Rare pair of Qing dynasty Double Dragon awards heat up Hong Kong auction

As we've reported, Baldwin's recent auction in Hong Kong based on Chinese coins, medals and banknotes has been a startling triumph with most of the best lots easily exceeding their estimates and one selling for a full 80 times what was expected.

The pre-sale estimate of US$1,156,150 was smashed with lots achieving a staggering US$2,005,709.

Seth Freeman, Baldwin's principle auctioneer, commented after the sale "Baldwin's reputation in the East has been growing steadily over the last 15 years and we are very pleased that, yet again, industry demand for outstanding pieces outstripped the diverse number of rarities we were able to offer for sale in Hong Kong.

"A great result for both our vendors and our buyers."

Some collectors however will be particularly interested in one section in particular: the medals and awards, and whilst the selection was limited in number, the quality ensured it contributed a substantial segment of the overall total.

The best performing lot was perhaps a 1919 Silver Medal struck by the Tientsin Mint and displaying a goat on the obverse and sun over sea on the reverse which was expected to sell for just $150, but which eager bidders buffeted up to $2,600.

Order of the Double Dragon Second Class
Order of the Double Dragon Type 1, Second Class, Second Grade

However, the two top lots were as expected, the Qing Dynasty Type 1 Double Dragon medals.

The first is a second class, second grade version consisting of a star, in silver and enamel, with a central pearl instead of the usual coral. Several hallmarks appear on the back including "F.R." in Russian Cyrillic standing for Feodor Rucket, a Fabergé workmaster in Moscow and the piece was expected to bring $65,000 but pipped this to reach $70,000.

Double Dragon Third Class
Double Dragon Type 1, Second Grade, Third Class

The second, a third class second grade Double Dragon neck badge in gold and enamel was estimated at $70,000. The obverse is enamelled in blue with a central sapphire on both sides. Despite minor chips to the enamel, it is about extremely fine and extremely rare and keen bidders ensured it only left the stage for $95,000.

Collectors of fine and rare medals may wish to know that the first ever Victoria Cross awarded to a soldier is currently available.


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