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utopis

So called "St. Sava for non Christians"

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Some time ago this, so called St. Sava for non Christians was offered for sale on auction at a staggering starting price of 9000€, accompanied by the following description:

"Serbia - St. Sava Order 2. model (1903-1945) for Non-christians Grandofficers Set.

1.) Cross: Silver partially gilded and enamelled multiple parts and open work on movable crown on decorated neck ribbon ring with likly incorrect neck ribbon 2.) Star: Body silver diamond cut multiple parts device partially gilded and enamelled open work device reverse twice screwed on on pin.#88 x 52 mm / 93 x 89 mm325 g / 862 g.##Contrary to the regular decorations the following differences are obvious - the breast shields of the double-head-eagles in the corners of the arms are removed as well as the dedication in the medallion wreath St. Sava from the medallion was replaced by the Iron Crown of the Lombardy. The changes where made in juweleres quality and before the decoration itself was assembled. #The Order was given for various merits in the civil sector as well for merits in the field of Religion. Like in Russia - wehre there are decorations for Non-christians - in the christian-orthodoy-muslim Serbia they did same with the Order that was named after a christian Saint. Saint Sava as well as the medallion circumscription dedicated to him that can easily be viewed as christian representatives where replaced by the Iron Crown of Lombardy. The crown is an ancient symbole of crowning - it should originate from the 5. Century and was first posessed by the Ostrogoths King Theoderich and was used for crowning first time by Konrad III. Many more crownings should follow. Therfor its a simbole showing the legitimacy of the serbian royal dignity which made an award to a Non-christian then also possible. Of greates rarity."

Never having heard of a piece like that I was quite skeptical at first. And it didn't get better from there on. Having spoken to our dear member paja, he confirmed my concerns.

So what's the idea behind this piece? Since Sava is a Christian saint, an award bearing his depiction would be unfit for a recipient believing in a different religion.

So far the story but is it likely that these pieces were awarded? I don't think so.

First of all why has no other piece been seen or even mentioned in the corresponding literature? Surely there was more than one award to non Christians. What about the Japanese medal bars we have seen with St Savas? - All of them were standard issues.

What about the Crown of Lombardy? How has that anything to do with Serbia? I think the logic was supposed to be that the iron crown was the first insignia of Christendom, which also wouldn't be fitting for non Christians.

Another thing: The star base appears to be Huegenin made (so post WWI)- why would anyone consider the sign of an enemy state (formerly part of the Austrian Order of the Iron Crown) as a fit? Why not just follow the Russian example and put the double headed eagle at the center?

This looks to me like an authentic order that has been doctored just to make some extra bucks.

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Utopis, these are well known and the pieces are fake, doctored up to look cool and make a buck, there is definatley no Saint Sava for non-Christians, I won't repeat the evidence that you've already posted.

I have a photo somewhere on the harddrive of a St. Sava 5th class for "non Christians" fakery if I find it I'll post it ;) but our local fake seller (who advertised as fakes) used to sell these at his stall at the shows.

Edited by Rogi

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It was great that you brought up this topic, as they go around in-frequently on the market, the only reason I've known for a while now and tracked these as they occasionally appear is because of the guy that used to sell fakes at a couple shows here. He had a lot of interesting combos and didn't mind talking about the pieces either :)

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It really pains me to see someone practically destroyed 1st class order to make this "rare variant".

Luckily no one was foolish enough to pay 9000€ + premium (at least I hope so) for it. I also like their estimate: €9000 – €18000!
One big thanks to utopis for starting this topic, to be honest I never saw something like that before.

Rogi it would be great if you could find that photo of 5th class and post it :)

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One more interesting Sorlini's St. Sava got sold on Bene Merenti recently. 

Now you can see it on emedals: http://www.emedals.com/a-serbian-order-of-st-sava-grand-cross-breast-star-1915-1941

Link to BM auction: http://www.benemerenti.de/php/us_vorschau.php?lnr=4&wnr=ABB
LotNo.: 0939 "The medallion wreath in variant issue" whatever that means.
b_5364.jpgb_5365.jpg

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I see that one more interesting piece found its way to emedals. I presume the central metal piece with inscription and Danilo's cipher fell off and someone replaced it. The cipher that we can see is unusually large and lacks the princely crown, that is something I've never seen on Mayer's piece.
http://www.emedals.com/a-montenegrin-order-of-danilo-second-class-breast-star-by-vinc-mayer-wien

Link to Bene Merenti auction: http://www.benemerenti.de/php/us_vorschau.php?lnr=4&wnr=ABB
LotNo.: 0121 "Very curios issue, where the medaillon shows only the cipher, without the crown and its surrounding motto."

 


b_5001.jpgb_5002.jpgb_5003.jpg

Edited by paja

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If someone did that on purpose in order to make a "special variant" then he or she is an idiot.
It seems more likely, at least to me, that someone decided to pretty it up after losing part of the order with motto surrounding St. Sava. 

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Hello,

I've just seen this discussion on the St. Sava Order for non-Christians.

From what I remember, this isn't actually a butchered order, but the group of a "self-styled" order, made with the basis of a St. Sava one.

Honestly, I don't remember the exact name of this "honour", but it should have been something like the "Imperial, Byzantine Order of the Crown": I remember an identical set in the shop of Messrs. Cravanzola/Gardino of Rome in 2010, shortly before the sale and closure of their ancient shop in via del Corso. This one could be the same group (but the badge was suspended to a red sash).

It is not a mystery that actual orders are often modified to prepare "privately instituted" ones.

Later, the various passages and the fantasy of some temporary owner probably do the rest.

Enzo (E.L.)

 

 

Edited by Elmar Lang

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On 8/11/2016 at 11:31, Elmar Lang said:

From what I remember, this isn't actually a butchered order, but the group of a "self-styled" order, made with the basis of a St. Sava one.

Honestly, I don't remember the exact name of this "honour", but it should have been something like the "Imperial, Byzantine Order of the Crown": I remember an identical set in the shop of Messrs. Cravanzola/Gardino of Rome in 2010, shortly before the sale and closure of their ancient shop in via del Corso. This one could be the same group (but the badge was suspended to a red sash).

I also just saw this topic. If this were a "Byzantine Crown order" why would it have the crown of Lombardy in the center medallion?

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Let's never forget that the fantasy of the "creators" of self-styled orders has no limits. More, the maker uses what's available off-the-shelf.

E.L.

 

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Besides all of the sleuthing (and common sense) posted here regarding this imaginative bauble, there are a few more salient points that don't stand up to the 'for non-Christians', label. What is present at the apex of the Crown? An orb, surmounted by a cross. In Christian monarchies (of whatever particular faith tradition, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant), orbs are pieces of insignia symbolising Christ's domination over the world (utterly inappropriate in non-Christian contexts).

Secondly - the white and blue enamelled cross itself, the badge of the order, is in the form of variation of a Maltese Cross (finished), another symbol of Christ and equally inappropriate in a non-Christian context.

During the Raj and at the time of the creation of the two India-centric orders (of the Star of India and of the Indian Empire), such deference was there to avoid offending non-Christian rulers of the Princely States, that not only did the insignia not form the shape of a cross, but the senior grade was not classified a 'Knight Grand Cross', as with other orders with multiple classes, but rather 'Knight Grand Commander'.

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On 4/12/2017 at 23:04, Binky said:

Besides all of the sleuthing (and common sense) posted here regarding this imaginative bauble, there are a few more salient points that don't stand up to the 'for non-Christians', label. What is present at the apex of the Crown? An orb, surmounted by a cross. In Christian monarchies (of whatever particular faith tradition, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant), orbs are pieces of insignia symbolising Christ's domination over the world (utterly inappropriate in non-Christian contexts).

Secondly - the white and blue enamelled cross itself, the badge of the order, is in the form of variation of a Maltese Cross (finished), another symbol of Christ and equally inappropriate in a non-Christian context.

While I see your logic I can only partially agree with it. Take a look at all Russian orders for non-Christians (St.George, St.Ann, St.Stanislaus, etc). While the image of the saint (or his/her cypher/monogram) has been removed from the center medallion and replaced with the imperial eagle, the shape of the order (cross) remained the same. Yet, all Russian non-Christians had no issue with that and were proudly wearing those awards. 

Also Russian imperial eagle has an orb with the cross and the crown (actually, a few) with the cross on top of those.  Its (eagle's) image was placed on the center medallions of those non-Christian orders (with all those crosses). Again, there hasn't been any issue with that. So, strange enough, but it seems that only the image of the saint (and/or his/her cypher/monogram) was the problem. 

To complicate this matter even more, Russian imperial eagle has the heraldic shield on its breast with the image of St.George on it. And, ironically, it was OK to display that St.George on any of the non-Christian orders. In other words, they removed the big image of St.George just to replace it with its smaller version, on the shield of imperial eagle.

Go figure... 

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I agree with you, but as most of the Imperial Russian non-Christian versions are from the mid to late 19th century and early 20th, a state interested in adopting the idea would presumably have refined the deference.

 

I also completely agree about the incomplete nature of the substitution of Christian symbols with non-Christian symbols, it was inexact and contradictory. 

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4 minutes ago, Binky said:

I agree with you, but as most of the Imperial Russian non-Christian versions are from the mid to late 19th century and early 20th, a state interested in adopting the idea would presumably have refined the deference.

St.Sava's order was established in 1883, which falls into the same timing ballpark ("mid to late 19th century and early 20th"). Also, given, that the crosses from Serbian state eagles were removed, there clearly was an attempt to "refine the difference".

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For instance, the Italian "Colonial Order of the Star of Italy", instituted in 1911, was made in a form of a white enamelled five-pointed star. The suspension crown (present in the classes from Officer upwards) was the typical, Italian royal crown, but the upper orb, was plain, without the cross.

E.L.

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On 11/21/2014 at 21:05, utopis said:

Some time ago this, so called St. Sava for non Christians was offered for sale on auction at a staggering starting price of 9000€...

Did it sell at that price?

It's obviously a fake. 

They removed image with a cross from the center and enameled crossed from four eagles not to offend non-christians, but they left untouched crosses on top of the same four eagles and cross on the top of the crown. This makes no sense!

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54 minutes ago, new world said:

Did it sell at that price?

It's obviously a fake. 

They removed image with a cross from the center and enameled crossed from four eagles not to offend non-christians, but they left untouched crosses on top of the same four eagles and cross on the top of the crown. This makes no sense!

Exactly.

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