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About ilieff

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  1. Dear all, Here's a photograph of the Prime-minister and regent Stefan Stambolov. He's one of the few people presented with the first class set (along with the other two regents). His badge is obviously a generic example with green-enamelled ring as opposed to a gilded one. In addition, below is a photograph of the awarding certificate given to him and singed by the new Monarch. It's dated 1st September 1887 and should be a genuine document, even though I cannot prodive you with its source. The two images together indicate that the green enamelled orders started to be awarded [not later than September] in 1887, while we know for a fact that the commanders of the Serbo-Bulgarian war (e.g. General Nikolaev, General Petrov, etc) have been decorated a year earlier (in 1886) with second classes of the same order but their badges are having gilded outer rings instead. This points to the conclusion that the 'gilded ring' design has been discontinued in mid 1886 (with few exceptions). Another clue is the unique rounded breast star, worn by Alexander I, which also features green enamel. Of course, not everything is that straight-forward when it comes to the highest classes of Bulgarian orders. I think that the highest classes were being given only by the Monarchs grace (especially during Ferdinand's reign) and in the majority of cases personally by Him. A contemporary of the Prince wrote in his memoirs that Ferdinand had his own stash with orders in stock, independantly from the Chancellary of Bulgarian orders (though we cannot be certain of the purpose of these 'stashed' decorations). Also, I think that the 'gilded ring' orders were not only of Imperial Russian manufacure. Some decorations of the Battenberg period were indeed Austrian made and logically, certain numbers of the Order "For Bravery" could well be, too, considering the suspended diplomatic relations with Russia after September 1885 and the need for more orders in early 1886.
  2. Hi Vazov, Here's a slightly more clear image of the same display at the museum (yes, lighting is very limited in there, so any photos would be dim and blurry). I've also noticed the unusual gilded ring example. Prince Romanoff shows such examples in his book. I do not have any information in this regard though. These must be either part of a limited Battenberg/Early Ferdinand batch which obviously has features of both the early and late issues, or a generic piece with changed rings (which is very unlikely). Ilieff
  3. Dear members, Following your suggestions, I am now trying to collect some image samples of the awarding document and cases for the various decorations. Understandably, I am having trouble finding some of the 'rare birds', like for example documents and cases for the Bravery order. I was only able to find images of cases of up to 3rd class 2nd grade. Is any of you able to provide an image of a 3rd class 1st grade box? I assume it's the same as the 4th class 1st grade, only the class mark being III instead of IV? Regards, Ilieff
  4. Thank you all, I am flattered. Graf, regarding your question - I am not too sure yet as I am currently at the stage of planning and gathering information. Considering the current design in place, I assume that the presentation of documents/cases would follow the set guidelines, hence I assume single images would be better. Also, it will be good to quote document/case sizes in centimetres or inches, if applicable. jaba1914, Thanks, unfortunately (of perhaps fortunately), the scope of the website is set to orders, medals and distinctions, at present. PS: If you'd like to communicate and/or send in images privately, please do so at
  5. Hi New world, I am well aware of the difference between Grand and Great crosses and I am not saying there were Grand crosses (as such) prior to 1933-36. The two points I wanted to make are that (a) the old 1st class was simply rebranded as Grand cross* after 1936, while the new 1st class only inherited its name, and (b) that the new 1st class cannot be treated as an award of the same hierarchy as the old 1st class, hence why I decided to put these into different sections in my webpage. *That's what Prof. Petrov indireclty states too. Apologies to the other members. I hope you did not get bored. You are welcome to your opinions on the subject too.
  6. Hi, @new world Please see two extracts from Petrov's book which clearly show he also does not make a clear difference between the pre-1933 1st class and the official Grand cross. Also, sizes are pretty much the same even after 1933. The Grand cross is about 75mm, just like the 1st class used to be until then. Breast star is another story. Anyhow. As for your suggestions: 1. and 2. have been covered in ther FAQ section of the site and in post #16 in this topic. 3., 4. and 6. - such examples and reconstructions can be seen in the 'more' section of the website. 5. Badges (in the sense of uniface pin-back metal pieces) are not officially recognised decorations and would not be considered. Regards, I
  7. Hi @new world Here are my answers: 1. I haven't seen a genuine and full list of the foreign recipients of the order. I will try to find one. 2. I only show reverse of some badges because of two main facts: Firstly, images take up a lot of server memory and the less images the faster and smoother the website would load. Secondly, the obverse of the badges are usually similar (if not identical) to other classes of the same emission, thus, for example, showing the obverse of a 4th class and then reverse of a 5th class (of the same period) gives you the general idea how the other side of these would look like. Generally, the website is supposed to improve the knowledge of the general public and if it's too 'technical' in details, collectors would enjoy it but others would dismiss it, being too complicated and overly populated with images and info. I hope you get what I mean. 3. I agree. The reason why I listed the earlier 1st Class under the Grand cross section is because, in its essence, it was a grand cross-style decoration and they were only called '1st Classes' due to the vassal status of Bulgaria at that time (a vassal state cannot have a Grand cross decoration). And this applies to all three orders - of St. Alexander, of Civil merit and of Military merit. Then again, if I listed these under 1st class, that would, strictly speaking, downgrade them. This is proved indirectly by the fact that their design remains practically unchanged and it's actually the newly established 1st class which undergoes serious changes in its appearance. Trust me, it took a lot of consideration as to how to list these. Other members may also express their opinions. 4. This topic is covered in the FAQ section. Basically, after the death of the King in 1943, the awarding procedures are immensely influenced by internal and external political agenda. Collectors and some researches tend to combine these periods into one but only due to the resemblance of the awards. However, I treat this as incorrect and would abstain from treating these three periods as one. Especially for the so called republican period when awards were literally butchered (as, by the way, seen from another topic in the forum) just to erase a cypher or a crown. 5. I am not quite sure what you mean by classification. Is it the wording of the names of the classes themselves? @922F Wow! I have never seen such thing, nor has heard anyone mentioning of it. If it's indeed an earlier trail variant of the distinction, then it might well have been considered as being an order, rather than an honorary distinction. Ilieff
  8. Hi Igor, I do not currently live in Bulgaria and cannot pay regular visits to the museum. Plus, it will take some time as I've asked if they have ready photographs and they said 'No!'. Taking photographs of the awards would also involve money. Ilieff
  9. Thanks all, @922F badge, sash and star? Are you referring to a 'grand cross'-style decoration of the honourary distinction worn over the shoulder? If so, I've never heard of it. As for the second question - I think Graf already answered it, plus the Catholic Order of SS Cyril and Methodius, being an ecclesiastical order, is not an officially recognised decoration in Royal Bulgaria. @Igor Ostapenko Well noted. Even though that we cannot be certain that only the earlier first type was being awarded with rosette, I will replace the image accordingly. @Graf Thanks, I did add two images from the 1937 edition (both V class, I think) but these were poor quality and hard to find too. I will use your images, as these are of a better quality, if you don't mind. Also, as already several individuals outside this forum have requested, I will try to collect and add in images of the awarding documents and cases, too. If you're willing to contribute with pictures, please contact me. I know it will be next to impossible to find exaplmes of them all
  10. Thank you all for the kind words. Much appreciated. @Egorka Zoom level is determined, based on the size of the image. I've deliberately decreased the size and standardised the images, in order to have a smoother loading of the actual website. It's a pity, I know. @new world I wish I had a straight-forward answer to your question. There are at least 4 types of sources - images which have been sent to me by collectors I know (e.g. some of the Red cross badges), images of the so called Royal Collection, again sent to me personally; images which I've taken myself while visiting the museum in Sofia (e.g. the rare variations of the Military order or the first type of the Order of merit) and there's also numerous images which I've came across online. Unfortunately, during the years I haven't noted the sources of the latter and now I am unable to quote their original source correctly. I hope this answers your question.
  11. Dear all, I'd like to share with you the project which I've been working on for the past 20 months. It's a website, dedicated to the Bulgarian orders, honour badges and medals from the Royal period and is available in both English and Bulgarian languages. Here it is: I'd like to ask for your opinions and remarks/recommendations, so if you've got some spare time, please express your views here or [anonymously] using the website itself. This would be much appreciated and would help me improve the content. Also, in continuation of my previous topic in this forum (about King Ferdinand's awards), I've recently been honoured with the privilege to acquire high-resolution images of some of the unique orders which belonged to Him, now part of the Royal Collection. These can also be seen on the website. Please note that is not a commercial entity - it does not host any advertisements, marketing content or alike and is not being funded in anyway. Thanks, Ilieff
  12. Thank you for the provided photos, graf. I agree with you that badges of the first type in stock at the Chancellary might have been 're-crowned' with the later type of crown after 1893 (i.e. the year the first flat-top crown appers on the Wedding commemorative medal), OR, That the production dies for these badges remianed the same for a certian period of time, while the actual assembly was made using the newer crowns by the manufacturer. This is indirectly backed up by the fact that the production of these badges was very very expensive at the time and re-working the old stock would be cheaper, as opposed to ordering a whole new lot of decorations. I, personally, disagree with the wide-spread notion that flat top crowns are 'royal', as opposed to rounded ones being 'princely'. If you look at their features, it's actually the same crown, just different rendition. The inconsistent labelling is a legacy of the generalisation of some historical periods in Bulgarian history. Truth is, that a large portion of the awrads which people like Prof. Pavlov call 'royal ferdinand' emission, represent decorations being awarded on behalf of Ferdinand I as Prince. In my humble opinion, emissions should not be generalised as certain historians do. In this sense, you are correct to say that the V class badge of yours is of the period of the Bulgarian Pricipality, even though that it might not be part of the first type (The differences being, as you said, minor, but the Rothe one has obviously been minted using different dies - the oak branches are different too). As I've mentioned in other topics, prof. Pavlov's book is a very nice piece of information, but it has some inconsistencies, especially for the early royal period, when Bulgarian awards were predominantly awarded abroad. The current scarcity of early princely awards in Bulgaria has caused some of the statements to be based on assumptions. E.g. if you look closer at the images of IV, V and VI classes of the Order of Civil merit with domed-shaped crown, you'll notice that it's the same award, only being digitally altered to look as it's supposed to in these classes. And I am not saying this is not acceptable, but this proves that there's still a lot to be researched for the Bulgarian royal decorations. Regards,
  13. Most impressive! You should be very proud of this collection, graf. What about breast stars? Is it just from the photos, or is the ladies cross without crown slightly greater than the one with crown? Also, are you sure that the Knights cross without crown is of this first type? From the photos it appears to be of a later period.
  14. Hi all, I have seen many decorations which are missing their original ribbons. In most cases, people would restrain from purchasing these or would only do so when these are being offered in a lot with other decorations. It's a pity. I'd like to supply those 'orphaned' orders and medals with suitable complimentary replacement ribbons. I've been experimenting with some vintage ribbons in a trial to create replacement ribbons which look genuine enough to me. Here are some photographs of what I've came up with. 1. Neck ribbon for the Royal order of St. Alexander - to suit badges 2nd/3rd class. Length:350-355mm (excl. laces), Width:38-39mm 2. Triangular ribbon for the Military Order - to suit 3rd/4th classes of the latter but also Order of Military merit (badges 4th, 5th and 6th classes) and Order of Merit. Length of the sides of the triangle: about 47-49mm 3. Triangular ribbon with rosette for the Officer's (4th) class of the Order of St.Alexander. Length of the sides of the triangle: about 47-49mm 4. Triangular ribbon for the Order of St. Alexander (Early, princely type) - to suit 5th/6th classes of the latter, Order of Merit or Medal of Merit. Length of the sides of the triangle: about 47-49mm 5. Triangular ribbon for the Order of St. Alexander - to suit 5th/6th classes of the latter, Order of Merit or Medal of Merit. Length of the sides of the triangle: about 47-49mm Unfortunately, ribbons for the other orders and medals are, at present, far too expensive to recreate, as they consist of several colours. I'd be happy to get your feedback and/or suggestions. If you'd like to have any of these replacement ribbons, please let me know. My only condition is that you post an image of your award in here and then once more along with the ribbon. Thanks, Ilieff PS: Pictures are not quite clear, sorry. In reality, the ribbons are shinier
  15. Side notice: Prince D. Romanov, head of the House of Romanov and author of several books on orders and medals, have passed away on 31st Dec 2016, aged 90. He was probably one of the few people who, back in the 80s, had access to the full collection of orders and medals of Bulgarian Kings, part of the archive of King Simeon II.