Estimate: 10 000 GBP
Price realized: 11 000 GBP
Iran, Persian Empire, The Royal Persian Order of the Lion and the Sun, Grand Cross Breast Star, Russian-made, circa 1850, by Andrews of St. Petersburg, in pierced silver, rose gold and enamels, of superb quality manufacture, backplate in pale gold engraved 'Andrews à St Petersbourg', with vertical brooch-pin for suspension (keeper now lacking), 88mm, extremely fine and an exceptional early Russian-made breast star. Presumed to have been commissioned by Keir Grant some years after his formal award of the Order of the Lion and the Sun for wear in conventional European style. This high-quality Russian-made badge by Andrews of St. Petersburg may well have been ordered in Paris. Awarded to Major-General Sir William Keir Grant K.C.B., G.C.H., 6th Dragoon Guards, late 15th Light Dragoons, who became Colonel of the Royal Scots Greys. William Keir (later Keir Grant) was one of just eight Officers of the 15th Light Dragoons to receive the spectacular gold Ehrenmedaille für Englische Kavalleriste, expressly awarded by the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, for gallantry in saving him personally from capture by French forces at the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies (which is variously spelled in historical records), near Cambrai, in 1794. As it so happened, Keir Grant was later to become the recipient of an equally rare honour – the Collar and insignia of the Order of the Lion and Sun of Persia - for commanding a major British military expedition to the 'Pirate Coast' on the south-eastern Persian Gulf. Having roundly defeated the enemy and pacified the pirate stronghold of Ras al-Khaimah, Keir Grant succeeded in securing an agreement with a number of important tribal leaders, leading to an historic Peace Treaty of 1820 which heralded local truces and the foundation of the Trucial Sheikhdoms as well as the abolition of the Slave Trade in the area. Modifications to the Treaty and a full revision many decades later, in 1892, contributed to an enhanced British presence in the Southern Gulf and important new relationships with the Trucial Sheikhdoms. A loose British Protectorate was to last until the gaining of their independence on 2 December 1970, in turn leading to the creation of the United Arab Emirates.