A rare Keying commemorative Medal... Struck to celebrate the first ever Chinese Junk to visit the UK. 1848 with original newspaper cuttings of the time.
The medal appears to have been re purposed as a button. It appears to be a period modification Likely for a Chinese jacket, a Ru or sometimes referred to as a Shan, of one of the crew members or maybe the junks captain Hesing himself.
On one side is an Engraving of the Junk and the wording
"The Chinese Junk Keying"
below the portrait of the vessel is the engravers name Halliday, Birm.
"Length 160ft Breadth 33ft. Burden 600 Tons. Depth of Hold 12ft "
on the reverse
"THIS REMARKABLE VESSEL IS A JUNK OF THE LARGEST CLASS, AND IS THE FIRST SHIP CONSTRUCTED BY THE CHINESE WHICH HAS REACHED EUROPE, OR EVEN ROUNDED THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. THIS JUNK WAS PURCHASED AUGUST, 1846, AT CANTON BY A FEW ENTERPRISING ENGLISHMEN. SHE SAILED FROM HONG KONG 6TH DECEMBER, 1846, ROUNDED THE CAPE 31ST MARCH, 1847, ARRIVED IN ENGLAND 27TH MARCH, 1848."
the inscription alludes to say the Keying, in July 1847, was the first Chinese ship to visit New York and accepted up to 7000 visitors a day. The keying was so successful as an attraction p.t. Barnum had a replica of the ship built in Hoboken. the keying arrived in Boston in November 1847 where she was moored until setting sail across the Atlantic in February 1848
the medal was struck in honour of her arrival in England. She lay in the Thames at Blackwall. A multitude visited the ship, including queen Victoria and other members of the Royal family, Charles Dickens, The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Conan Doyle and notable members of British Society. keying was a very successful attraction, the cost for admission was one shilling.
public interest eventually wained and keying was sold to Messrs cropping & forster of rock ferry, Cheshire. keying was towed from London to merseyside by steam tug, arriving on 14 may1853. she was moored at rock ferry for public exhibition. keying was eventually broken up for research in 1855.