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The China War Medal

The original design for the China Medal of the early 1840s, by William Wyon, depicted a crowned British Lion standing over a defeated Chinese Dragon.   As would be expected of Wyon, it was undoubtedly attractive but the suspicion has always been that officials were worried about the offence that might be caused to the Chinese by showing the Dragon in such a symbolically vanquished manner.


The medal in this form was never issued and the unmounted specimen in the Mint collection is one of the few of this original type that has survived.   An alternative version was prepared for the medals as subsequently awarded, also designed by William Wyon, with a less controversial arrangement of a trophy of arms.