Fantastic Order of the Double Dragon, Type I, First Class Badge

The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April Hong Kong Auction is now just days
away! Before the sessions go live be sure to browse the full April Hong Kong
Showcase Auction catalog here and
this highlight here. Today’s
preview is a lovely and historically significant piece of exonumia. The Order
of the Double Dragon was China’s first Western-style order, championed by Sir
Robert Hart, the British Inspector General of Chinese Imperial Customs. This
order was likely instituted in July 1882. The First and Second Class were only
doled out to officials who "made exceptional contributions" and were
conferred by the Emperor. This type (First Class, Third Grade) was awarded to
high Chinese noble officials, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and top ranking
Chinese and foreign military and naval officers.

The badges were rectangular and feature two Imperial-style serpentine
dragons ascending at either side of the Manchu inscription which runs
vertically in the center on the badge. The Manchu inscription states: “First
Class Decoration of the Ta Ching Dynasty.” A fiery jewel (red enamel in place
of Coral, denoting third grade) is found at the apex toward which the dragons
are flying. Chinese inscriptions are found in each of the four corners.

Though our Stack’s Bowers April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is no longer
open for consignments, we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient
coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins
and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running
short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency
(whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our
consignment directors.

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