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Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

Article about: Good day to all. What period does this award belong to? Why two brands and what do these hieroglyphs mean? Why does the rosette differ in the color of the stripes from the ribbon?

  1. #1
    BTR
    BTR is offline
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    Default Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Good day to all.
    What period does this award belong to?
    Why two brands and what do these hieroglyphs mean?
    Why does the rosette differ in the color of the stripes from the ribbon?

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

  2. #2

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    勲四等瑞宝章
    Kun Yon-tō Zuihōshō
    Order of the Sacred Treasure 4th Class

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    -- Guy

  3. #3
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    See this excellent website for the various marks found on these.

    Order of the Sacred Treasure | Medals of Asia

  4. #4

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    The stamp on the top arm says “ナ”, “Na” and the stamp on the lower arm says “並”, “Nami”. I can’t recall where I saw it but there was a silversmith named “並木”, “Namiki” which manufactured either badges or bonboniaire (small silver cases with a hidden compartment for confectionary which were given out to attendees of banquets hosted by the Imperial Household and other celebrities) so I believe it must indicate manufacture by such firm.

  5. #5
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    Greetings BTR,

    Perhaps I can add a bit to this thread, and of course I welcome all corrections.

    Regarding the case, the first kanji is generally accepted to be the Meiji/Taisho stylization of 勣 (kun), as opposed to what is generally accepted to be the Showa stylization of 勲 (kun). However, per JapanX (the man behind the Medals of Asia website) on GMIC and in response to one of my posts, he states that the Meiji/Taisho stylization was used into the 1930s and even late 1930s. So, the first kanji on your case does not automatically mean that the case was manufactured before December 25, 1926 (the end of Taisho and beginning of Showa).

    Showa stylization on the left and Meiji/Taisho stylization on the right:

    Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.

    Then of course we have the thorny question of “was the Sacred Treasure in your case actually issued in that case, or were the case and medal ‘married’ together at some later time”. Those questions cannot be definitively answered unless you know the unbroken provenance of the case and medal since the awarding.

    Your medal has a four rivet reverse, and per a post by JapanX on another thread on GMIC, the currently known time coordinates for such medals is 1888 to sometime in the 1940s. Of course the end coordinate could shift to a later date if new evidence of that date were to surface. I have read numerous times about theories related to dating Sacred Treasures by the geometry of the central mirror, but I must admit that I have never really investigated those theories.

    Why the different color stripes between the lapel button rosette/ribbon rosette and the ribbon? I unfortunately have no answer. I have several Sacred Treasures in my collection where the lapel button rosette has different color stripes than the ribbon, but I only have one Sacred Treasure 4th class and the ribbon rosette matches the ribbon. Medals of Asia has a picture of the opposite of your medal: the ribbon stripe is pink and the ribbon rosette stripe is yellow. See here: Orders of the Sacred Treasure with mark ヒ | Medals of Asia.

    Now on to your question about the two stamps/hallmarks. This to me is a very great mystery. I have never handled a Sacred Treasure with two hallmarks and have only seen a single picture of one, on Medals of Asia here: 3rd class Sacred Treasure Orders with One and Two Marks ナ | Medals of Asia. JapanX classifies this as possibly unique, but in his photographed example the Sacred Treasure Third Class has two of the same mark, ナ “Na” - per Akira’s post above. In your example it has two different marks, ナ “Na” and 並 “Nami” (again, per Akira’s post above). I have never seen a Sacred Treasure like this, and there is not an example of one on Medals of Asia.

    Although Medals of Asia does not mention a silversmith named 並木 “Namiki”, that site is of course not exhaustive. Your medal and Akira’s recollection may have uncovered another maker of Sacred Treasures.

    At one time JapanX was active on WRF. He was also quite active on GMIC until several months ago, but I know that he still visits the site at least once every couple of weeks. In the next couple of days I am going to snag your pictures, with full attribution to you of course, and post them on GMIC to see if he responds.

    Thank you for bringing this wonderfully mysterious Sacred Treasure to light.

    All the best,

    Tracy

  6. #6

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    Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge in your recent impressive posts. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Nothing is in your profile ... <insert frowny face here>

    Thanks,
    -- Guy
    Last edited by ghp95134; 07-11-2024 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Grammar

  7. #7

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    I scoured all the forum threads and dealer’s sites that I could think of (I initially thought it must have been in Japan X’s site but such was not the case) but could find no reference to the firm manufacturing orders who stamped their products “並” which leaves one possibility.
    There is an expensive book on early Japanese orders manufactured during the Meiji Period written by 平山晋 (Susumu Hirayama), who is known as the authority on Meiji era uniforms, which was in my late brother’s library and in it there was a chapter on the various manufacturers so that is where I must have seen it.
    It is a very well written book but it is in Japanese only, and my brother’s complaint was that the photos of the individual orders were too small, but I believe it is a must for the serious scholar on early Japanese orders. I will paste a link to the publisher’s site showing a sample page: https://www.kokusho.co.jp/catalog/9784336059345.pdf
    Last edited by Akira Komiya; 07-12-2024 at 02:00 AM.

  8. #8

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    I will paste screen shots of the book's flyer so that it won't get lost to time.
    Surprisingly, the book is still available after these years, which may not be surprising given its price tag, ¥15,000, like $90.
    I searched secondhand bookstores' sites as well as Yahoo Auctions to see if a used copy could be gotton cheaper, but the only one I was able to find was on Yahoo at a higher price than a new booK!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.   Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th class, double hallmark.  


  9. #9
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    Akira,

    Thank you for the further information and reference to the book. I will have to take a look at the book. Reading it would be lost on me, and if the photos are too small it might not be worth it. On the other hand, i do like collecting books as well.

    All the best,

    Tracy

  10. #10
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    Hello Guy,

    Thank you for your very kind words. I've updated my bio.

    All the best,

    Tracy

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