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ilieff

Website for Royal Bulgarian awards

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ilieff   

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: http://bulgariandecorations.com/ 

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 bulgariandecorations.com is not a commercial entity - it does not host any advertisements, marketing content or alike and is not being funded in anyway.

Thanks,

Ilieff

 

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GreyC   

Hi,

I don´t know anything about Bulgarian orders and medals but I sure like your page dedicated to the Royal ones!

GreyC

Edited by GreyC

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Egorka   

Very tasteful and nice! Will use it from now. 

If I may suggest, the magnifying glass should magnify a bit more. To my taste at least. :)

 

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I'll provide lots of feedback.

But before I do - what is the idea behind awards which appear on this site? Did you take the photos yourself or are these sourced from someone else? 

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Megan   

Impressive site with good images and excellent information.

I'll link to it from my Bulgarian section...

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ilieff   

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. 

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Megan   

Well, if you see any images on my site that would be of use, give me a shout and I shall send you the large high-quality versions...

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Ilieff,

Well done, a lovely site which I am sure involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

A first rate job.

Paul

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922F   

Great contribution!!  I well understand the amount of time. effort and networking required in your outstanding endeavor!

Have you run across any Honorary distinction "For Incentive of Philanthropy" insignia including a badge, sash and star?   At least two such sets exist, one in the Smithsonian Institutions' McKay collection and one in a private collection.  This insignia is not described in any of the literature that I know and these may have been trial pieces.  

It appears that the Vicariate of Sofia and Philippopel - Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius does not fall within the scope of your work.

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Graf   

Hi I llieff,

Great Work.

As you said I must have taken a lot time and dedication Well Done.

 

i hope the members with their comments can help you to fine tune some of the sections and/or to add more info

to it I have to got very slowly bit by bit to consume all the information before i can give you any constructive comments.

For the moment  just to show you those pictures of the "Third Type' red Cross

The Box is with the King Ferdinand sign that means it was made during his time

Hi 99F It appears that Ilieff work cover only "Royal Orders"

 

It appears that the Vicariate of Sofia and Philippopel - Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius does not fall within the scope of your work.

This Order was not a Royal one and Prince Ferdinand asked the Vatican Vicariate to stop giving it because it will clash with the new Official Royal Order

It is very rare one and not many people know about it. Very interesting fact is when i was in Bulgaria last September i visited the current catholic Head of the Bulgarian Head in Bulgaria Catholic Church in Sofia. He did not know about the Order i promised to send him some information and pictures

 

Graf

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Graf   

Hi

Ilieff,

 

i am still exploring your site Very nice.

 

It could be nice to add the Special  Aniversary1937 Model with flat  reverse medallion for both the Civil Merit and the Military Merit Orders, Both are from  the Royal Period and in my opinion deserve a place in your site. Just a suggestion.

 

Graf

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Edited by Graf

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ilieff   

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 :(

Edited by ilieff

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Graf   

HI Ilieff,

 

No problem

 

Here are couple more pictures

 

Just as information this is a Star of the 1st Class of the catholic Order

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hi ilieff,

Very nice site, lots of work went into it. I love your professional looking photographs!

 

Some suggestions from my side:

1. Order of SS Cyril and Methodius.

You listed only Bulgarians, how about listing full list of awarded? It's not that long anyway.

2. For many awards you show only reverse. It would be nice to show front side as well, as some have unique features. For example, for Military Merit 5th crosses - you show front for regular version and only reverse for the one with war distinction.

Try to show both front/back for each variant.

3. Grand Cross vs 1st class

There was no Grand Cross until 1933, however for Civil and Military Merit you list 1st classes Prince and Ferdinand issues as Grand. They are really 1st class.   

4. You are missing Regency and Republican versions.

I think this was intentional, as you aim at Royal period decorations. However, Regency and Republican versions normally are shown together with Royal as they are so similar.

5. It's not clear which classification you use.

The most comprehensive classification was proposed by Prof. Pavlov in his book. I recommend you follow the same.

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922F   

Hi Ilieff,

Regarding posts 12 and 16 concerning the Honorary distinction "For Incentive of Philanthropy" insignia including a badge, sash and star, here's an image of the  star published by Werlich attributed to the Smithsonian Collection, Washington, D.C.  This set, acquired in the 1950's? by Fred McKay--no further information on  provenance, currently resides in the Smithsonian's numismatic collection.  I saw this set in 1971 when on public display and again in 1972 when I was allowed to handle it during research.  Somewhere I have a better black/white image of the suite of sash, badge & star.  

If I recall correctly, the badge was the same size as what we know as Gentleman's first and second class, the sash was 100 mm wide, and the star about 88-90 mm. wide.  

BRCstar 001.jpg

 

Note on the Catholic Cyril & Methodius award--Kretly [Paris] and V. Meyer [Wein], at least made the insignia.  Some consider this odd given the short life of the honor.   A Paris-based private society used insignia derived from a mix of the Catholic and Tsarist Orders' design probably manufactured in part with ex-Kretly dies.

Edited by 922F
spelchek

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ilieff   

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

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@Ilieff:

3. I see what you mean, but from accuracy point there were no Grand Cross awards before 1933 (except for St Alexander order). I am not sure what you mean by saying that design was unchanged. Grand Cross sets for Civil and Military Merit are very different from 1st class prior to 1933 - stars are very distinct and crosses are of larger size as well.

5. By classification I mean then Pavlov goes deep into various types of decorations, such as Swiss and French issues, glass type for Mil Merit, etc. Other authors don't get into such details. It looks like due to space limitations and other considerations you will not be going into that level of details.

 

Few additional suggestions:

1. Award cases/boxes. Are you going to show them too?

2. Award documents. It would be nice to see them as well.

3. Award groups.

4. Awards in wear on photographs. It would be logical complement to awards ans would give peiple ideas about how medals were worn.

5. Badges. Some badges are nicer than the orders.

6. Medal bars.

 

Edited by new world

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ilieff   

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

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ilieff,

It seems you are confusing two things here - Grand vs. Great Cross.

Note how Petrov is referring to 1st class pre-1933 as "Great Cross"? This is not the same as Grand Cross.

Grand Cross name was not used before 1933 for Civil and Military Merit awards. However, it was used for St Alexander order.

You can see evidence of this by checking award documents and boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

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ilieff   

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.

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Graf   

Hi Ilief,

i do not have many boxes and Documents however other members can contribute to your site

 

If you want i will try to take pictures in a methodical order. How do you want them - single pictures or group ones by periods?

 

Graf

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