Rare medals fetch big sums at Sotheby’s

by Tessa Holland

Kyodo

A collection of 35 sought-after Japanese and Japanese-related medals, orders and decorations far exceeded all official estimates when they were sold at prestigious auction house Sotheby’s in central London last month.

Highlights of the sale included an extremely rare breast star of the Order of the Golden Kite, awarded to senior officers for exceptional bravery in action and abolished after the war, and a noted breast badge of the Order of the Sacred Crown.

The Order of the Golden Kite became the star of the sale, fetching £5,750 — nearly £2,000 more than its estimated value — when it was bought by Stacks, the prominent New York coins and medals dealer.

The staggering return on the rare breast star, which was originally acquired for just $20 back in 1913, was reported as “surpassing all auctioneers’ expectations.”

In total, the 35 medals, orders and decorations within the Japanese section fetched a healthy £18,929.

The collection was previously owned by the American Numismatic Society, which, from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, accumulated more than 5,000 world campaign and gallantry medals, orders and decorations.