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  1. St.Sava's order was established in 1883, which falls into the same timing ballpark ("mid to late 19th century and early 20th"). Also, given, that the crosses from Serbian state eagles were removed, there clearly was an attempt to "refine the difference".
  2. While I see your logic I can only partially agree with it. Take a look at all Russian orders for non-Christians (St.George, St.Ann, St.Stanislaus, etc). While the image of the saint (or his/her cypher/monogram) has been removed from the center medallion and replaced with the imperial eagle, the shape of the order (cross) remained the same. Yet, all Russian non-Christians had no issue with that and were proudly wearing those awards. Also Russian imperial eagle has an orb with the cross and the crown (actually, a few) with the cross on top of those. Its (eagle's) image was placed on the center medallions of those non-Christian orders (with all those crosses). Again, there hasn't been any issue with that. So, strange enough, but it seems that only the image of the saint (and/or his/her cypher/monogram) was the problem. To complicate this matter even more, Russian imperial eagle has the heraldic shield on its breast with the image of St.George on it. And, ironically, it was OK to display that St.George on any of the non-Christian orders. In other words, they removed the big image of St.George just to replace it with its smaller version, on the shield of imperial eagle. Go figure...
  3. I also just saw this topic. If this were a "Byzantine Crown order" why would it have the crown of Lombardy in the center medallion?
  4. As of today no reply from the museum. I tried to contact them twice.
  5. Thank you very much, Gordon. I will contact the museum. Hope they speak some English as I do not speak any Hungarian. Personally I believe this dagger is original. I have never seen such nickel (or chromium) plating and etching of any of the fake blades. And such hallmark, which is also etched, not stamped. Also the coat of arms on the cross guard is completely different from the "usual" enameled ones as well as the etching on the scabbard. What especially convinces me in the originality of this dagger is its size. All its parts are noticeably larger than the corresponding ones of the "regular" fireman's dagger. If it were a fake the forgers would have to make bigger dyes in order to produce those parts. Such dyes would have cost considerable amount of money. So, the only way to offset those costs and make some profit would be to make a significant number of such fakes. Yet, nobody I talked to has never seen anything like that.
  6. What do you think of this one? It's 50% larger than the usual one. Could it be general's (if such rank existed among Hungarian firefighters) or else?
  7. There are two different approaches to selling items at any auctio: "ascending" and "descending". The first one means placing items in the auction catalog at a very low price to intensify bidding. Normally this is done when the consignor either doesn't care for how much the item sells (estate liquidation and etc) or is willing to gamble. Often such approach causes the price to go higher than normal (when people see $100 opening price for $1000 item they tend to lose their guard and bid higher than they would have done otherwise). However, it also means that, occasionally, an item could be sold lower than the normal retail price, so somebody gets a bargain. Another approach is to put items in the auction catalog at retail prices or even slightly higher and see what happens. This is usually done when the consignor has unreasonably high price expectations or simply does not want to sell his items below a certain price (often the case when the consignor is a professional dealer). Some of the items sell at opening prices, but not as many as in the first case. However, once the auction is over, usually there are quite a few "low-ball" (below the estimate) offers coming from a number of customers. The job of the auction house is to deliver those offers to consignors. Some of them (many) subsequently get accepted, some don't. This way every consignor knows for sure that he has not sold the item too cheaply, yet he looses a chance to sell the item for higher price than normal. These approaches could be viewed as "aggressive" and "conservative"s. At every auction there is always a mix of consignors of both types. Hence, there are often cases when two items, which are exactly the same, are offered at significantly (could be a couple times) different starting prices. Such discrepancy only means that two different consignors are using two different strategies. Also, when you see the result list with too few items sold, that is only a part of the picture (tip of the iceberg, so to speak). In order to have a complete picture (which only the auction house does) one needs to know how many items (and for what prices) have been sold in the post-auction sale.
  8. The item indeed was Hungarian. But the consignor insisted that it got some Slovakian connection. Hence it was placed in that section of the catalog. This (placing items from one country in a different section) is a common practice if the prospective buyer is likely to look for them in that section. For instance, Georgian order of Tamara is often found in German (it was given mostly to Germans) or Russian (those are the ones who mostly collect it) sections of auction catalogs. You can find such examples in most of catalogs.
  9. I am not sure what Mr. "Misiu" (or Detlef) means. There has been a slight delay with sending invoices for a few successful bidders at the recent MedalHouse auction. But other than that there were no communication issues whatsoever. Besides, there was no bidder named Detlef at the recent auction. Hence, I am not sure what kind of communication or response he expects to receive.
  10. The PDF catalog indeed has only low-resolution pictures. The only reason of that is size consideration. Even as it it (picture quality 72 DPI) it "weights" over 13 Mb. The version with high-quality pictures "weights" over 300 Mb and is simply too "large/heavy" to be available for download (not to mention that it could "freeze" the entire website once large number of people starts downloading such a monster ). However, there is also "flash" version available here: http://medalhouse.com/pdf/swf/index.html it downloads quite fast and picture quality is sufficient (with possibility for magnification).

    Order of the Vajra

    In a little while the catalog should be available for download from www.medalhouse.com

    Order of the Vajra

    Well, another Order of the Precious Rod (aka Order of Vajra or Order of Tusalakchi Gun (its Mongolian name)), 2nd class (on the red ribbon) will be sold at the MedalHouse auction on October 17, 2009 in Helsinki, Finland. The order is made of gilded silver (with Imperial Russian hallmarks) and comes with original box of issue. Starting price is only 1000 Euro, but I am sure it will go much higher...
  13. Miguel, Thank you very much for your help. Could you please answer a few more questions: Given the relationship between Spain and US during that time frame (1875-1925) do you think an American naval officer could have received Spanish order? If so, do you know of any specific occasions? Even though the "US Navy" was "Marina Americana" in the common language was it possible to say that on a more official level? Like in newspapers or government documents? I mean, for instance, between 1917 and 1991 most Russians were commonly called "Soviets", yet it was more of a jargon word, and all official documents would always refer to the USSR and never to Soviets. Was it that same with "Marina Americana" vs "Marina de los Estados Unidos"? For example, could the king of Spain in his official speach addressed to the US sailors say "Marina Americana", or it was more of a slang word? Was this attitude applicable only towards Americans or any other foreigners? How would someone from France or Italy be called? "Sr" or their native name for that? Thank you again for your help. Gregory
  14. More thoughts on the "Mr" issue. Given, that the rest of the inscription is in Spanish, couldn't it just be that all orders given to foreigners bear "Mr" inscription? I mean, do you really think, that based on awardee's nationality they would have written in each case "Mr", "Herr", "Msr", "Sg" and etc?