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Everything posted by drclaw

  1. The enamelling of the dragons' eyes are a nice touch. Another way to identify the third class is the blue enamelling of the centre medallion. European-manufactured Second Type Double Dragons are sometimes encountered but very few have makers' marks on them. My favourite are the Bacqueville ones with green enamelling.
  2. Thanks for posting these fascinating pictures. The Qing official (2nd picture in post #2) has his Second Class Double Dragon attached next to his sash with a safety pin!
  3. drclaw

    Double Dragon

    I agree the OMSA picture is potentially confusing. If I was just going by the picture my initial thoughts would have been reproduction because of what appears to be an enamelled coral stone. The provenance of it being from the Harry Mohler collection would have made me reconsider given Mohler was an expert in Chinese medals. But on balance I would still think reproduction. This underlines the importance of provenance and the knowledge of a highly experienced expert like Paul from an auction house like Morton and Eden. I know Paul has personally handled and inspected scores of Double Dragons over decades. You simply can't put a value on that experience. It gives you the confidence to buy. Others include Dix Noonan Webb, Spink and Hermann Historica, Kuenker. Recently I was introduced to some French auction houses and was impressed by their knowledge and professionalism, particularly as they were advised by Jean-Christophe Palthey. A recent auction had a couple of First Type originals as well as reproductions, all carefully identified as such. Happy to have a look at the picture. Just email it through.
  4. drclaw

    Double Dragon

    Thanks for the nice comment! All the copies have now been sold thanks to JCwater. Regarding the Rothe reproductions, these typically have the centre stone enamelled / painted on as opposed to having an actual stone. I don't believe they were marked with the company's name, certainly none of the examples that I know of have been marked.
  5. Extraordinary pictures! Thanks for sharing. It's a little hard to tell from the photos but most of these appear quite genuine although you would want to inspect the Double Dragons very closely given the quality of the reproductions being made these days. How much for a Double Dragon star and that cased Striped Tiger (1st or 2nd Class?)?
  6. The Double Dragon looks like a First Type (1882-1901) Third Class Third Grade.
  7. Hello Frank, Long time no hear! YJA is short for Yahoo Japan Auctions where Chinese orders appear from time to time. I wrote an article in the White Eagle for the Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America. It can be found in Volume 64 Nov-Dec 2013 Number 6.
  8. A pictorial history of China that I have simply has the caption "Manchu Princes resign en masse with the abdication of the monarchy". In the absence of more detailed information, we could probably date the photograph to February 1912, Beijing.
  9. It's been awhile since I looked at this but from memory what was fascinating was that for the Imperial badges, the plain tung leaves were for the higher ranks and the peony flowers for the lower ranks, yet when it came to the Republican badges, the order was reversed! So perhaps Yuan Shikai and his friends wanted the more showy peony flowers rather than the plainer tung flowers. And you're right, the Republican Rank and Merit very rarely appear for sale which is peculiar since practically every minor regional warlord received one. Perhaps it's the opposite of the Double Dragons where almost all the awards were to foreigners who then expatriated these overseas where they might be preserved from war and revolution. Very few if any foreigners received the Rank and Merit. They do very occasionally appear in China. The other fascinating thing was that for the Imperial badges, the actual and metaphorical "centre" of the badge was yellow for earth and the Emperor, whereas for the Republican badges, the centre became red for the Han Chinese!
  10. drclaw

    Double Dragon

    The First Class First Grade appears to be the same specimen that was sold in the 2008 Tammann collection auction.
  11. drclaw

    Double Dragon

    Glad to hear the book arrived safely! I really like your artists impression of the Second Type First Class First Grade. I'm not aware of any specimens but that's not to say one might not be lurking in a dusty cabinet in a palace museum somewhere. Regarding the First Type First Class Third Grade image above, it's a Rothe reproduction made in the 1960s. They occasionally crop up at auction. A certain auction house rather disingenuously labels them as "extremely rare of Austrian manufacture" or something along that line.
  12. drclaw

    Double Dragon

    Thanks for the plug Paul! Hi Alex, I still have a few copies of the book left (down to the last 20 actually). If you are interested, send me a PM. The cost is USD 25 + 12 postage. To answer your question on the different grades of the 3rd class, look at the ring surrounding the blue centre stone. For the 1st grade, five-petalled flowers. 2nd grade, T-shaped pattern. 3rd grade, M-shaped pattern. Gavin
  13. Thanks Glenn, this is much appreciated. The First Type Double Dragon neck badges were awarded right up to 1901. Breast stars were introduced around 1894 and there were a flurry of awards in 1896 to German citizens with the star corpus made by Godet. This likely coincided with the visit of Viceroy Li Hongzhang to Germany that year. It appears that where awards were conferred in Beijing, they were the First Type neck badge only.
  14. Gents, I'm trying to track down more information about Schmidt von Schwind, in particular when he received his Chinese Double Dragon. Did he serve in China during the Boxer Rebellion? This would seem most likely as a number of Allied captains and majors received the Third Class around 1901 in the aftermath of the crisis.
  15. Here is the 8th class Blue Dragon from the Hong Kong auction. My mistake. The earlier posts should have referred to the 8th Blue Dragon, not a Black Dragon. How does this compare to the 2011 Morton example?
  16. Thanks for posting the Morton and Eden specimen. I did not see the diamond mark on the suspension ring. It still strikes me as suspicious that a 2nd class Blue Dragon sash badge and an 8th class Black Dragon badge appears in 2011 then in 2016 another but different specimens appear for sale. Not a 4th class Blue Dragon or a 6th Class Black Dragon but exactly those same ones.
  17. Nick, I posted a pic in the original post but perhaps its not working? I can see it. The auction is the Spunk Kong Kong numismatic sale. There's a suspicious 8th class Black Dragon too. Sorry I've yet to work out how to copy and paste a link using a smart phone ...
  18. This is up for auction in Hong Kong in April as a "very rare" medal in "uncirculated" condition. I had initial doubts about this specimen which JC later confirmed. Apparently quite a few of these reproductions have surfaced in China. It's interesting to compare this with a specimen that was offered for sale by Morton and Eden in 2011, which was also listed as a Second Class sash badge. In that specimen, the rays were plain white enamel while these rays are identical to the Golden Grain badges.The design of the dragon is also different. Perhaps the biggest indicator - the enameling just doesn't "feel" right. Very similar to the reproductions / fakes we've come to know. I would approach any specimen of the Coloured Dragons with extreme suspicion. All the evidence suggests they were never awarded and that the Double Dragons were awarded as late as one week before the abdication of the monarchy in February 1912. If any WERE produced, they would be samples or perhaps specimens for future award. In either case, the chances of any surviving the overthrow of the Dynasty, the Warlord period, the Japanese invasions, etc, etc, would be extremely small. What do others think?
  19. Von Thronstahl has provided me with an image of the reverse. Would anyone be able to translate the Cyrillic? It would (hopefully) provide us with information about the recipient. In the full photo, the chap is standing with a very attractive lady in 1920s costume.
  20. What a fantastic topic and only one that I've just stumbled across. The Order of the Rose would certainly be one, if not the most, attractive order ever instituted. It's certainly one that I've always wished to add to the collection. Congratulations Lambert on finally acquiring one. I know this is something you've had your heart set on for a many years!
  21. Ah, I was wondering who picked this one up. Congratulations on your acquisition. If the Tammann catalogue is correct these are incredibly rare. What is the quality of the enamels like. Is it quite a hefty badge? I'm guessing its gilded.
  22. Thanks for posting this very interesting photograph. The Fourth and Fifth Class Double Dragons were very rarely awarded, especially the Fifth Class so seeing a photograph of an actual recipient is a real pleasure. Do you know the name and background of this chap?
  23. As JC says, the Golden Grain medals were not numbered on the reverse so it is impossible to determine the recipient of a particular specimen without any other documentation. Tracing it would also be next to impossible unless you can establish a clear provenance trail. The honour would not have been presented without the medal. It's interesting that you mention Sun Yatsen as awarding the Golden Grain. Sun was the first Provisional President of the Republic but resigned as part of the deal to end the Chinese Civil War and establish the Republic. The Golden Grain was inaugurated in 1912 by President Yuan Shikai and awarded by him and his successors in the Beiyang Government in Beijing until the Guomindang defeated the warlords in 1928. Some references suggest that Sun Yatsen and the Nationalists in Guangdong Province awarded the same honours as the "national" government in Beijing but I've not been able to verify this. It won't help you track down the medal but it's worth doing an online search of The London Gazette of your grandmother's name. If she applied to the British Foreign Ministry for approval to wear the insignia, it would be listed. The medal you posted is the Imperial Household Medal awarded during the Qing Dynasty. It quite often appears on the market but I'm not sure why and to whom it was awarded.
  24. Not something I've seen before Dragomir. The photograph is however of a senior officer in the late Qing military uniform, circa. 1907-1912. You can tell by the 'rank button' on his hat and the ornate belt which is inscribed with a dragon. I don't recognise the face unfortunately but others might know.
  25. Thanks JC and Nick for posting your comments. I find the Wang Jingwei awards a fascinating field. JC points out is a Wang Jingwei Reorganised Government Naval Medal. The Reorganised National Government of China was established by the Japanese with its capital in Nanjing, 1940-45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reorganized_National_Government_of_the_Republic_of_China
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