new world

Bulgarian Bravery order - early Austrian made

31 posts in this topic

I saw couple interesting cased Bravery awards sold in these special boxes, marked by Schwerdtner, Wien. Boxes are covered with leather, are brown in color (unlike other Bravery boxes).

These are supposedly late Alexander or early Prince Ferdinand awards.

Not sure if the crosses belong to the boxes though.

What do you think?

 

Here's 4th class award

 

Bravery_4cl_01.jpg

Bravery_4cl_02.jpg

3rd class award

Bravery_3cl_01.jpg

Bravery_3cl_02.jpg

Bravery_3cl_03.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 2   Posted (edited)

Hi New World,

The boxes are as you suggested Prince Alexander./early Prince Ferdinand period

It is speculated that, although most of the Bulgaria Order for Bravery during Prince Alexander period,were made in Russia, that in the later stages of his realm some of the decorations were made in Austria, mainly by the Austrian firm Schwerdtner.

It is very likely that the boxes could be for the earlier models, however also some left over boxes could be supplied with the later model

Prof Pavlov in his book is showing such a box to be for the  early Prince Model.-page 17 see picture

 

I am proud owner of two of such boxes including the one with the violet velvet.

Interesting fact is that they are different in size, which makes me think that the smaller size is for a lower grade Order like 4th Class, although i am housing in it  the early model of Real Silver Soldier's Cross, and the bigger one is for the 3rd Class

Also those boxes are with push buttons locks

Here are the boxes next to each other

 

Also the boxes compared with the later model boxes for 3/4 Class Orders

 

Graf

 

 

002.JPG

003.JPG

001.JPG

001.JPG

Edited by Graf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got the same boxes, but in much better condition!

I checked Pavlov's book - he just has a photo of the box and does not say anything about it. Based on the fact that he put the box in section for Bravery with gold circle we can make conclusion that awards in my 1st post don't belong to these boxes. It looks like the sellers misinform us.

Also, the fact that these early crosses were made by Schwerdtner is significant discovery - Pavlov does not say so, he also does not show photo of the stamp inside of the box.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi New World

We all witness that decorations come in any box type

It is harsh to blame the sellers that they are misleading us

Simply some of them do not have a very sound knowledge of the Bulgarian decorations and they sell wht the get from somewhere else

 

Also we can assume that some of the makers used the left over boxes ..no need to get rid of them

 

i believe that the same apply for the Decorations as well, therefore it is very difficult to draw clear cut line for the different periods and models.

Also Prof Pavlov book, despite of being one of the best so far, has its own weaknesses.

He was based on the information know by that time and the personal knowledge of prof. Pavlov.

The Bravery Order with the "fat crown" is believed to be made by left overs of the early Princely model and the central medallions were replaced in accordance with the new model

Because the 1915 Bravery Order I have with the "fat crown" is marked with asterisk or Sterhenpunze it is a fact that the Austrian makers were involved in the very early stages alongside the Russian makers

 

Also the boxes are some kind of proof

We also with our Detective work make new discoveries regarding the Bulgarian Decorations

 

Best

 

Graf

 

Pic092.JPG

Picture 697.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graf, wide crown in your last pick looks like it's sterling silver Are you sure it's brass?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi New world

 

It is a brass/bronze and the asterisk mark is quite clear on the ribbon loop

Interestingly it looks like silver on the picures

 

Here is one more picture at different angle you can see on the ball just under the cross the gilding is worn off and the brass/bronze is showing off Plus the asterisk on the loop

 

Graf

002.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Graf,

Interesting theory about the fat crown.

It is difficult to be sure tough, as there are multiple type of crowns, used for it, which differs from one another, as the orders themselfs.

Perhaps it is due to the different manifacturer (Russian or Austrian)? Sorry for the bad quality, I took the picture in the museum and the light is not OK.

What I find as well really interesting is the last one to the right: it is exactly like a 7 dots emission, the only difference is the golden circle....

Actually, do someone knows a little more about those early "Battenberg" 3rd class emissions?

 

IMG_1007.JPG

And another unique piece that I found the picture of in Google. Don't even know where it comes from but I haven't seen it in the books.

It's exactly like the "big lilly" 4 grade but it's 3rd. Don't know if soimeone have seen it or have some info about it....

Best regards,

Vazov

 

Capture.JPG.618e6f8f5baa574e07590bd40c34b5c0.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

SAM_2765.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 9   Posted (edited)

This 3rd Class was sold couple of years ago in Germany and again re-sold on a recent Auction in Austria.

It was advertised as Austrian made silver gilded The crown is the same as the first Class Cross of the early Prince Ferdinand model made in Austria 1887-1908

Although Prof Pavlov did not specify in his book that there were two princely periods Prince Alexander and Prince Ferdinand , he mentioned that some of the early period Bravery Orders were also made in Austria not only in Russia.He also  mentions two different types of central medallions gold and green for the high classes

Some other Authors separate the periods more clearly

1st princely period -Prince Alexander Battenberg period (1880-1886 )  This period includes he model with the gold Rings -made in Russia and the Model with skulls

The Prince Ferdinand period (1887-1914) Model which features the early pieces with the green enamel, also shown in Prof.Pavlov book

It is very difficult to identify the 4th class different variations, which ones are earlier then the others One is for sure that some of the variations are much rarer then the others because of their specific features and their numbers on the market

I think we will find more facts regarding Bulgarian Orders Although some of the books were very good they reflect the knowledge obtained by the authors during their publishing We are also part of the obtaining additional knowledge by our research work

 

Graf

9135.jpg

9135-rs.jpg

 

004.JPG

003.JPG

Edited by Graf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Graf & Ilieff,

You are perfectly right. I think that together, we have "discovered" a sub-emission of the following pieces, which are obviously different from the others.

It'd be curious to understand if they are late Battenberg or early Ferdinand ones.

By the way, I am looking for this 4 grade for my collection, which unfortunately I missed once because I was too slow, so if someone come across it, please let me know!

Best,

Vazov

IMG_0351.JPG.5c6ef5ad8a57794d73bf58da1841b8c2.JPGIMG_0513.JPG.f1ff6889005f53a258328bb4e84a7164.JPGIMG_1030.thumb.JPG.03edca2c7e687f26eab883f07c3c7c2a.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Vazov,

Yes We and other like us more or less more exited from collecting, are discovering new things that are not covered by the current literature.

It is difficult to classify those Crosses as sub-emission it is more proper to give them the name unknown till mow variation of the princely emission Also it is difficult to identify exactly the time of their fabrication

 

I will keep an eye for this 4th Class variation and i will let you know

 

Graf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 12   Posted (edited)

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.

 

Facsimile.jpg

cert.jpg

Edited by ilieff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool document!!!

It's interesting how the award is called Military Order in the document, not Bravery Order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ilieff,

Many thanks for this great analysis ! I find especially impressive and perfectly logical the last part regarding the need of bravery orders after the Serbo-Bulgarian war and the suspended relations with Russia. This demostrates that we should be focused on the historical conjuncture as well, when developing our suggestions  about the orders and putting them in the right context.

Meanwhile I have continued our research and found another early piece that differs from the "mainstream" examples.

Apparently it was sold some years ago by a Bulgarian dealer that seems no longer be involved, but sold an extraordinary quantity of orders, amongst which a lot of rare pieces (as visible on his site).

This given piece has a "thick crown" like the Battenberg 3rd grades or the 3 grade from 1915 with И on the reverse. Personally, I've never seen such crown on a 2 or 1 grade badge. There are also differences in the central medallion.

As you can see, the sellers' site claims it was reworded during a visit of the Russian emperor in 1902 and a memorial opening. The information is not correct. There is an opening on the occasion of an anniversary of the war, but of a church and not a memorial. Besides the Russian emperor is not attending, but his officials are sent on his behalf.

Are these mismatches in the context compromising as well the information about the order, I don't know. But it's a very interesting early  piece. Have anyone seen it before? Do we have some additional information?

Best,

Vazov

IMG_1057.JPG.0b3658ebf30fecdbc5c3903a70bfcef7.JPGIMG_1060.PNG.b51e0230265cf3c2fde7a6d4794db037.PNGIMG_1061.PNG.667d97bd09adf71ac0d40dc5d405ff8e.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Vazov,

I remember this dealer, he was active about 15 years ago.

I would not put too much trust into his stories. My impression of him was that he used to exaggerate a lot. According to his descriptions almost every item he was selling was super rare and unique opportunity for a collector.

I have to admit - he sold some nice and rarer items, but not every item on his site was unique as he was trying to represent.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Vazov,

 

Most of the "old' collectors of Bulgarian Orders are familiar with this Dealer,

 He is still active, however, for some reasons he is not selling many Military decorations now days .

Yous finding, for the events are quite correct. I like your eagerness to explore new things.

We all did the same when we started collecting  Good on you.

I agree with New World, that this dealer liked to make up stories regarding the items he sold. Despite that he had good items and the site is a good for reference ignoring some of the information in the text.

Also some serious collectors have doubts about the originality  of some of the items, especially the medals and badges sold on this site

The 2nd Class Bravery Order "discovered' by you is really nice and looks very similar to the Cross from a 1st Class Set sold few years ago on 173 Kuenker Auction. The small difference in the crown form, can be explained that those Classes were made in small numbers and the makers used the parts available for the time of making the awards.

Here is a picture of someone's collection shown in a exhibition in Sweden. It is unknown to me collector

 

 

OMSD_2-06.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi New World,

 

i think in the very early stages the Order for Bravery was called Military Order.

 

i suspect once the Order for Military Merit was introduced the Order for Bravery  was called Military Order for Bravery  not to be confused with the new Military Order

as you can see during Battennberg period was called also Military Order only

for the first time you can see from the last pictures, from King Ferdinand period, was called Military Order for Bravery

DSC00724.JPG

DSC00727.JPG

ohferd.jpg

ohferd1.jpg

ohferd2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear all,

I wanted to elaborate on the topic of orders with lilies on top.

I've heard or read several theories for the existence of the so called orders with the lily. Here are some of them:

a/ Theory number one states that these pieces were privately made replacements for the original orders

b/ Number two states that these crosses are actually part of a very limited in numbers emission (probably prior to or during the Balkan wars)

c/ Third theory suggests that these were designated to be an unofficial mark of distinction for the personal grace and endorsement on behalf of the Monarch (hence the lily as a symbol of Ferdinand's Imperial French background).

While I cannot write with certainty about a/, my feeling is that these were not privately-made. B/ sounds more plausible but it's not true, as there are visible differences between the samples, plus some of them are marked with 'seven dots' and some are marked with '1915' on the ring. In addition, some have decorative notches on their sides, while others don't. The only explanation for these variances is that these have been manufactured in at least two different batches, possibly by the same company but then again their larger size, in comparison to the generic 4th class badges, is making me feel dubious.

While flickering through some images I took while in the National Military History museum, I've noticed the below photograph. Even though the quality is really really bad, you can recognise that this is a generic 'seven dots' bronze (once silvered, I suppose) 4th class but with a lily-shaped ear instead. This prompts me to ask myself whether the lily is only some sort of an elaborate loop or is it instead some sort of a non-official mark of distinction. What do you think?

Regards,

Ilieff

 

lily.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ilieff,

The information and the analysis of it is very interesting.

I do not think that there is enough evidence to suggest that this is a specially made cross.

Fro all the facts in, my opinion, this is a rare variation of the the 4th Class 2nd grade Cross, which is seen in both models  -with the seven dots an-d with 1915 ( picture provided by Igor)

There are known two sub-variants with notched edges and with smooth edges of the cross arms and also with free standing swards and attached swords (the cross shown by Vazov and you). The fact suggesting that could be more then one maker or is only one maker who used different matrix.

The only fact is known that because it is much rarer on the market it is assumed that it is made in reduced numbers, which can suggest that it could be only one maker and for a very limited time.

Similar scenario do exist with the WW2 German iron cross, especially the early made one, before the LDO standard rules were introduced. There are few variants that are not marked and they are different to the other crosses

those variants are the "Rounded 3"on the year 1939  and the so called " Schinckel" form, which resembles in size and features the WW1 period made iron crosses but have the swastika  and  the year 1939 Plus there is a so called "Over sized' variant of the 2nd Class of the 1939 Iron Cross. All of them are variants made by makers not for special occasions at the early stages of WW2. However because they are much rarer then the standard Iron Crosses they demand higher prices.

The same can be said for the Bravery Order with the lilies

 

lily1a.jpg

Braveryold.JPG

img_02.jpg55cf7ed4485b5.jpg

lily1.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 21   Posted (edited)

Hi Graf,

The collection exposed in Sweden is truly magnificent and very beautifully exposed!

Do you have any more detailed photos?

What I find especially curious is the box and the 2nd grade badge near the king Boris photo. I assume it's a "three dots" one.

I spotted two things:

1. I believed that there are only 4 grade 2 class and 1 grade orders from this emission. One could say that the 1 grade badge without the star becomes a 2 grade, which leads me to,

2. The case: it is a 2 grade case I think, which unconditionally means that this "three dots" emission also have a 2 grade! Also, the case itself is more like Ferdinand then Boris one.

It will be very unfortunate if we cannot find more photos....

Best, Vazov

Edited by V.Vazov

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ilieff,

Indeed a very interesting matter.

In my modest opinion this is simply the emission previous to the standard 7 dots one. The small number may be easily explicable  with the smaller number of persons to reword before the Balkan wars (the serbo-Bulgarian war was a very short one and there was only a handfull of officers in the young Bulgarian army). As well we often forgot the fact that the farest we go back in time, the highest the number of pieces that are lost or destroyed.

The difference between these "big lilly" crosses and the later classic 7 dots emission is a considerable one. As is the resemblance between the classic 7 dots orders of 4 and 3 grade that obviously come from the same emission.

The fact that some of the orders have their edges notched and some have free standing swords is not that significant detail I think. We know that the same thing exists with the swords in the 1915 and 1941 emission, for example there are pieces of the 1915 3 grade 2 class with "fat crown" with or without free standing swords.

As to the 1915 big lilly 4 grade order, I admit that I've never seen one besides in the books and it is hard to explain its presence in the 1915 emissions.

Does anyone have a photo not extracted from a book? It'd be very interesting to see one.

Best Vazov

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

Firstly, about the 'Swedish collection' - well spotted Vazov. I just want to note that the neck crosses of 1st class and 2nd class are not identical (one is smaller) and that, as far as I know, there are confirmed 2nd classes from the 'three-dots' emission (Graf posted in another thread a photo of a republican neck badge which in essence is an amended 'Boris III' issue order). What I find even more interesting about the 'Swedish collection' is the 'Alexander' box on the left - it looks slightly larger than the generic boxes we all know. I wonder if it's a box for the 2nd class or simply an optical illusion. 

Now for the orders with the lily - I agree with the above. However, it baffles me how come there is so much variance in design within a single and very limited edition. There are a couple of images, which indicate even more differences. The first one (from the archive of eMedals) shows a badge with strange swords and again smooth arms, while the second image (from the Union of Collectors in Bulgaria) shows a badge, similar to one shown on the above images but the bottom of the lily is solid/closed as opposed to the open-design of the rest. How very bizarre!?

Ilieff

daa.jpg

05c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ilieff,

Thanks for the clarification about the 2 grade. Didn't know that.

As much as I'd love it to be the first highest grade Battenberg box that we see, I think it's more of an optical illusion. When I look at it it seems to me that the high grade badge above will not fit in, weather the 3 grade on the left will fit and there'll be some free space on the sides, as it is with the normal cases. But it's simply my opinion, you're the expert in the area.

For the Lilly badges, I've spotted as well this difference and cannot find explaination. The swords are also different.

As well the enamel of the order on the emedals' site is bizarre. I've discussed that point with Graf and personally I have doubts that this is a restauration....

Best,

Vazov

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,,

Unfortunately, taet is the only picture of the "Swedish Collection" although the collector could be from any country. I t sent to me by a fellow collector from Belgium I zoomed it a little bit to help you

There is nothing strange with the boxes --just standard ones.

About the Order for Braver with 3 dots -1st Class was sold on  the 173  Kuenker Action.in 2010 On this Auction a 2nd Class from the same Model was sold as well See small differences in the crowns of the crosses

Interestingly it came in a box from the French firm  Marie Stuart, Paris, which could be a clue about the maker or one of the makers of this interesting Model. I have not seen the box, although.

 

011.JPG

012.JPG

013.JPG

014.JPG

OMSD_2-06.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now