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Paul L Murphy

plmurphy's Japanese collection

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It is not a chop, it is actually his hand signed autograph with a brush. High grade certificates are about the only document that he hand signs which make it into the public domain, and even then they are seldom available to collectors. So far I have been able to get three of the four emperors since the order system came into existence. The only one I am missing is the present emperor but I will bide my time and one will come up eventually (probably a Rising Sun to a foreign ambassador being the most likely on the market any time soon).

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Dear Paul,

I just stumbled across this thread. My God man, those first two Meiji Constitution and Wedding medals are the holy grail of Japanese medals. I know the orders are more flashy but I have always loved the lowly commemoratives and service medals. I have been looking for those most of my adult life. I stand truely in awe.

I hate to turn the conversation vulgar, but might I ask what those are worth these days were I ever to actuallyfind one for sale?

Best regards,

Bill Unland

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Yes, they are indeed the GEMS here (despite other lovelies). There were specimens, I think, in the recent ANS sale. Didn't have the heart to see what they finally went for!

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Being a bank manager I never find it vulger to talk about money (which probably shows how vulger I am!). The Meiji 25th Wedding Anniversary is about US$700-800 in Japan and the Constitution Promulgation Medal is about US$850-1,000, depending on who has it. If you get them in the boxes of issue you can add about an extra US$300 and US$500 respectively.

For me the Holy Grail of the medals is an original Great East Asian War Medal, it is the only Japanese medal I do not have. Others that are very rare are the 1874 War Medal (in Japan they fetch about US$4,500 now so I was very pleased to get the one in FJPs last auction) and the China Incident Commemorative Medal (this is the one with the design of cherry blossoms on the front that was given to collaborators). The latter is particularly difficult to find (I will post a pic at some stage).

Regards,

Paul

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Dear Paul,

As you might have read I had an issued Great East Asia medal in my hands. It belonged to my sister-in-law's husband's father (I know a little hard to follow). He told me that as he was assigned to the naval headquarters at the end of the war he received the medal with the other staff grade officers just before the surrender. Of course talk is cheap but he was quite proud of it and I had no reason to disbelieve him. He was an IJN officer during the war, and was thrilled that I was interested in his history as his own family was only interested in his savings account balance. Unfortunately they tossed everything when he died, and I could never find out what happened to the medal, uniforms, dagger etc. Here are a few snap shots he gave me.

[attachmentid=53436]

You might recall the guy on e-bay a few years back that found 8-10 of the cherry front china medals in the backwoods somewhere. All without ribbons and most damaged in some way. I think he sold them all one after the other with the best fetching $900. He got greedy after that and dumped the others all and once and scared everyone that they were repro, but he eventually sold them. I am surprised you didn't pick one up.

Also, if not a trade secret where do you find such rarities here in Japan? The only dealer that I have found with anything of note was a rather shady guy in Osaka, who I believe was arrested a few years back for selling an Order of Culture, which I guess is illegal to possess over here.

Best regards,

Bill Unland

Edited by W.Unland

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Bill,

I already have one of the China Commemorative Medals, I bought one a number of years again in FJP's auctions. The Order of Culture is not illegal to own, I have seen two for sale in Japan quite openly. As with other Japanese orders it is the personal property of the recipient and they can do as they wish with it.

I will not disclose my best sources, they took me years to find ! However if you are in Tokyo at the right time Togo Jinja has a decent flea market with a few dealers (I think ti is the 1st, 4th and 5th Sunday each month). Also, in Kyoto they have a good market on the 1st Sunday and 21st and 25th of each month. The venues are Toji (the first two) and Kita-no-Tenmangu Shrine (the 25th).

Best regards,

Paul

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Thanks,

Interesting. I remember specifically reading that the guy was arrested for selling an Order of Culture through his shop, and the paper said it was illegal to sell them. Perhaps it was a stolen medal. If you lived here you know that the information in the press is hardly to be trusted.

Thanks for the info re: flea markets.

Regards,

W.Unland

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Some more items from my Japanese collection.....

First up, an interesting miniature group since it is a Spink mounted British WWI trio with an Order of the Rising Sun 4th Class. I got this years ago, I liked the fact that it was mounted by Spink and is a good quality miniature set.

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Now a genuine group which came with the service papers verifying all the awards. It is to a Private Kawamura Manjiro and was awarded for the Japanese attack on Tsingtao at the start of the First World War.

Most of the Japanese "groups" that you see for sale, especially on evil-bay, are put together. This is a nice original set comprising the Rising Sun 8th Class, 1914-15 War Medal, Victory Medal and Showa Enthronement Medal.

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Next up, a 1968 certificate for the Order of the Rising Sun 6th Class. This is actually a posthumous award (The 6th character from the top in the extreme right hand line means "The late" when it comes before the name as it does here). You can notice that the post war certificates have a lot less wording on them than the pre war. This is because all of the fancy titles have been stripped away from the emperor.

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Closely followed by a Showa period 6th Class Golden Kite.

Bye the way, the 6th Class is now very difficult to find in Japan so grab them while you can since they are scarcer than the 5th class.

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This is the certificate for the 6th Class, in this case awarded for the Russo Japanese War. These are very difficult to find. For every ten 7th class certs you will find, you will be lucky to find one 6th class.

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Going one lower, we have the 8th Class of the Auspicious Clouds. Same design as previous only this time in silver, rather than with a gilt finish. This is a nice salty one that I picked up in a Kyoto flea market.

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Next up, and still in Manchuria, we have the Border Incident Commemorative Medal. This was awarded for the fighting on the Chinese Mongolian border in 1938.

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Moving back to Japan proper, this is the Capital Rehabilitation Medal which was awarded to those who took part in the reconstruction of Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake.

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Next up a rare medal that most collectors have never seen. This is the China Incident Commemorative Medal. It is the medal which was given to Chinese collaborators and others who were not eligible to receive the China Incident War Medal. Given that the war Medal was dished out to everyone, recipients of this one were few and far between, and unlikely to hold onto it after the Japanese defeat !

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This unofficial medal was issued to his troops by General Homma for the capture of the Philippines. Officers received it in silver and everyone else received the bronze version shown here. Very few of these troops made it back alive to Japan so the survival rate of these unofficial medals is low.

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Moving across to the Japanese puppet state of Inner Mongolia. This is their National Foundation Commemorative Medal. A nice scarce and little known award.

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This is the Korean First National Census Commemorative Medal. Only the reverse inscription differentiates it from the more common Japanese version. This version is quite scarce.

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