. More than 300 Russian icons are
housed in the museum, including a depiction
of Saint George slaying the dragon (right).