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Graf

FAKE BULGARIAN ORDERS ON THE MARKET

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On 06/11/2017 at 22:56, Graf said:

Such Cross in an original box can have a price tag 900-1000$

Lost it for about 1025... :(

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Wow, Is the base silver at all? Looks cheap as well. 

And what about this number (circled)? What is that doing there? 

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Base looks like plated metal (bronze or copper alloy). 

Number is there to make it look legitimate, seller said 'the number is there, it must be authentic'. Problem is that number should be on the pin, not on the base.

This is actually very convincing fake, even enamel looks real...until you stick a pin into it.

Be very careful!!!

 

 

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That is a good picture.

Who did the needle test? The Dealers are very reluctant to perform such a test

I recently saw a nice Military Star on German online dealer. I requested a test he never replied again.The Star looked very good, however few things bothered me Notice It has a number on the pin(which is there to deceive) look the finish on the silast picture ..also the letters look very thin..plus the  red enamel has no any structure/features underneath

The Numbers do not have to convince us about the item originality .The fakers know about them and they stamp the Stars to make the look good.

There is no exact information exactly wht those numbers do mean Badge number, Worker Number ????

Those number are present on some of the Stars, however not on all of them

5_bz_1_1.jpg

5_bz_1_2a.jpg

5_bz_1_3.jpg

5_bz_1_3b.jpg

5_bz_1_3c.jpg

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This 1st class star is certainly a fake.

Here are photos of real number on the pin, see how sloppy it is executed on the fake one.

MilMerit_2cl_Stamp.jpg

P1290087.JPG

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On 11/6/2017 at 02:54, Graf said:

A prototype/demonstration Cross was sold in 2010 on XV Auction of La Galerie Numiqmatique 

ORDER OF SAINT CYRIL AND METHODIUS

A manufacturer's demonstration badge. Reverse of this very rare order in bronze gilt and one-side enameled, center with enamel painting, dim. 60 x 60 mm. In perfect condition.I

Price 200 EURO plus com

 

Graf

7368558_1_x.jpg

Graf, I found something interesting - a star with identical cross and the same crowned K monogram was offered  by Liverpool Medals in the past.

Their description:

'0rder of Cyril and methodius Grand Cross breast star , very unusual star the centre in the form of
the sash badge with crowned K in centre, excellent qaulity and condition, rare'

 

Bulgaria_K&M-Star.jpg

Edited by new world

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Hi New World,

 

Good Job.

 

922F mentioned this Star on Liverpool medals in posts#191 and #193 and stated that he could not relocate this picture. Now we have the picture.

The only question is to be able to find out the exact purpose of those Star and badge ..or to accept what is already known and speculated

 

 

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I just read those 2 posts and it makes sense: Russian immigrants, society of Konstantin - that's what K stands for and crown is for him being a nobility. I just don't understand why they used design of Bulgarian order for this society.

BTW, this Mr Goodwin that is mentioned by 922F - eMedals currently has his collection and they've been selling items from it for some time.

 

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Something interesting happened few years ago (2010):

Bulgarian collector donated original dies/stamps for making some high level Bulgarian awards to a National History Museum in Bulgaria.

The tools donated amounted to 146 pieces and were from Rothe and Nefe, well known legitimate makers of Bulgarian awards. They covered award variations from Knyaz Alexander to Tsar Boris.

 

My question is - if this equipment was in private hands until 2010, was it ever used for making awards? If so, how many were made? What's worrying is that awards made on such equipment would be very difficult, if not impossible to tell apart from original period made awards, unless they don't do enamel work correctly.

 

Specific awards included:

1. Cyril and Methodius:

- Full set of Grand Collar,

- Full set of Grand Cross,

- Miniatures

2. Saint Alexander:

- Grand Cross,

- 2nd class,

- Lower classes

3. Civil Merit:

- Grand Cross Knyaz issue,

- Lower classes

4. Military Merit

- various classes

5. Miscellaneous awards, badges (Red Cross, etc.), monograms.

 

Photos of some of tools donated are attached. You can clearly see C&M tools in the photos. 

 

kolecsiia.JPG

kolekciq.JPG

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This Independence Cross looks like a crude copy - details are lacking, makers stamp unreadable, pitted surface.

IC_1.jpg

IC_2.jpg

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17 hours ago, ilieff said:

More fake Military merit orders

This one looks to have been made from scratch (perhaps a small portion of the parts of the cross might be genuine) and I must say that I am impressed (and worried).

https://balkan.auction/en/auction/3910876/royal-order-for-merit-merit-iii-degree-borisovo-issue

fake.JPG

How are enamels - hot or cold? 

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5 hours ago, new world said:

How are enamels - hot or cold?

No idea. I do not collect awards, so I couldn't possibly know - just wanted to share the ad.

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I looked the ad.

It seems the seller advises that the red and white enamel has been replaced

He knows it is a fake

 

 

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Supposedly rare tanker badge from 1944-45, made by converting German badge. 

Seller includes article form book by Todor Petrov, shield on his badge looks quite different though. 

Most likely modern conversion, attempt to transform common inexpensive German badge into something rare and significantly increase the price. 

TB_1m.jpg

TB_2m.jpg

TB_3m.jpg

Edited by new world

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Pilot badge look very suspect, they both have gray substance on the reverse instead of clean smooth finish of real badges.

PF_O_1.jpg

PF_O_2.jpg

PF_P_1.jpg

PF_P_2.jpg

real badge for comparison

REAL.jpg

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Hi New World

 

The Star from posts 202 and 203 is for sale again on eBay as "100% Original'

 

Asking Price 850$

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On 3/12/2018 at 07:44, Graf said:

Hi New World

 

The Star from posts 202 and 203 is for sale again on eBay as "100% Original'

 

Asking Price 850$

I talked to the seller and informed him that the star is fake, told him about soft enamels. He still insists it's original and unfortunately is still for sale...

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Hi,

 

One more Suspect on eBay Germany We discussed those Stars in the past

 

The seller from Ukraine claims it is 100% Original Silver 10 mm wide

 

Here is the New Suspect

I do not like many of the features at all

 

Your comments

 

Graf

Fake9.jpg

Fake10.jpg

Fake11.jpg

Fake12.jpg

Fake14.jpg

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I recall we already discussed this one, with fake engraving and serial (?) number.

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Ni New World,

 

You are correct

You presented this Star in Post 133 and we discussed it

The same Star offered again on the market

 

Cheers

 

Graf

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On 10/31/2017 at 20:02, eurorders said:

I, too, am a lover of Bulgarian kingdom orders. As an aside, I have done some research on a side, but important, area related to the manufacture of original orders of decoration, namely, the fine and difficult art of enameling. I thought I would share it for the good of the cause. It makes me appreciate so much the arduous process of making original orders of decoration.

 

Excerpted and crediting the book on Enamels by the Smithsonian Illustrated Library of Antiques and prepared by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.  Distilled.

 

  Enameling is an outstanding example of human skill and is a refined and sophisticated technique. It has been a craft patronized by the wealthy and for discerning collectors.  The jewel-like brilliance of its vitreous surface is durable and the colors in which it can be produced range from the bold and vivid to the subtle and pastel. 

The particular technical problems inherent in the enameling process with its need for successive firings and the fact that colors change during firing at different temperatures make the production of a really fine enameled piece something to be marveled it.  Enamellers have rivaled if not surpassed the work of the finest jewelers.

Enameling is an unpredictable art and a combination of intuition and science that demands perception as well as skill for a successful conclusion.

Enamel is a vitreous glass glaze that is fused to a metal base. The chemical constituents are silica (sand), borates, alkalis (soda and potash), alkalines (lime, magnesia, lead) and oxides of metals for coloring.  There are four4 basic types: opaque, opalescent, translucent and transparent. Production methods include: cloisonné, champlevé (raised field), basse-taille (shallow cut), guilloche (engine-turned), Plique a jour, also known as email de plique. There is also filigree and skan enameling as well as en plain (on an open field). Blue enamel is produced by cobalt. Carbonate of copper produces green, manganese produces purple, oxide of gold produces some pinks and reds.  The color is affected by the constitution of the molten glass (flux) and by the type or quantity of the oxide. The majority of enamel colors cannot be mixed to give an intermediate shade. Most of them must be prepared with their own specific oxide.

The steps, condensed:

1.      The article the enamel is applied to is washed and plunged into a diluted acid to etch the surface in order to give a good key (allover roughness) to which the enamel can adhere.  The piece is washed again.

2.      Raw enamel is pulverized with water until it is reduced to a fine power. The powder is washed multiple times in distilled water. It is dried and sifted through a fine sieve.

3.      It is applied to metal either in powdered form mixed with water and gum tragacanth or by brush or palette knife in which case it must first be mixed with a volatile oil such as spike (lavender) oil or oil of sassafras.

4.      Several layers are required to form a cover and each must be dried thoroughly then fired before the next is applied. Firing takes place in a kiln or furnace at temperatures between 600 and 850 degrees Centigrade (or 1110 to 1562 Fahrenheit). Intense white heat is essential to achieve the temperature at which enamel will fuse to metal. Firing takes only a few minutes.

5.      Rapid cooling would have a detrimental effect, creating a brittle enamel that could easily crack or scale.

6.      Different colors are fired at varying temperatures, those that can withstand the greatest heat, such as brown, blue and green, being fired first. There are multiple applications and firings. In the case of painted enamels, up to 20 firings may be needed. Each time an object is fired, great care must be taken to protect already used colors from damage caused by overfiring.  Many articles also are coated on both sides. Once the metal is enclosed between two layers of enamel, the combined substances react simultaneously, another difficult task.

7.      The enamel is filed down with carborundum until smooth, fired then polished with the finest pumice powder.

 

Excerpted from the book, Enameling for Beginners by Edward Winter.  Distilled.

   Raw materials for opaque white enamels will melt into liquid glass in from three and a half to four hours, smelting at 2,300 degrees F.  By changing the proportions of the ingredients, the opacity or transparency, hardness or softness of enamel is determined. These ingredients are: silica, arsenic oxide, potassium carbonate, borax and lead oxide. (Feldspar is also an ingredient).

   Focused flames are directed onto the enamel to keep it flowing freely. The molten enamel can be  poured into tanks of water to break it up into small particles called frit. Lumps of frit can be crushed into powder that will pass through an 80 or 100 mesh sieve. The powder is then shaken through a sieve onto a platform.

   Enamel is wet ground in a ball mill. A typical mixture for a small size mill would be 100 parts frit, six parts of clear clay, a fourth part of potassium carbonate and 40 cubic centimeters (about a cup) of water.  The produces a slip or slush enamel.

    When grinding is completed, the enamel is dumped, along with the porcelain grinding balls, into a large 200 mesh sieve resting on a basin. The slush enamel is then shaken through the sieve into the basin.

   Chromel steel tongs and fork can be used for placing enamel pieces in and out of the furnace.  Chromel steel trivets, fire-clay stilts and chromel wire screens support enamel pieces for firing. Enamels of unusual shape need specially designed trivets to hold them successfully.

  Gum tragacanth, a whitish vegetable gum derived from sea plants, is applied in solution form to metal surfaces to bind the dry, sifted enamel upon them before firing. The flakes should be dissolved by boiling in a basin of water. The resultant solution which should have a watery consistency, is applied with a camel’s hair brush. A few drops of alcohol will keep it from fermenting.

   Vitreous enamel is the producing of the melting together of the correct proportion of materials in a smelter that reaches a temperature of about 2,100 degrees F.

  A complete book could be written about the science of producing colors and the great assortment of subtle tones and shades which are crafted.  With most manufacturers, these formulae are guarded secrets and handed down. Color is given to the glass enamels by the addition of certain metallic oxides before the raw material batch is smelted and during this melting process the colored enamel is made.

    Liquid slush or enamel slip colors are processed differently, since colorants and oxides are added to the clear enamel frit by the manufacturer and ground up with the addition of prescribed proportions of water, fine clay and chemical salts in the porcelain ball mill.

  Enamels for steel, copper and silver are similar in so far as firing temperature is concerned, fusing after two to three minutes at 1,450 to 1,500 degrees F.

 

Excerpted from the book, Metalwork & Enameling by Herbert Maryon.  Distilled.

 

  Enamel should not be exposed to the direct blast of the flame or it may be discolored. The method is dangerous for firing small silver articles, they melt so easily. Iron scales or rust will discolor clear glass flux or frit, so the enamel must be protected against any accidental flaking of the iron support on which it is fired.

   All colors must be ground equally find and the heat of furnace needs to reach them all to the same (amount of coverage).

   In bassetaille enamel, the metal groundplate is chased or sometimes engraved in such a way that its modeled surfaces beneath the enamel form an essential part of the design. Undulating surfaces are visible through the enamel that covers them and take an important share in producing the final effect.

   If some wet, powdered enamel is to be laid down beside another patch which is still wet, care must be taken that the boundary line between them does not become irregular. The most convenient way to prevent this is to add a little gum tragacanth to each batch of enamel and to allow the first colors to dry before the next are laid alongside them. They will not then spread much on to their neighbor’s territory.

   In a bassetaille enamel, because so much of its effect depends upon the modeling of the metal beneath it, the enamel itself must have a level and well-polished surface. All depressions in the enameled surface should be filled up and refired and the surface ground level and polished.

   Any soldered joints must be protected by painting them with rouge or whiting.  For more elaborate work, it is sometimes necessary to provide a support made from plaster of Paris. The plaster is made to envelop large portions of the work, leaving exposed only those parts on which the enamel is to come. When all the soldering and cleaning up has been finished and the work is ready for the enameling, it is set up on an iron  furnace plate. Plaster of Paris is mixed in a spoon and spread over the work with a spatula. Every part may be covered with plaster except those surfaces which are to be enameled. The work may be fired again and again if necessary, but at no time must a soldered joint be left unprotected.

This post about the extremely difficult process of expert enameling is an excellent reminder to all of us who buy enameled insignia for our collections. The collector's best friend to inspect enamel and other small details is a high quality magnifying glass. I've found that magnifiers with at least two powers is best; one lens of about 5X to get an enlarged view of a main section, then a 10X at least to view tiny areas like hallmarks, makers marks and telltale signs of fakery like casting pits, etc.

Having attended incalculable numbers of numismatic conventions over 55+ years of coin dealing and collecting, where magnifying glass are seen everywhere, I am always amazed when attending medal or militaria shows where one hardly sees a collector using a magnifier to view a medal or enameled Order. They seem more apt to accept the notion that what they're looking at, at arm's length, really is what it purports to be...but we know that very often, and increasingly now as with these excellent Bulgarian fakes, they are not. A quality magnifier used wisely will pay for itself many times over.

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