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AlexLev

Medal for Merit (BULGARIA)

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Hello, dear friends! 

I would like to collect an information about Bulgarian Medal for Merit. From what I know at the moment is the following:

The medal was founded on 25 December 1881. It had diameter 27-28 mm, loop (or laterally pierced ball in early types sometimes) for ribbon suspension and two types of triangular ribbon - for peacetime and for wartime from the Order for Bravery (the last one was a military award during wars – Serbian-Bulgarian War in 1885, Balkan Wars in 1912-1913, World War I in 1915-1918, World War II in 1941-1944). The medal was awarded for merit and service to the Crown or Fatherland in three classes - Gold (actually that was gilted bronze, rarely awarded), Silver (being awarded to middle-ranking officials and officers) and Bronze (being awarded to low-ranking officials and non-commissioned officers). All classes could be awarded on Bulgarian crown suspension with pendelia (types I-III had no crown suspension yet, type IV had princely crown with either dropping pendelia or with flying pendelia (tassels), types V-VII had royal crown with flying pendelia). There were seven types of this medal with different face depending on Bulgarian monarch of the corresponding period. The reverse inscribed “ЗА ЗАСЛУГА” (“for Merit” in Bulgarian) above a five-pointed star within a wreath of oak and laurel.

Type I with the head of Prince (Knyaz) of Bulgaria Alexander I Battenberg without beard looking right (circumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “АЛЕКСАНДРЪ I. КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРІЯ” within a beaded border).This medal was issued in 1881-1883.

Type II with the head of Prince (Knyaz) of Bulgaria Alexander I Battenberg with beard looking right (circumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “АЛЕКСАНДРЪ I. КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРІЯ” within a beaded border, with or without small signature “SCHWENZER” below the Prince’s head for Karl Schwenzer of Stuttgart). This medal was issued in 1883-1886 until Alexander I was forced to abdicate on 20 August 1886.

Type III with the young head of Prince (Knyaz) of Bulgaria Ferdinand I looking left (circumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I. КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРІЯ” within a beaded border).

Type IV with the older head of Prince (Knyaz) of Bulgaria Ferdinand I looking left (circumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I. КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРІЯ” within a beaded border, with or without small signature “A•SCHARFF” below the Prince’s head). The medals of types III and IV were issued in 1887-1908 until declaration of the Kingdom of Bulgaria in 1908.

Type V with the head of King (Tsar) of Bulgaria Ferdinand I looking left (сircumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТѢ” within a beaded border, with or without small signature “P•TELGE” below the King’s head). This medal was issued in 1908-1918.

Type VI with the head of King (Tsar) of Bulgaria Boris III looking left (circumscribed with his name and title in Bulgarian “БОРИСЪ III ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТѢ” within a beaded border, there was also a variety lacking letter “А” – “БОРИСЪ III ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГРИТѢ”). This medal was issued in 1918-1944.

Type VII with the Bulgarian lion rampant above the inscription “БЪЛГАРИЯ” (“Bulgaria” in Bulgarian). This medal was issued during the Regency period that followed the installation of a Communist-dominated government in Bulgaria from 9 September 1944 until abolition of the Kingdom in 1946.

 Any additional information is very welcome, thanks!!!

Medal for Merit (Bulgaria).jpg

Edited by AlexLev

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Does anybody know, how many medals of type VI (Tsar Boris III), Bronze class, were awarded during the Interwar period and during World War II? Where were they minted?

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Nobody knows among knowledgable guys here?!

P.S. I've just found some info about designer's signatures on early types of the Medal for Merit. 

SCHWENZER - Karl Schwenzer (1843-1904), famous German engraver of coins and medals.

A. SCHARFF - Anton Scharff (1845-1903), famous Austrian engraver of coins and medals.

P. TELGE - Paul Telge (1846-1909), famous German jeweller and engraver of medals.

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Thanks, dear Igor, for the link, it is quite interesting, but forummembers discussed there quality and rarity of Gold and Silver classes of the Order for Merit mainly. There is no any info about amount and mints of the Medal for Merit (specially Bronze class of Boris III period) I am interested at the moment.

 

Regards, Alex

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As for the triangular ribbon to the Bulgarian Medal for Merit. Dark-red ribbon was awarded during the peacetime, light-blue ribbon with silver stripe near both edges (the same ribbon was used for Order for Bravery) - during the wartime.

Interesting, that Bulgarian crown suspension with pendelia (which can be awarded together with all three classes of the Medal for Merit to increase its status) was replaced with the suspension in the form of wreath with pendelia during the early period of People's Republic of Bulgaria (1946), later all decorations of the Kingdom's period were prohibited in the Republic.

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Alex,

These were fairly common medals, often given to privates/NCO/civilians/workers. 

I'd estimate there were tens of thousands of them awarded.

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Hi, new world! Yes, the Bronze class is quite common. I found an information (but I am not sure is it 100% correct or not) that 66 Gold medals were awarded till 1940, about 2000-3000 Silver and about 10000-15000 Bronze. Do you know the manufacturers of this medal? I guess it was minted in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as several other Bulgarian decorations, it could be minted in Bulgaria also.

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Boris III (30.01.1894, Sofia - 28.08.1943, Sofia) - Tsar of Bulgaria in 1918-1943, from German Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty. He was the eldest son of Tsar Ferdinand I (1861-1948), who abdicated in his benefit after the defeat of Bulgaria during the World War I.

Boris participated in the Balkan wars (1912-1913) and the World War I (1915-1918) as staff liaison officer (captain, major, lieutenant colonel) of the Bulgarian army. He graduated the Military Academy in 1915 and received the military rank Major-General in 1918.

Boris III sanctioned the coup d'etat on June 9, 1923 which removed the government of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union led by Prime Minister Alexander Stamboliyski, who was against monarchy in Bulgaria. The political situation remained unstable, and Boris III fortunately escaped St. Nedelya Church assault even (terrorist attack carried on April 16, 1925 by Bulgarian communists and anarchists). After the coup on May 19, 1934 the new government repealed the Tarnovo Constitution, dissolved the National Assembly and prohibited political parties; de facto Boris III took all political power to his hands (however, parliamentary elections are held and there was a legal governmental opposition). Boris III married Italian princess Giovanna of Savoy in 1930, they had two children - Princess Marie Louise (born in 1933) and Prince Simeon (born in 1937).

After the beginning of World War II, Boris III directed Bulgaria towards neutrality. With the help of Germany and USSR, Bulgaria managed to return back Southern Dobrudja in 1940 which was taken by Romania in 1918. Nevertheless, Boris III declined Soviet offer to peace and friendship in 1940, and in January 1941 he agreed to join Tripartite (Berlin) Pact, which was signed by Bulgaria on March 1. In March-April 1941 German troops attacked Yugoslavia and Greece from the Bulgarian territory. As several territories (Morava Valley, Vardar Macedonia, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace) came after that under Bulgarian administration, Boris III received the title "Unitor" in Bulgaria. After the outbreak of the war with USSR in June 1941, albeit a German ally, Bulgaria continued to maintain diplomatic relations with USSR and did not send any troops to the Eastern Front (Boris III was a dedicated pacifist who took also into consideration strong pro-Russian spirits among Bulgarian population). But on December 13, 1941 Bulgaria declared war to UK and USA.

Tsar Boris III unexpectedly died on August 28, 1943 shortly after returning back to Sofia from a visit to Hitler (so there were assumptions that he was poisoned according to Hitler's order because of refusal to send Bulgarian jews to German concentration camps and to send Bulgarian soldiers against USSR; nevertheless, the official reason of his death was the heart attack). Boris III was succeeded by his infant son, Simeon II, and the Regency Council (included Prince Kyril, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov and Lt. General Nikola Mikhov) elected by the National Assembly was established that time.

Edited by AlexLev

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Are there some knowledgeable guys from Bulgaria to add interesting info about the Medal for Merit? ;)

The info about mints which produced it is of specially interest.

Edited by AlexLev

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Mate, I think you asked the same question a few months ago - I don't want to be blunt, but do you really expect to receive a different answer this time by simply using a different gmic profile? In my opinion, creating loads of identical threads only complicates the process of finding useful information within the forum.

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Hi, ilieff! No, I have only one GMIC profile here (it is quite strange to have several profiles and discuss everything with itself like Mr. Bean who sent oneself New Year postcards:D), and I didn't meet with you before...But I've found here several threads mentioning Medal of Merit indeed. So it will be better to combine all useful information concerning it into one thread, of course. Also I don't find in GMIC any posts from your side with the exact info about mints....

Edited by AlexLev

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That's all right mate.  It's possible that you're being honest.

However, it's next to impossible that two different individuals are posting images of the very same medal and asking the same questions in the span of just 10 months.

Anyhow, if you haven't read the thread, here you go (you guessed it - you won't find the numbers you're looking for - neither in here, nor elsewhere, simply because there is no summarised data): 

 

 

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Hi, ilieff! Yes, the threads are quite similar, at least in the beginning, but I am using a little bit differ style of English )))), also I summarized all info I knew about this medal in my first post. That guy posted his questions not 10 months ago but almost 2 years ago...Perhaps, many people would like to know the same info, also many people read the same sources. I bought my medal quite recently on Internet, may be from that guy, I don’t know :beer: But I compared photos, seems to be my medal is slightly differ, but the quality of photos by Frunzich is quite bad.

 

P.S. I would like to visit Bulgaria soon and visit there the National Museum of Military History in Sofia, of course, in addition to many other natural and historical sightseeings :D

Edited by AlexLev

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According to Todor Petrov, the following firms minted this medal:

1) in Bulgaria - N. Sobev, S. Miloshev, Onik Odabashian (Regent and Republican issues)  

2) foreign - P. Telge, B. Meyer, G. Sheid, Yugenen Brothers & Co

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Thanks, new world!

Do you mean the book in English/Bulgarian: Todor Petrov. Bulgarian Orders and Medals. Military Publishing House Ltd. 2005, 326 pages? I saw it in Amazon, perhaps, I will buy it, seems to be a very good and useful book.

http://www.shopbulgaria.com/files/products/cache/w_1129240800_5000_4000_petrov.jpg

 

Edited by AlexLev

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Just made a small online search )))

P. Telge - Paul Telge (1846-1909), the German jeweler and goldsmith from Berlin (but I am not sure that he had an own mint firm to produce decorations in large numbers, he was just a court jeweler and medal designer).

B. Meyer - Bernhard Heinrich Mayer (1843-1911), the German engraver and founder of the mint firm B.H. Mayer Kunstprägeanstalt in Pforzheim.

G. Sheid - Georg Adam Scheid (1838-1921), the German-Austrian jeweler and founder of the large jewelry and silver decoration company G.A. Scheid in Vienna.

As for Yugenen Brothers & Co. - the transliteration is completelly wrong, it is hard to understand who they are...:wacky: Most probably - Fritz Huguenin, the Swiss engraver and founder (together with his brother Albert Huguenin) of the watch-case design and mint company Huguenin Frères et Cie SA in Le Locle.

Edited by AlexLev

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Bulgarian designers of decorations/engravers/owners of private jewelry and mint workshops:

S. Miloshev - Strakhil Miloshev (Страхил Милошев) from Sofia.

N. Sobev - Nikola Sabev (Никола Сабев).

Onik Odabashian - Оник Одабашян.

Edited by AlexLev

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12 hours ago, AlexLev said:

Just made a small online search )))

P. Telge - Paul Telge (1846-1909), the German jeweler and goldsmith from Berlin (but I am not sure that he had an own mint firm to produce decorations in large numbers, he was just a court jeweler and medal designer).

B. Meyer - Bernhard Heinrich Mayer (1843-1911), the German engraver and founder of the mint firm B.H. Mayer Kunstprägeanstalt in Pforzheim.

G. Sheid - Georg Adam Scheid (1838-1921), the German-Austrian jeweler and founder of the large jewelry and silver decoration company G.A. Scheid in Vienna.

As for Yugenen Brothers & Co. - the transliteration is completelly wrong, it is hard to understand who they are...:wacky: Most probably - Fritz Huguenin, the Swiss engraver and founder (together with his brother Albert Huguenin) of the watch-case design and mint company Huguenin Frères et Cie SA in Le Locle.

The book had this info in Bulgarian, so transcription is not fully accurate.

Yugenen Brothers & Co is most likely Huguenin

 

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What is the name of the book? Need to translate this text from German (which I know not very good), but I have seen some mistakes already, for instance, the medal was introduced in 1881, not in 1883...

Edited by AlexLev

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12 minutes ago, AlexLev said:

What is the name of the book? Need to translate this text from German (which I know not very good), but I have seen some mistakes already, for instance, the medal was introduced in 1881, not in 1883...

 

image.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

So, according to the aforementioned journal, this medal was minted also by Carl Poellath Munz- und Pragewerk Schrobenhausen (old and famous German mint company).

Edited by AlexLev

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19 hours ago, AlexLev said:

So, according to the aforementioned journal, this medal was minted also by Carl Poellath Munz- und Pragewerk Schrobenhausen (old and famous German mint company).

I will add  L. CHR. LAUER from Nurnberg for first silver medals 1908 y. 

If you can read Russian - see on russian forum 

http://ak-group.ru/forum/showthread.php?t=18182 

 

 

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Do you mean that first examples of Silver-class medals of Tsar Ferdinand l’s period were minted by L. Chr. Lauer from Nurnberg (famous German mint company, founded in 1790)? Interesting info, thanks. 

Unfortunatelly, it is impossible to identify the exact mint company for Bronze-class medals of Tsar Boris III’s period, as they don’t have any mint marks or special details for such kind of identification.

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