Paying with fire... Gold coin with the face of a dragon leads Stack's sale

Online bidding ends on January 7, 2011 in Stack's auction of rare coins and medals from all round the world.

As we've mentioned there is a selection of particularly valuable Russian medals available. In particular there are three versions of the Order of St George the Martyr available.

The Order of St George the Martyr Second Class Badge consists of a gold, white enamel cross pattée with a tiny piece of artwork in the centre.

It contains a gold-edged ruby enamel centre cabochon-like disc similar to that of the First Degree medal which presents the warrior Saint on a white horse, spearing the green-scaled dragon. The reverse centre is a white enamel disc with saint's black Cyrillic monogram CГ.

Between them, two of the medals are worth over a quarter of a million US dollars.

The coins in the sale really do come from all round the world with well over a hundred contributing countries: everywhere from Japan to St Kitts and from the Isle of Man to Tibet is represented.

Imperial Gold Tael coin
Imperial gold Tael coin with staring dragon

Two interesting pieces are commemorative medals from Israel which mark the twentieth (1968) anniversary of Israel's victory over armies which were trying to wipe it from the map. Both are 24 karat gold, and in uncirculated condition.

One has a relief map of Israel and the occupied territories flanked by military busts of triumphant generals on the obverse. The reverse has the stylised Hebrew letter "Kaf" with incuse dates, Menorah and Israel Defense Force emblem. It comes with a fitted olive wood case.

The other has a similar reverse, but a left-facing helmeted Dayan bust ahead of the Western Wall. The two pieces are expected to sell for $6,000-6,500 and $7,250-7,750.

However, the likely top lot is an Imperial Chinese coin: a gold Tael with the cyclical date of 1907 created in the Tientsin Mint. The obverse displays an Imperial five-clawed full-face dragon with protruding eyes showing its pupils standing out in a circle of stylised clouds.

The piece, which represents an excellent investment, is expected to sell for $50,000-75,000 in New York on January 10.


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