Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) A medal given to Chiang Kai-shek in 1930 is in his mausoleum in northern Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday 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Historical documents compiled by the Presidential Office show that the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon given to Chiang was buried with the late Republic of China president at his mausoleum in Daxi, Taoyuan County, ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said at a news conference.
According to the documents and photos of Chiang being put into his coffin, the former president wore that medal and two others when he was entombed in Daxi in 1975, Luo said.
The spokesman was responding to reports that the medal will be auctioned by Spink & Son in Hong Kong 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 its value at HK$3-HK$5 million (US$386,757-US$644,595).
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, which is now Taiwan's official name.
According to Luo, Chiang, who headed the Nationalist government and the Chinese Nationalist forces at the time he received the medal, was only presented with one such order, and Spink & Son said the medal it is auctioning is 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.
However, a spokeswoman for Spink & Son told CNA that the medal has 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, said the spokeswoman.
"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.
In 2011, a collector from Taoyuan also claimed to have Chiang's Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon, which was purchased around 10 years ago at a cost of NT$8 million (US$267,053), the report said, adding that it was later sold to another person.
At Tuesday's conference, Luo said that an authentic medal would come with a certificate that records the achievements of the recipient.
(By Elaine Hou, Scully Hsiao and Stanley Cheung)