A medal given to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in 1930 is in his mausoleum in northern Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday amid reports that the medal is to be auctioned in Hong Kong later this month.
Historical documents compiled by the Presidential Office show that the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon given to Chiang was entombed with the late president at his mausoleum in Taoyuan County’s Dasi Township (大溪), ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said at a news conference.
According to the documents and photographs of Chiang being put into his coffin, the former president wore that medal and two others when he was entombed in Dasi in 1975, Lo said. The spokesman was responding to reports that the medal will be auctioned by Spink & Son in Hong Kong on Aug. 24.
“It is the first time this precious medal, in exceptional condition, has ever appeared at auction and is expected to generate enormous interest amongst collectors,” the company said in a statement, estimating the medal’s value at between HK$3 million and HK$5 million (US$386,760 and US$644,600).
The Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon is awarded to military officers who make great contributions to safeguarding the Republic of China. According to Lo, Chiang was only presented with one such medal, and Spink & Son said the medal it was auctioning was the one he was presented with.
“Of particular note, this medal on offer, bearing the characters ‘Special One’ instead of the usual numbering, is unique as evidenced by a well-known photograph of Chiang Kai-shek wearing the flipped-over medal revealing the characters,” the company said in its statement.
A Spink & Son spokeswoman said that the medal had been confirmed by several experts to have belonged to Chiang.
The medal is embossed with the Chinese characters for “Special One” and is to be auctioned by Spink China, the Hong Kong branch of Spink & Son, the spokeswoman said.
“Several months ago, someone came to Spink & Son’s Hong Kong branch seeking to auction this medal. The experts we turned to are certain that it is authentic,” she added.
Last year, a collector from Taoyuan also claimed to have Chiang’s Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon, which was purchased about 10 years ago at a cost of NT$8 million (US$267,000), the report said, adding that it was later sold to another person.
Lo yesterday said an authentic medal would come with a certificate that records the achievements of the recipient.