HONG KONG – A medal awarded to late Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek is going up for auction in Hong Kong, even though Taiwan's defense ministry says it's not the original.
The Order of Blue Sky and White Sun medal is going on the block Friday. It's expected to fetch 3-5 million Hong Kong dollars ($387,000-$645,000).
Auction house Spink says Chiang was awarded the medal in 1930 by his Nationalist government, which ruled much of China while fighting a civil war with the Communists. In 1949, the defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan and set up a rival regime.
Taiwan's defense ministry said last week, after Spink announced plans for the auction, that Chiang was laid to rest in a mausoleum with the medal when he died in 1975.
But at a press preview on Tuesday for the sale, collector and scholar Chuk Hong-ming said Chiang was buried with a duplicate medal.
"Before 1995, it was the usual practice to give a new set of the medals to a general who passed away for burial," he said.
The auction house says it's the first time the medal has ever gone up for auction.