Courage from around the world: Medals from many countries head for Vienna

Later this month, La Galerie Numismatique is offering an extraordinary range of orders and decorations, with medals from all round the world on show.

The awards hail from literally dozens of countries with pieces from Afghanistan to Peru, from Congo to Iran and from Peru to the Vatican. So it's only right that the four most covetable pieces we'll look at come from all round.

Firstly, there is our old friend the Order of the Double Dragon from China. Always impressive, the fine piece weighs 34g, most of that gold, with the obverse showing Chinese inscriptions and two silver carved dragons.

Kingfisher feathers have been used as blue coloured surround, and the centrepiece is a glass sapphire stone. The reverse is embossed with the outlines of the two dragons, and the suspension ring is also gold. Extremely fine and rare, it is expected to sell for €15,000.

Romanian medal: Order of Carol I
Romanian medal: The Order of Carol I

The Order of Carol I was the highest Romanian order, instituted on May 10th, 1906, as part of the 40th jubilee celebration of King Carol of Hohenzollern. It was awarded until 1932 in four classes: Collar, Grand Cross, Grand Officer and Commander.

Only 10 sets of the Grand Cross version were awarded to Romanian citizens making this a unique opportunity for collectors. It even comes in its original red case of issue with the cipher of Carol I.

It comprises a sash badge and breast star with a silver eagle on each, the eagle wearing a crown on its head, a gold medallion depicting Carol I on its chest and wielding a sword and a sceptre in its claws, the decoration is expected to achieve €18,000.

Russian Medal: Order of St Anna
Russian Medal: The Order of St Anna

Russia has produced some of the most striking medals in existence, and the Order of St Anna breast cross on offer is certainly no exception.

Primarily rendered in red, convex enamel it is decorated with four pear-shaped and nine brilliant-cut circular diamonds, and an enamel miniature of the saint, tiny but beautiful, appears in the centre. It is listed at €18,000.

Turkish medal: Order of Medidje
Turkish medal: The Order of Medidje

Unusually, however, the top lot is expected to be a medal from Turkey: the Order of Medidje (third class, Commander's Cross). A neck badge completely set with brilliant-cut stones and displaying Islamic crescent and swords throughout, it is centred on a gold and red enamel emblem displaying the Sultan's insignia.

A very rare and excellently made piece in extremely fine condition, it leads the sale which takes place in Vienna, Austria and online on November 18.


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