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Wisam al-Rafidain / Order of the Two Rivers


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Hi all....

I have an opportunity for a purchase and would appreciate your input and expertise on scarcity and price....

Same dealer wanting to sell me the swords also has a GC set of the Order of the Two Rivers cased (the insert is missing). The order and sash and star are mint...the case is excellent with virtually no damage to the green exterior. I could not find any marks on the star or badge but the inside of the case is marked Bertrand. I have handled it and it is extremely well made, quite heavy, and simply beautiful. Included in the case are 4 X Post 1958 Bravery medals, mint condition. I mean perfect....all are marked. These are nothing like the ones you might see in the market. A couple more common medals as well but all are made the same solid heavy way.....

Looking for ideas about scarcity of the early Republic GC sets and what a fair price would be for te set with the extra medals. I can tell you as much as I want it he is asking well over what I wold even consider entertaining for a price....so I want to go back to him with an expert driven offer and try to make it stick. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

Tony

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A cased Republic GC set (with case missing the inner pad) was offered on eBay about 4 months ago. It DID NOT Sell with what may appear to be a rather ambitious $4000 reserve. A few Bertrand good quality cased Republic knights badges have sold anywhere from $150 to $500 on eBay in the past year. Liverpool Medals offered such a knight on their website but I disremember the price. Believe there was a royal civil division GC set in the Geneva auction a few months ago that went for $3000 but I don't have the catalog to hand and could be wrong on the price. Hope this helps.
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A cased Republic GC set (with case missing the inner pad) was offered on eBay about 4 months ago. It DID NOT Sell with what may appear to be a rather ambitious $4000 reserve. A few Bertrand good quality cased Republic knights badges have sold anywhere from $150 to $500 on eBay in the past year. Liverpool Medals offered such a knight on their website but I disremember the price. Believe there was a royal civil division GC set in the Geneva auction a few months ago that went for $3000 but I don't have the catalog to hand and could be wrong on the price. Hope this helps.

Yes sir...that is a great help. No pics are allowed but I can tell you it is perfect. He is trying to get 3K for the GC set.....I know najafcoins has a royal GC set cased for about 2200....the dealers here will tell you the Royal stuff is not wanted here....it's cheap becuase no one wants to collect it. They want the republic period with the eagle.....so there is a feel for the market to some extent, but also the fact that he knows someone will pay it....just a matter of time.

I felt 3K for it was too high.....

I'll keep working him over

Thanks

Tony

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Personally I am of the view that the Rafidain generally is overpriced. The best quality pieces are the Garrard Monarchy issues - the Bertrand/Huguenin issue Monarchy and Republican are not quiet as good. I would suggest if you canot afford or don't agree with the price pass on it, as sooner or later another will appear. The Order is not one of the 'holy grails' of the Arab world. I suspect dealers are hyping the price on the basis that sooner or later someone with deep pockets wil cough up the asking price. American military personnel are no doubt chaasing all Iraqi militaria as souveniers.Najaf, whilst have good pieces for sale, do make a tidy margin. Compare the hammer prices on items they purchased at the Morton & Eden auction of the American Numismatic Collection with their asking prices now - this is not a criticism but an observation applicable to most dealers - they need to make a living like everybody else.

Now a really scare modern Iraqi piece would be the Order of the Republic instuituted by Qassem in 1958 and lapsed after his overthrow or the jewelled Order of Qaddisyiah Saddam from the Iraq/Iran War and its later transformation in to the Order of the Mother of Battles. Of course a breast star of the Order of the Hashemites would be nice......

Regards,

Owain

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Owain is, of course, and as always, right. The WaR has the unfortunate fate of being visually distinctive, of being fairly common, and of being emblamatic. It was awarded frequently enough that specimens exist in reasonable supply. And I also very much agree that it is consistently overpriced, probably no place more so than by enterprisiong merchants in Iraq today, trying to make money from the occuipying troops.

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Owain & Ed

Thanks very much for your input. I am of the same mindset...problem I was having is what is fair price and not. I have had from 1500 to 3000 USD as a good price....so I topped off at 2K in my mind. Another collector friend who has one form here says 1500 here should be about it so if I cant get it for that....it isnt going to my house.

I appreciate your time and of course your insight...thanks again for your help.

My Best

Tony

Edited by Sal
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Ed,

Thanks for you kind words. I would even dare to suggest that $2,000 is excessive. Obvioulsy I come from a collecters perspective and thus, as do all collectors, begrudge pay over the odds and at current exchange rates this equates to one thousand pounds which by any stretch of the imagination is too much. When buying orders and medals in the Middle East (which is difficult enough anyway) as a bench mark I refuse to pay any a UK dealer/auctin house would charge the UK. Whilst collectors usally are not collecting to invest, at least not in the shoprt term, there is no point in buying something out of Baghdad which if you tried to sell the next day in London or New York which would realise an immediate loss. Of course there are exceptions and I have in mind British issued awards to local units e.g. Aden Protectorate Levies, Trans-Jordanian Frontier Force, Iraq Levies, etc. where it is the scarcity of unit and not the award itself which impacts on the price.

Some years ago, 1996, whilst in Cairo I was offered a group of mounted Royal Egyptian Awards consisting of a Nile, Military Star, 2nd issue Khedive Sudan, WW1 Trio, Osmanie, Medjide and Belgian Order of Letters for $4,000. I didn't have the money (and still don't!) and explained to the very sociable vendor, lots of tea drinking etc., that the probable value then was perhaps no more the $2,000 to $2,500. He politely agreed, but observed, "Well, it's stock and paid for. If I wait long enough someone will pay what I want......" The inference was that the someone would more than likely be from the US!

Regards,

Owain

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So true, Owain. We are as yet a long long way from having any sort of established market values for any Middle Eastern ODM, though auction results (and you are righ to redirect our attention to the ANS sales) can give us a sense of what some damn fool was willing to pay for a specific item on a gven day. We may be geting close, as some items (mainly Iraqi) are now (for obvious reasons) coming to the market in significant quantity. Yet in the absence of a good reference work (hint, hint) the field won't and can't yet congeal. Yet, once that reference book is out, people will collect these things, and we'd all better have our personal collections under control before that book appears. Oh, all the moral dilemmas!

In the interim, we just have to decide, on an individual basis, what a given item is worth to us on a given day. I, too, feel happy underpaying for common stuff and overpaying for the rare items. And I agree that $2000 is too much for the bauble that sparked this discussion, no matter how pretty an item is. That the vendor can and probably will sell it for that much is his good luck but there are many WaR sets about. Show me a nice Order of Faisal I / Wisam al-Faisal al-Awwal set though . . . !

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Ahhhhhhhhh ..... and Order of Faisal the First would be nice. Actually I am surprised that one has not surfaced for sale. In almost 18 years of being in the Middle East I have not seen one for sale either locally or by auctiion in the West. The two I know of are the set you have referred to in the past and the one on display at the King Feisal (Al Saud) Institute here in Riyadh. To my mind it should be not be quite as scarce as it appears to be. I have seen numerous photos of the opening of Parilament with various worthies bedecked with awards including the OoF and I am surprised that one hasn't appeared fon the market.

Going back to the Rafidain, the junior medal, instituted by Faisal II, is also scarce and whilst not particulary valuable, it is again an award which has not appeared for sale. I don't believe that this award was carried over into the Republic.

Regards,

Owain

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Oh and Ed, further to your "hint hint", I have an embryonic plan to pull together something "up to modern times" thus monarchies, etc., up to circa 1960s coups and revolutions being , as it were, end of "Part One."

Owain

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How much of the problem is that while everyone knows what the Rafidain was, no one knows the other, rarer and more interesting, awards. I, too, have thought the Faisal should be more common that it seems to have been, but I dare say most recipients either fled or became distinctly unpopular (and some became dead) after the revolution. The only one I have ever seen is with a family that settled in the US after the revolution.

As far as I have seen, the medal of the order did in fact end with the end of the monarchy. From what I have seen, it was mainly used as a gift to be distributed when the king was visiting overrseas. Thetre was an especially nice one in a British palace hanger-on's group a few years back (Spink?). When teh monarcvhy ended, these reciprocal visits ended and there was no functional need for the medal?

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This is the medal you mention, Owain, right? The Nut al-Rafidain / Medal of the Two Rivers. And what (little) I think I know. As it didn't last long, this may explain the rarity?

Established: By Law No. 28 of 1955, by King Faisal II. Made by Huguenin (Le Locle, Switzerland).

Obverse: A seven-armed cross with double ball-tipped points. In the circular center, a crown. Suspended by a ring.

Reverse: Within the circular center, the legend ?Faisal / II / 1375 / A.H. [= 1955 C.E.]?.

Ribbon: Green, with a central black stripe and thin black edges. Similar in design to the Order of the Two Rivers, but with red replaced by green.

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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Ed,

The group you refer to, I think was an RVM, WWII, Faisal Coronation and Rafidain Medal to a British Butler at the Iraqi Embassy in London. I have bid twice for this group over the past 10 years or so but I believe that collectors of the RVM have deeper pockets!

Another scarce piece, and I have no illustration, is the Air Force award instituted by King Ghazi - hens teeth indeed. Oh and whilst I'm on line what about an ASM with the clasp "Euphrates 1936" - dream on...........

Owain

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Ed,

The image is correct - I have one with the green ribbon but there is a black (or red) ribbon version for military recipients - I would need to refer to my OMSA article on Royal Iraqi awards for details.

Owain

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Fantastic discussion guys....I appreciate that...I do feel better hearing more advanced collectors and experts telling me they are out there. Honestly I really didnt realize it having been away for so long.

With respect to the Order of Faisal or the Order of the Republic, do you think the lack of it on the market is simply that it's not as visible as the WaR has been in times? As you have pointed out , it is the most recognizable of the orders.....and has, for lack of a better term, become the "identity" for Iraqi collecting....all know the WaR but as you mention....fewer might recognize the Faisal Order..

My Best

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Now you know what to look for :P

Yeah but the other side of all the information you guys give me gives me tons more to look for.... :banger:

But you r right......it's good to have a narrower focus and soome discipline in this venture.....

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I just KNEW something like that as coming :D

I'll be sure to ask him tomorrow....I'm positive he'l tell me he can get them and they are easier than the WaR....

Off topic a little guys....do you hae an image of the Order of Qaddisyiah Saddam??

Many thanks

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Just have your medal guy find several sets of this . . . .

Ahhhhhh, if only.........

As an aside the bust of Faisal I on the order is the same as that used for the currency series during his reign......but I stray into numismatics - a field in which I tread warily.

Now off to a Bastille Day at the French Embassy in Riyadh - ho hum a glass or two of vin in Riyadh is not to be missed.

Owain.

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Ahhhhhh, if only.........

As an aside the bust of Faisal I on the order is the same as that used for the currency series during his reign......but I stray into numismatics - a field in which I tread warily.

Now off to a Bastille Day at the French Embassy in Riyadh - ho hum a glass or two of vin in Riyadh is not to be missed.

Owain.

Soooo....how was your vino????? I cant have it here but I can live vicariously through you

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  • 3 months later...

Wisam Al-Rafidain/Order of the Two Rivers First Class

Republic/military with swords, sash worn over the right shoulder.

Manufactured by: Arthus Bertrand, Paris

Case is a long green box with the swords and wreath in gold on top center of the case.

I picked this one up in Baghdad, Iraq near Saddams Palace.

Very beautiful condition. Has a mark in the center of the pin of the Breast Badge.

Took the pictures of the Wisam Al-Rafidain First Class on the marble floors of Saddam Hussein's Palace in Baghdad, Iraq which is now The F.O.B Prosperity occupied by United States Forces.

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