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AlexLev

Long Service Cross (BULGARIA)

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Hello, dear friends! 

I would like to collect an information about Bulgarian Long Service Cross. From what I know at the moment is the following:

The medal was instituted by Princely Decree on 2 August 1889. Leopold-type cross with beaded arms and stippled panels had size 34-37 mm, scroll and laterally-pierced ball suspension, and yellow-black-white trifold ribbon. The cross was awarded to those who served in the army for at least 10 years with diligence, distinguished and exemplary conduct in four classes – Cross for 10 years of service in the army for NCO (gilt bronze), Cross for 20 years of service in the army for NCO (gilt bronze), Cross for 10 years of service in the army for officers (silver-plated bronze or silver-plated white metal), Cross for 20 years of service in the army for officers (green enamel with white-enameled edges, introduced in 1899). There were three types of this cross. The face with a circular central royal medallion bearing the crowned cipher of corresponding monarch circumscribed “
ОТЛИЧНА СЛУЖБА” ("excellent service" in Bulgarian), below is the Roman numeral “X” (in the case of 10 years of service) or the cross had suspension of an oval laurel wreath surrounding the Roman numerals “XX” (in the case of 20 years of service). Cross for 20 years of service for officers on the face had a circular central white enamel royal medallion bearing the gilt metal crowned cipher encircled by a red enamel ring inscribed in gilt letters "ОТЛИЧНА СЛУЖБА" (first examples had inverted ring, so that it read “СЛУЖБА ОТЛИЧНА“), the reverse was with a circular central enamel medallion and such crosses had an oval green enamel laurel wreath suspension.

Type I with a circular central medallion bearing the crowned cipher “ФI” of the Prince (later - King) Ferdinand I. The reverse with a circular central medallion bearing the Bulgarian crowned lion rampant with a shield with the Saxon coat of arms imposed on its breast. Cross for 20 years of service for officers had on reverse a circular central white enamel medallion inscribed in silver letters "2 АВГУСТЪ 1887" within a beaded border ("2 August 1887" in Bulgarian - the date when Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha became the Prince (Knyaz) of Bulgaria). This cross was issued in 1889-1918.

Type II with a circular central medallion bearing the crowned cipher “БIII” of the King (Tsar) Boris III on the face. The reverse with a circular central medallion bearing the Bulgarian crowned lion rampant without shield (cross for 20 years of service for officers had on reverse a circular central red enamel medallion bearing the gilt Bulgarian crowned lion rampant within a beaded border). This cross was issued in 1918-1943.

Type III – regency type, similar to Type II but ribbon was in color of Bulgarian flag (white ribbon with red and green stripes near both edges).

Any additional information is very welcome, thanks!!!

Long Service Cross.jpg

Edited by AlexLev

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Does anybody know, how many crosses of type II (Tsar Boris III), Silver class for officers (10 years of service) were awarded during the Interwar period and during World War II? Were they winted in Germany/Bulgaria/Switzerland as many other Bulgarian decorations?

Edited by AlexLev

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There is an information that cross for 20 years of distinguished service for NCOs was introduced on 7 April 1933 only, so there was no cross of such class during Ferdinand I’s rule. Is the information correct?

Edited by AlexLev

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Hi AlexLev

The Ferdinand Model was mint in Austria

I have to check the Boris Model for any maker marks

The exact number will be difficult to determine, because they are given in very huge numbers

Perhaps if you contact the Military Museum in Sofia you might be lucky to get some information

 

Here is the first Model Officer XX Years of Service Cross

001.JPG

002.JPG

003.JPG

004.JPG

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Hi, Graf!

Nice example of Cross for 20 years of service for officers from Ferdinand I's period minted by Rothe from Vienna! Note the characteristic oval green enamel laurel wreath suspension with the Roman numerals "XX". Yes, this is one of the first examples with inverted ring on the face enameled royal medallion, so you can see the inscription "СЛУЖБА ОТЛИЧНА" instead of usual and much more common "ОТЛИЧНА СЛУЖБА". Superb item!!!

Edited by AlexLev

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As for the amount of awarded crosses - may be not huge numbers as Bulgarian army during the Interwar period was quite small according to restrictions of the Treaty of Neuilly (1919) after the country was defeated in WWI, but should be significant numbers indeed. 

Some short info about Bulgarian army.

Before WWI Bulgaria had 3.900 officers and 55.000 soldiers, but the country could mobilize about 500.000 men army during the war time. According to the Treaty of Neuilly (1919) Bulgarian army was restricted to 20.000 volunteers, overall military duty was abolished. Soldiers and NCOs must be served in the army as volunteers not less than 12 years, and officers - not less than 20 years to prevent the formation of army reserve. Also it was allowed to have about 3.000 volunteers for frontier guard and 7.000 volunteers for gendarmerie, police and customs service. There were also restrictions concerning armament. So in 1925 the Bulgarian Army consisted of 1.000 officers, 20.291 soldiers, also 3.738 men of frontier guard and 6.900 gendarmers. According to the Treaty of Neuilly Bulgaria was not allowed to have the navy also except 4 torpedo boats on the Black Sea and 6 motor boats on the Danube river for coast-guard and fishing control.

Edited by AlexLev

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Also from Ferdinand I's period as you can see the Bulgarian lion rampant with a shield with the Saxon coat of arms in the reverse side (crosses from Boris III's period didn't have such a shield imposed on the lion's breast). Nice item also, minted by Georg Adam Scheid jewelry factory in Vienna!!!

My cross from Boris III's period has no any mintmarks, unfortunatelly....Seems to be that it was made not from silver-plated bronze but from silver-plated white metal.

Edited by AlexLev

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You may be interested in seeing a miniature version of the type II:

 

XX-mini.jpg.3c4f7fe6e2be4b10bcf8a23417dbc8d7.jpg

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Hi Larsb001

 

Excellent mini  of the King Boris III Type  I like those minis

Here is the full Size of this Model. It is not marked No idea who was the maker

I assume German Firm, however I can only speculate

001.JPG

002.JPG

004.JPG

Edited by Graf

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Yes, larsb001, a very nice miniature of the officer’s cross for XX years of service from the Boris III’s period! 

Dear Graf - this is type II (Boris III), not type I (Ferdinand I). Also it is better to use Tsar instead of King for Bulgarian (and for other East and South European Slavic monarchies) highest royal title;) Nice item also!!!

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Hi AlexLev,

 

I think you are young and energetic eager to learn and to absorb new knowledge person. It is OK

 

If you read  carefully my Text it will noticed that i referred to the Cross as King or you prefer Tsar Boris III Model

Best

 

Graf

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Posted (edited)

Hi, Graf!

No, I am not young and I know a lot already, but, of course, always open to a new knowledge))) If you read carefully my note (by the way, I read and write everything very carefully) you should know now that Tsar is more correct word for East-European Slavic monarch (mainly orthodox) than King (mainly catholic West-European monarch). But both variants are widely used in the English-language literature.

Edited by AlexLev

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This is the line i am referring to -  Dear Graf - this is type II (Boris III), not type I (Ferdinand I). related to my post #10 and more particular to the statement " Excellent mini  of the King Boris III Type 

i do not argue about the use of Tsar or King.

As you mentioned both King and Tsar are used in the English literature

This site is meant to discuss and share knowledge in a polite way

All the Best

Graf

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Posted (edited)

So use a polite way for discussions always, Graf! No need to use such erroneous phrases as “young and energetic eager” as you did before, discuss only crosses and their history here! And remember to use type II for Boris III’s Long Service Cross as well as Tsar (preferably) for his royal title to be 100% correct.

Edited by AlexLev

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Posted (edited)

Also German mint firm C.F. Zimmermann from Pforzheim could produce these crosses.

Edited by AlexLev

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