Bulgaria Medal for Merit and Order for Merit

10 posts in this topic

ID: 1   Posted (edited)

Hi Camelneck,

Both Order of merit and Medal for Merit are founded on 25th of December 1881 by Prince Alexander Battenberg

Medal of Merit comes in three Classes

1st Class Gold

2nd Class Silver

3rd Class Bronze


Order of Merit comes in two Classes

1st Class Gold

2nd Class Silver


Both are associated with the Order of St Alexander

Order of Merit is with the laurel and swords  II is military decoration and was i given for merit in war time and in piece time

The Medal of Merit is more civil Decoration and was given for merit and contributions to the throne.

There are few emissions of the Medal for merit

Prince Alexander  with no crown

Prince Ferdinand  few models the very first model is without crown, next model is with princely crown and later model with King crown ( the last two models came without crowns as well}

King Ferdinand- with crown and without crown

King Boris - with crown and without crown There is a model with an error -in the word Bulgarite there is a missing letter, however it is fair common model

Regency emission The Monarch image is replaced with a lion with no crown

Republican Emission as the Regency Emission plus  in addition the crown on top is replaced with laurel


The Order for Merit comes with no crown and have the same emissions

Prince Alexander  Note This emission comes only in Silver

Prince Ferdinand

King Ferdinand


King Boris

There are different models of each emission


Both decorations are worn on the breasts suspended on triangular red ribbon as Order of St Alexander or Bravery Order ribbon when given at war time


Both decorations do not have any enamel parts


This is a very general information but remember  Medal of Merit  -Three Classes Gold, Silver and Bronze and Order for Merit only Two Classes Gold and Silver   No enamel parts


I personally do not collect those decorations

i have only two Gold Medals of Merit Prince Ferdinand Emission with princely crown and King crown because they are rare and i was lucky to get across them

The Gold medals are very rare according to the existing information only 23 men during the 69 years period In my personal opinion their number is higher.


The price as you can assume depends on the how rare is the decoration and how old it is Also the condition and the presence of original box and Document

My personal advice is not to jump to buy now research the market and compare

Ebay is a good site, however look the reputation of the seller Same sellers put a high price, however they accept decent offers Some sellers want to sell quick and put low prices in the begging of the sale Be careful for fakes Compare few times before you  buy

eMedals is a good site, however he could be expensive Shop Bulgaria is another site to look into and lastly Liverpool Medals { be careful of the murky pictures}








Edited by Graf

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Really,I can see it for the first time.Thanks for showing.Are there any marks for gold?

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HI all,

Graf, may I elaborate and correct you on some of your points,


The Order of Merit had only two classes - Gold and Silver badges (also called 1st and 2nd class) but due to the fact that the 1st class has only been presented to a dozen of men (or so), the general assumption is that the Order of Merit represents a silver badge, used for decoration of army officers (predominantly).

As for the Medal of Merit, indeed it came into three classes. It was used for decoration of a broad range of professionals, including military men. The gold medal is indeed the rarest of things. It is a symbol of a great merit and its holders were the highest ranking officials in the country or similar in rank foreigners. Todor Petrov, citing Vl. Vladimirov, writes about 69 golden medals being awarded by 1940 (presumably, the majority of these abroad). I am prone to think this figure is plausible, or at least near the actual number of awarded men.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that the original golden medals were simply gilded (with silver of bronze base), there is a certain number of faked golden medals out there. The same applies (perhaps in greater extent) to the golden Orders of Merit. It's a pity.

I really like your two golden medals Graf. Congrats! Have these been given to German nationals? Are you able to share any background information?


Here's an original illustration on behalf of the Chancellery of Bulgarian orders (circa 1904), showing the classes of both order and medal. 







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ID: 4   Posted (edited)

On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 06:13, Graf said:


I just found your latest post!  Thanks for all the information.  It was very helpful and I really appreciate it.  I'm also looking into the books that you mentioned.  The Pavlov book is very expensive.  The Denkov book is selling for less than half the Pavlov book, but I think it is written in Bulgarian Cyrillic whereas the Pavlov book was written in Bulgarian and English.  Thus, the Pavlov is the best book for me unless I find out later that BF Skinner wrote a book on Bulgarian medals :)

I also appreciated the tips that you gave me.  I've only been collecting medals for a little over a year and I still have so much to learn. So it especially helpful when experienced collectors like you, New World, and others provide a little guidance.  When I first started out, I was more concerned with the more common medals, which are less expensive.  I also wanted to gain some experience and knowledge before I started buying expensive pieces.  Now I'm at the point where I know how to spot most of the fakes and I'm going to start focusing on more expensive and rare pieces.  I guess the moral to the story is:  The beginner looks at his collection and sees an expensive hobby while an experienced collector views his collection as a sound financial investment.

I've purchased items from both emedals and Liverpool medals.  Your advice is right on the money!  :) 

Although the Royal Medal of Merit may have primarily been a civil award, I have seen them on German Medal bars.  In fact, there is a photo of a silver medal of merit with crown on the medal bar of a German Leutnant on page 121 in Volume 7 of O'Connors Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany.

Thanks again.


Edited by camelneck

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These gold medals would be easy to fake.

Fakers make complex awards with enamel from scratch - one needs to be especially careful when considering these gold grade medals.

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Hi Ilieff,

Thank you for the information

When i initially wrote the text it was very late at night and I did not realized that i made a mistake regarding the Order for Merit Since then i edited the text accordingly.

Regarding the two Gold medals Both of them came from Germany from a reputable sources and i believe that they are real. Both are have German mounting style ribbons one of the appear to be removed from a medal bar

I have not checked the metal yet. however i plan to do it in the near future.

I will take a photo on the back of the medals with a different view  Here is one view of the back of the medals


Hi Camelneck,

 you have very good points yes collecting is a very interesting and also could be very expensive. expensive.

Your approach towards collecting is the right one. First taste it with more common pieces, then get a good information before dive head first in to the deep waters of the collecting world.

Yes it is a good investment Many of the Military dealers have been collectors for a long time and tuned it to a business. They still collect.

Regarding the Medal for Merit i tried to give you as simple information as possible not to confue you too much, i also have seen the medal as part of medal bar to Military persons.







Hi New World


I agree with you. Therefore i did not invest big $$ into them They are very rare and only by looking at the pictures of previously sold or from the books one can not have the idea whether they hold the real ones. Gold medals were made by fire gilding of bronze or Silver medals. Information which could be helpful when assessing the medals.

As i mentioned somewhere else i have not checked them yet about the metal they are made from.

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ID: 8   Posted (edited)

I recently found the following Order of Merit (2nd class) for sale.  In the description the seller referred to it as being silver.  However, I have never seen silver tarnish like this before.. 

This raises a question, was the Order of Merit (2nd class) suppose to be pure silver or was it silver-plated bronze (or brass)? 

If the Order of Merit (2nd class) was made of pure silver then logic dictates that the medal pictured below is either 1) a fake or 2) the silver has somehow developed a very unusual bronze-like patina.  On the other hand, it the Order of Merit (2nd class) was made of silver-plated brass or bronze as opposed to being true silver, then there a 3rd possibility comes into play: 3) this was a silver-plated bronze medal that has lost all of its silver. 

Well, enough of my logic, I would like to hear from the experts as to why the medal below doesn't look like Igor's Order of Merit (above).  They both suppose to be silver, but only Igor's looks like a silver medal.


Igor, Those are very nice awards.  I especially like your Order of Merit.  Thanks for posting!


Order of Merit F.jpg

Edited by camelneck

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Hi Camelneck.


It looks Silver with a very nice patina Sometimes the light can make the medal to look differently.

I am not quite sure whether all Orders of merit  are made of pure silver The could be as you said silvered bronze or base metal It is difficult to say just from the pictures. Some are marked for silver.Most  are not

The best advice is to request a close up pictures in different light. Look for defects and flaws Compare with other similar awards on the market The real one have very nice details The fakes are with less details and have some surface defects Because they are not very expensive It is very unlikely to be faked with perfection in mind



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Thanks Graf,

I wasn't planning on buying this one.  (I actually bought one Saturday night.) 

Thanks for your opinions and thanks for the excellent tips.

Mr. C Neck

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