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  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885
  • China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885

Item: EG477

China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885

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$40,000

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China, Qing Dynasty. An Imperial Order of the Double Dragon, I Type, I Class, III Grade, c. 1885

(雙龍寶星). Instituted February 7, 1882 by the Guangxu Emperor, Empress Ci Xi. Type I. (1882-1897 Issue). I Class. III Grade. A rare and desirable silver gilt oblong badge with a blue and green enamelled cloud suspension, obverse centre featuring two mirrored inward facing dragons in blue enamelling with light green features and yellow enamelling on each foot and the end of the tail, three green flames with three peaks are located vertically alongside the dragons’ lower half, the dragons are chasing a sixteen point ornately designed white enamel sunburst with dark blue lines emanating from the centre, the centre presenting an opaque coral cabochon in high relief with two surrounding rings of white and green enamel, between the dragons is a vertical Manchurian inscription translating to “First Class Decoration of the Ta Chang Dynasty”, with Chinese characters in seal script present in each corner translating to “Imperially Awarded Double Dragon Precious Star”, the entire badge is outlined by an alternating “T” pattern between two thin solid lines in dark blue enamel, enamel design on corner reflects double rounded design reverse is plain, measuring 44.5mm (w) x 79mm (h – including cloud suspension), weighing 58.6 grams (excluding ribbon), relatively poor enamelling on the green flames and right dragons’ facial details, light loss of enamelling on dragon scales, lightly tainted around dragons and sunburst, small knocks and scratches on obverse, reverse faintly marked and scratched, on an unofficial ribbon, very fine condition.

Footnote: The Imperial Order of the Double Dragon was instituted on February 7, 1882 by the Guangxu Emperor and Empress Ci Xi. This is the first western-style Chinese Order, created as an attempt to adopt the Western diplomatic practices. It was originally only awarded to foreigners for outstanding service to the throne. The Order was established in five classes, the first three classes were further divided into three grades each, totalling eleven grades. As per the 1882 Statutes of the order, the First and Second classes were “only to be awarded to officials who have made exceptional contributions.” These classes were therefore not awarded to excess. The First Class, Third Grade was awarded to 'inherited' ministers, general ministers and envoys of the first rank.

The design was inspired by the national flag of the Qing Empire which features a blue five-clawed dragon chasing a red sun on a yellow background. The symbols of the precious stone and flames are representative of imperial authority. In 1897, the oblong design became obsolete and the Second Type, a more Westernized Breast Star was introduced. However, the First Type was still awarded until 1900. In 1911, the Order was replaced by the Grand Order of the Throne.

As noted by Gavin Goh in his book “The Order of the Double Dragon: Imperial China’s Highest Western Style Honour, 1882-1912” there is considerable variation in the size, shape and design of the First Type insignia, confirming that there were numerous manufacturers in China and overseas. The First Type badges of a ‘large size’ are approximately 57mm (w) x 107mm (h). Badges measuring approximately 45mm (w) x 79mm (h) are often considered ‘reduced size’ however, they remain the most visible on the recent market. Autengruber and Tammann, authors of UBS’s “World Orders-Collection Tammann: Auction 80” argue that less than 1000 First Type insignia were awarded between 1882-1900. This time period indicates that the insignia were likely all awarded to foreigners (specifically American, European, Russian and Japanese). Decorations bestowed to American and European recipients are believed to have a 25% survival rate, demonstrating just how rare the First Type badges are. 

This offering is a part of the "Dr. Albert Goodwin Collection", a preeminent assemblage of world Orders, Medals, and Decorations composed solely by Dr.Goodwin between 1946-1967. Dr. Goodwin had a successful career as an educator and prominent physician in New York as well as actively serving in both World Wars with the United States Medical Corps. He acted as both President and Vice-President of the Orders and Medals Society of America (OMSA) and is responsible for organizing their first convention in 1960. He maintained further membership with the American Society of Military Collectors, the International Orders Research Society, and the American Numismatic Society. His knowledge and passion for history and awards is evident in this meticulously compiled collection that is now available in its entirety for the first time exclusively on eMedals.com.

 

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