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Dragon that looks like he isn`t really Double


JapanX
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It's not just Chinese warlords with dead staring eyes ...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UK-Medal-Coin-People-Princess-Diana-very-nice-Coin-medal-/281399318022?pt=UK_Collectables_Memorabila_RL&hash=item4184b4d606

The theory on #5, which was sold by Morton & Eden from the American Numismatic Society Collection, was that it might have been commissioned in Europe by Li Hongzhang when he toured there.

The design has very strong European appearance, particularly the Baroque style curling leaves framing the medal.

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The seller is well known (at least to me) for his Order of the Yugoslav Star fakes.

M&E's #5 is indeed quite an oddity and I'd like to see some (at least one photo) provenance. I think in this case an appropriate design can only be seen as circumstantial evidence since many people with a sparkling phantasy had a century to come up with something.

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The catalogue description for the Morton & Eden specimen reads: "Order of the Double Dragon, Type 1, an uncertain Third Class (?) uniface neck badge, in silver-gilt and enamels, without setting for a central stone, 63 x 52mm, probably of unofficial European manufacture, extremely fine. Given by Harold E. Gillingham, 1925."

So it was in the collection of the American Numismatic Society for 82 years before it was auctioned.

It's certainly an odd piece but the provenance is quite well established.

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While the rest of the ANS dds were mainly straight forward this was most certainly an oddity. The Li Hongzhang theory is interesting although how much credence on can put on that is debateable. My suspicion is that it is a European made piece where a good deal of creative imagination was used and not issued for any specific event.

Paul

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So it was in the collection of the American Numismatic Society for 82 years before it was auctioned.

It's certainly an odd piece but the provenance is quite well established.

I am afraid it isn't.

It easily could be a french made copy for collectors from early 20s ;)

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Dear all, I am not convinced that the wording "French-made copy for collectors from early 20s" is completely appropriate. At that time, many French makers (Halley, Dupetitboscq, Bacqueville etc....) produced a fairly large array of high-quality foreign awards (their catalogs testify to this) just because there was a strong local demand for these items, mostly stemming out of French officers-officials-diplomats-celebreties etc... that did receive these awards and were looking for a replacement (in case of loss or theft), a second or even a third item (some parade uniforms had these awards permanently fixed on them). The word "copy" is not appropriate in most cases as these awards were legitimate pieces, frequently approved (at least not objected to) by foreign legations in Paris. The word "collectors" seems to be off the mark as well as the most important customer base for those were not collectors but people who were eligible to these awards in the first place. Collectors may have stepped in and increase demand, no doubt about that. However, I suspect that their final input was limited and could not have justified a costly industrial production. Regards to all. Kiman

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I am not convinced that the wording "French-made copy for collectors from early 20s" is completely appropriate

It is certainly no less appropriate than "probably of unofficial European manufacture" or "might have been commissioned in Europe by Li Hongzhang" ;)

...many French makers (Halley, Dupetitboscq, Bacqueville etc....) produced a fairly large array of high-quality foreign awards (their catalogs testify to this) ...

This is a well-known fact.

But usually foreign awards made by these makers don't have such deviations from original design ;)

I am talking about russian, persian, annam, etc awards.

That's why it could be a cheap (that is why we don't have any stones and somewhat simplified design) collectors copy rather than replacement piece made for european recipient of this award.

Of course these deviations from original design could be explained by the fact that its manufacturer was using some old reference book with errors in description or illustration of DD.

Unfortunately all these theories cannot be proved.

All I see is an unmarked piece with striking differences from original design.

We can't even determine the class! :lol:

"European copy"?

It certainly is.

"For whom, by whom and why?"

It depends on how lively imagination one has :whistle:

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A thought, could it be costume jewellery made for a stage production where a Chinese Order was needed, rather than a collector's copy or an unofficial production, Pooh Bah in the Mikado would have looked great wearing that.

Paul

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Judging by its quality this is certainly one of the possibilities ;)

The quality is a strong argument why it's not a piece made for European awardees. Europeans often commissioned pieces from European manufacturers due to their superior craftsmanship (for example Persian Lions and Suns) - so why would they commission a piece which is equal or even lower in quality than the Chinese pieces.

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Here's an extract from the 2008 UBS catalogue compiled by Gustav Tammann and Michael Autengruber:

"The variety of these Type I insignia was greatly enhanced by the fact that the recipients of the three lower classes (and of the 2nd class?) could be proposed to the Court by Viceroys, Governors, Generals and other high officials who, however, had to pay for the insignia. This was used particularly by Li Hung-chang to introduce neck badges of reduced size and of non-standard design. When breast stars were introduced in 1894 the silver stars were frequently ordered in Europe (from, e.g., Halley, Kretly, Lemaitre, Wolfers, and Godet) and surmounted by a much reduced, Chinese made type I badge."

Alas, this is the only reference to Li Hongzhang I have been able to locate. In the absence of a documented group or other primary sources, we are unable to verify this theory.

That said, it's a theory advanced by Gustav Tammann and Michael Autengruber, who would be among the most knowledgeable experts in the field of phaleristics.

On the inferior quality of the particular example, we need to remember that it was not a period a great standardisation when it came to Chinese awards so variations in quality or aesthetics could be expected. See for example the Type 1 breast stars commissioned by Prince Chun from Godet which feature the, to my own personal aesthetics, rather peculiar diamond cut rays.

Both the Berlin and London Legations also commissioned Legation medals which were "official awards" for services where a Double Dragon might not have been appropriate. There is quite a difference in design quality of these medals.

No, I DON'T own this particular piece. :D

But I'm wary about describing it as a collectors copy. Perhaps if it didn't have the provenance of the 82 years of being in the collection of the ANS ...

Edited by drclaw
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As far as I understand they wrote about chinese made badges (central medallions) for the european made breast stars ;)

Here's an extract from the 2008 UBS catalogue compiled by Gustav Tammann and Michael Autengruber:

"The variety of these Type I insignia was greatly enhanced by the fact that the recipients of the three lower classes (and of the 2nd class?) could be proposed to the Court by Viceroys, Governors, Generals and other high officials who, however, had to pay for the insignia. This was used particularly by Li Hung-chang to introduce neck badges of reduced size and of non-standard design. When breast stars were introduced in 1894 the silver stars were frequently ordered in Europe (from, e.g., Halley, Kretly, Lemaitre, Wolfers, and Godet) and surmounted by a much reduced, Chinese made type I badge."

No? :whistle:

Here's an extract from the 2008 UBS catalogue compiled by Gustav Tammann and Michael Autengruber:

Both the Berlin and London Legations also commissioned Legation medals which were "official awards" for services where a Double Dragon might not have been appropriate. There is quite a difference in design quality of these medals.

Maybe this is because so called "London legation medal" is not only about "London" ;)

(if you are referring to this one )

but general medal that were used also in St.Peterburg, London.

Medal from Envoy of the Great Empire of Qin :whistle:

Edited by JapanX
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