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Bulgarian medals and ribbon bars

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Fantastic stuff! The quality of these Imperial era awards is astounding! My only Bulgarian decoration is on a bar which I suspect belonged to a navy tech type.

The seems to be a unique combination of awards on the ribbon bar so let's hope that Rick can work his incredible magic! biggrin.gif

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John's post 1938 4 bar is an very interesting combination to someone Red Cross-ish who seems to have skipped all other WW1 awards entirely (civilian?) yet got the 1912-13 Mobilization Cross!

David's bar just above is Classic Godet-- that pale gray backing with the heavy struck brass catch hook is "signature" for their items.

This has no Bulgarian awards, but I just want to show a metal taggged Godet ribbon bar (this one ii its original box, ooooooo) so you see why we say a tagless one IS Godet--

the backing color was usually this light gray rather than the usual red or black or whatever. The construction of the bar is usually brass, with this sort of hinge and the thick STRUCK, soldered on catch. Do not confuse these with the Hideous Hand Snipped All Brass Fraud bars!

The little "license plate" is often removed from bars, but often leaves a "ghost" rectangle where it was. Because of the distinctive characteristics of Godet ribbon bars, some devices that were peculiar to them also identify bars which have different backings.

And here is my favorite "red enamel" set-- matching medal bar and lapel bow with a couple of extra ribbons (the WW1 commemoratives) on the 25mm size ribbon bar. Backed in PINK and ORANGE, which makes me wonder just WHAT sort of clothing THESE were worn on! ohmy.giflaugh.gif

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  • 4 months later...

Cristophe, re post #10: "Order of military merit 4th class 2nd grade with X":

There is no 4th class, 2nd grade of this order. This is the 5th Class of the National Order of Military Merit (Народен орден ?За военна заслуга?, V степен).

I Class: Grand Cross, sash badge and breast star

II Class: Grand Officer's Cross, neck badge and and breast star

III Class: Commander's Cross, neck badge

IV Class: Officer's Cross, breast badge with rosette

V Class: Knight's Cross, breast badge

VI Class: Silver Cross, no enamel

The 5th and 6th Classes were also awarded without the crown, which one might call a 2nd grade, but they were not denoted as such in Bulgaria.

Also, all versions of this order came with swords. The only Bulgarian order that came with and without swords was the Order of St. Alexander (although there are some rare variants of the Military Order "For Bravery" without swords.

It was the Military Order "For Bravery" whose 3rd and 4th Classes during World War One were divided into a 1st and 2nd grade, with the 1st grade being a pinback cross and the 2nd grade suspended from a ribbon (white enamel for the 3rd Class, red for the 4th Class).

There is a fair amount of confusion on the net about Bulgarian awards, and Bulgarian dealers are often the source of misinformation. I added to it for a while by having my examples misidentified.

But the confusion has deeper roots, especially with awards to non-Bulgarians. For example, the Soldier's Cross for Bravery, the enlisted version of the Military Order "For Bravery", came in four classes. The 1st and 2nd were gilt and the 3rd and 4th were silver. The only difference between the 1st and 2nd, and between the 3rd and 4th, was the bow on the ribbon. But most examples awarded to foreigners, especially Germans, were not mounted with bows. Similarly, the rosette is the only difference between the 4th and 5th Classes of the National Order of Military Merit, but German officer's bars are often missing rosettes.

Below is an example of a III Class (Commander's Cross) of the National Order of Military Merit, on the ribbon of the Military Order "For Bravery", awarded to a German officer. However, the Bulgarian regulations say that only the IV, V and VI classes of the National Order of Military Merit could be awarded on the ribbon of the Military Order "For Bravery", and then in the case of the IV and V classes, the ring around the medallion would be in white enamel rather than green.

IPB ImageIPB Image

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John's post 1938 4 bar is an very interesting combination to someone Red Cross-ish who seems to have skipped all other WW1 awards entirely (civilian?) yet got the 1912-13 Mobilization Cross!

Persons eligible for the Erinnerungskreuz 1912/13 were military personnel of the Army, Navy, Landwehr, Gendarmerie, Finance Guard (Finanzwache), Border Police (k.u.k. Grenzpolizei) and state Forest Service, voluntary medical personnel and certain military attaches and officers who had participated in the Balkan Wars in an official capacity, as long as these classes of personnel had spent at least 4 weeks on active duty with mobilized units during the state of emergency. So an Austrian civilian doctor working with the Bulgarian Army or a called-up Austro-Hungarian unit could have qualified.

The lack of an Austrian War Commemorative Medal is odd. Obviously, by the backing, the ribbon bar was made after this award was instituted. The award criteria for the War Commemorative Medal covered civilians, including medical personnel, who had participated in the war effort. So even if the recipient were civilian, given the Red Cross Decoration he should have been eligible. The Red Cross Decoration was instituted in 1914, and the war decoration was only authorized for persons actively serving the Red Cross, and not for persons who just gave contributions.

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I have often wondered why there is not more collector deman for Imperial era pieces from Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. The quality of workmanship and the beauty of the orders themselves is (IMO) very much akin to what the Austrians and Germans were doing at the same time. In fact, you will find a very high number of these "foreign" awards that were actually made by many of the premier Austrian/German Court jewelers of the era. Fabulous stuff!

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I find the Bulgarian, Romanian, Hungarian and (gasp) even some of the Soviet awards to be pretty stunning. Once upon a time I had an extensive Austrian collection... but while the quality was top-notch, the variety was not. These other small countries seem to fill that void for me nicely!

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