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General Gordon Siege of Khartoum Banknote & Miniature Order of the Mejidie, 1884
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General Gordon Siege of Khartoum Banknote & Miniature Order of the Mejidie, 1884

Measurements: Frame: 12.2cm (4.75in) x 16cm (6.5in)



A miniature order of the Mejidie officer's 4th class breast badge (diameter 12mm), in silver with brilliant cut rays, central medallion in silver gilt, enamelled silver gilt suspension, period ribbon and rosette, framed with a 2500 piastres denomination card note, black text on cream card, hand stamps on face, with Charles George Gordon's hectograph signature, and authenticated with his Arabic signature seal. Dated 24 April 1884 in Arabic. Framed and glazed. Note: 6.2cm x 10cm.

After becoming cut off at Khartoum in 1884, General Gordon’s efforts to maintain morale amongst his officers included the award of pewter cast copies of his own Order of Mejidie insignia, and continuing to pay his local troops, in the face of a sudden cash crisis due to hoarding, with currency issued under the guarantee of his office. In answer to the second problem, a lithographic press was set up to print serially numbered currency notes in denominations ranging from 1 to 5000 piastres. At first these were all signed by Gordon himself, a horrendous effort considering the time involved and the heat. Later on, a rudimentary technique was developed wherein the notes, such as this one, could be signed hectographically. Gordon made it known that he was personally responsible for the liquidation of the siege notes, and invited anyone to bring action against him in a civil capacity to recover their money. Controversy surrounding their redemption lasted for several years after Gordon’s massacre at the hands of the Mahdi.