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ilieff

King Ferdinand I's decorations

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It's the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George bestowed by the former royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.  Post 61 above elaborates a bit on this honor.

Edited by 922F
spelchek

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1 hour ago, 922F said:

It's the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George bestowed by the former royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.  Post 61 above elaborates a bit on this honor.

I've seen this award in various photos, but never knew what it was until now!  Thanks!

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It is sad that the Auction House has split the Set

Starting price for the Cross -40 000 EURO plus com

Starting Price for the Star -15.000 EURO plus com

I wish i could buy both and keep the Set together...Just a dream

Edited by Graf

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In 2013 there was an exhibition in Tyrnovo, where Bulgarian independence was announced on September 22, 1908.

They had some of Ferdinand's awards.

According to the exhibit this was actual set of Military Merit 1st class worn by Ferdinand at the ceremony on that important day.  

 

MilMerit.jpg

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The set is kept at the Vrana museum, as far as I know. Here's a photograph of the director, holding the etui of the set. It's an interesting story actually. The order was originally worn by General Markov (Ferdinand's adjutant at that time) on 22nd September 1908. The Prince, Gen. Markov and Prime-minister Malinov were travelling in the train to Tarnovo when they received the news, urging them to act quickly and announce the Independence on the same day. Due to the lack of any other high orders at hand, Ferdinand takes off Markov's order and declares the Bulgarian Independence wearing it.  In the 1920s, General Markov sends back as a present the very same original set to King Boris in Sofia with a note, describing in detail the fate of this historical order set. 

2111180689.jpg

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1 hour ago, ilieff said:

The set is kept at the Vrana museum, as far as I know. Here's a photograph of the director, holding the etui of the set. It's an interesting story actually. The order was originally worn by General Markov (Ferdinand's adjutant at that time) on 22nd September 1908. The Prince, Gen. Markov and Prime-minister Malinov were travelling in the train to Tarnovo when they received the news, urging them to act quickly and announce the Independence on the same day. Due to the lack of any other high orders at hand, Ferdinand takes off Markov's order and declares the Bulgarian Independence wearing it.  In the 1920s, General Markov sends back as a present the very same original set to King Boris in Sofia with a note, describing in detail the fate of this historical order set. 

2111180689.jpg

Wow, that's an awesome story!

It's very cool how regular award became so significant from historical prospective. I thought it was odd that Ferdinand wore decoration without any diamonds.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Have you see this set in person? I am curious about the maker and what it says inside the box. I don't think it Schwerdtner, as most of the sets. The box itself  looks different - rounded front, not rectangular as the ones I saw from that period.

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That is a very interesting story and a part of Bulgarian History which was not forgiven.

 

The Box -The stamp on the lid looks to be  Rothe

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Is it a full size medal bar or a miniature group that is on display behind the director, and do you happen to have a better photo of that one?

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Hi,

I haven't seen the set, no. Here's another photograph from the website of the Vrana museum itself - this time the box which is on display is a Schwerdtner box without a rounded side (and Gen. Markov's note framed on the side). This is unusual - I cannot really tell which one is the original box for the set (if any of them at all), though, I assume, the emission of the order itself would be the 1st one - with the slightly darker green enamel which would probably suggest Schwerdtner indeed. 

 

2 hours ago, larsb001 said:

Is it a full size medal bar or a miniature group that is on display behind the director, and do you happen to have a better photo of that one?

I think we partially covered this topic earlier in the thread. There is a picture of two of Ferdinand's bars on my website, too. 

 

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This looks like correct case for beginning of 20th century Military Merit award, Type 1 - Prince Ferdinand emission.

I see Schwerdtner mark inside the case and there should be Bulgarian coat of arms with Princely crown on the top of the box. 

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I believe that Bulgarian kingdom awards will only grow in popularity over time among phaleristic enthusiasts. I personally love the green commander level of the Order of Alexander in all its iterations. Since the fine and somewhat lost art of enameling is something that all of us order collectors need to delve into further, I am here sharing some of my more recent research for the good of all.

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.

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This mage posted earlier, yet another medal bar, is the medal indicated a reasonable assumption, many European Royalty received one, I've not seen it mentioned anywhere, good thread btw

 

Alex K

f.jpg

Untitled-1 copy.JPG

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3 hours ago, Alex K said:

This mage posted earlier, yet another medal bar, is the medal indicated a reasonable assumption, many European Royalty received one, I've not seen it mentioned anywhere, good thread btw

 

Alex K

 

Untitled-1 copy.JPG

It could be.

I also find it strange that he wears French award (1st medal on the bar) before Bulgarian Bravery order.

 

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German Empire


- Order of the Black eagle - Grand Cross
- Order of the Red Eagle - Grand Cross
- Imperial Military order of the Iron cross
- Pour le Merite with oak leaves (Military division)
- Order of Saint John (Ignore Order)
- Saxe-Ernestine House order - Collar and Grand Cross with diamonds
- Order of the Wendish Crown
- Military Merit cross (Mecklenburg)
- Hessen Order of Philip the Magnanimous
- Saxon Military Order of St. Henry
- Oldenburg Friedrich August cross - II class
- Bavarian Order of St Hubert - Grand Cross

The Iron Cross was not an "Imperial Military order", but a Prussian decoration. He received the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Classes.

From Mecklenburg-Schwerin, he received the Military Merit Cross 1st and 2nd Classes.

He probably received the 1st Class of the Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross as well as the 2nd Class, but I don't see it in any of the photos in this thread and the rolls of the cross are not published, so I cannot confirm. 

From Schaumburg-Lippe, he received the Cross for Loyal Service (Kreuz für Treue Dienste), both on the ribbon and as a pinback cross (Steckkreuz). This is the 10th medal on the medal bar with German decorations in the first post. Boris and Kyrill both received the version on the ribbon.  All three awards were on 28.4.1916.

The 15th medal on the medal bar with German decorations is the General Honor Decoration "For Bravery" (Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen "Für Tapferkeit") from the Grand Duchy of Hesse (Hessen-Darmstadt). 

 

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If Alex seeks the identity of the three "?" medals:

last appears to be a Medal for the Yambol-Bourgas Railway, 1890--likely gold class

next to last, a  Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Commemorative Medal for the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Duke Alfred and Grand Duchess Maria, 1899

Next to that--can't recall   i

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Hi Thanks for the additional info on the last three, always useful to know so I can add them to my database,

 

regards

 

edit,

amazing, well done, different ribbon though? (credit Vicmart)

 

3387e416_1209486778.jpg

Edited by Alex K

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On ‎21‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 16:31, paja said:

One more thing caught my attention it seems that he's wearing the Golden Badge of the (Russian) Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (Императорское православное палестинское общество) which means he must have been its honorary member. 
I do not know a lot about this orthodox society but it seems a bit unusual to see a person of catholic faith among its honorary members.
01.JPG

Interesting, I've located a picture which I think is the award, one question, the attached is un-enamelled, the above picture looks like his version is enamelled, is that likely or is it a trick of the light on the picture of him?

Golden Badge of the (Russi copy.JPG

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On 10/23/2017 at 07:34, ilieff said:

Hi,

I haven't seen the set, no. Here's another photograph from the website of the Vrana museum itself - this time the box which is on display is a Schwerdtner box without a rounded side (and Gen. Markov's note framed on the side). This is unusual - I cannot really tell which one is the original box for the set (if any of them at all), though, I assume, the emission of the order itself would be the 1st one - with the slightly darker green enamel which would probably suggest Schwerdtner indeed. 

The box would look similar to these photos. The crest on top would have princely rounded crown though, not the later tsar crown:

MilMerit_1cl_box_1_nn.jpg

MilMerit_1cl_box_2_nn.jpg

as is seen in your next photo:

image004.jpg

Edited by new world

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Alex, Your post 98 query looks to be Bulgarian Officer's 10 year service cross.

Also, the medal I could not ID earlier appears to be a MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN 1897 Memorial Medal for Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III though ribbon seems incorrect {c.f. Polish White Eagle???}

Edited by 922F
spelck

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