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Eric Schena

A family of Skanderbegs from Albania

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Hi all:

Thanks to a good friend of mine, I now have a complete set of communist period classes of the Order of Skanderbeg (Urdhёri i Skёnderbeut). Named after 15th century Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti, better known by his Ottoman name of Skanderbeg, the Order of Skanderbeg was established in 1945 and was awarded to senior armed forces officers for significant combat contributions during WW II. I have been "collecting" varieties of this order (yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Someone collecting varieties of communist Albanian orders? Who knew!"), and have identified a few different types. This is what I have so far identified.

Please note that this is original research (and is still VERY much a work in progress), so if someone wants to "borrow" it, be my guest, HOWEVER, I'd appreciate if you just let me know beforehand before posting anywhere else...

First Class: Gold ten pointed star upon which is a red enameled star, at the center, a separately attached grayed silver medallion on a wreath with the helmeted idealized bust of Skanderbeg. The Pr?wema screwback versions appear to be made of an anodized alloy rather than a gilt nickel alloy. 98 are believed to have been awarded by the mid 1980?s.

a. Screw back made by IKOM (not observed but presumed to exist)

b. Screw back made by PR?WEMA:

i. Large marked screw plate

ii. Small marked screw plate

c. Horizontal pin back with dished central section on reverse (not observed but presumed to exist)

d. Horizontal pin back with completely flat reverse (not observed but presumed to exist)

Here's the 1st class - this one a PR?WEMA made piece with the larger (older) screwplate:

Edited by Eric Schena

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Second Class: Similar to the 1st class, however, the badge is silver with a gilt wreath. 229 are believed to have been awarded by the mid 1980?s.

a. Screw back made by IKOM (not observed but presumed to exist)

b. Screw back made by PR?WEMA:

i. Large marked screw plate

ii. Small marked screw plate

c. Horizontal pin back with dished central section on reverse

d. Horizontal pin back with completely flat reverse

This is the horizontal pinback dished reverse type...

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Third Class: Similar to the 2nd class, however, the entire badge is silver and not enameled. 472 are believed to have been awarded by the mid 1980?s.

a. Screw back made by IKOM (not observed but presumed to exist)

b. Screw back made by PR?WEMA:

i. Large marked screw plate

ii. Small marked screw plate

c. Horizontal pin back with dished central section on reverse

d. Horizontal pin back with completely flat reverse (not observed but presumed to exist)

This is the small screwplate PR?WEMA version. I also have a horizontal pinback w/dished reverse variety that looks almost exactly like this one, leading me to believe that they were both made by PR?WEMA.

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And in case you were wondering, here are the two types of PR?WEMA screwplates. The one on the left is the larger (and older) style, the one on the right the smaller newer style.

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Oh . . . pretty . . . :love:

Thanks, Eric. Always glad to learn new things.

Ed

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I think you've just posted more information and photos than exist in any single Enlish-language publication. I don't think I've ever seen the lower grades.

Thanks,

Jeff Floyd

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Thanks for the comments! The Skanderbeg Order has always been a personal favorite of mine.

If you want to see a 1950's period 3rd class ribbon, check out: http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=2445

Finding info on communist Albanian decorations is actually harder than finding the decorations. Apparently there is a book in Albanian written in the 1980's about them but that book is so hard to find that it is almost legendary/mythic (the "Nessie"/"Champ" of medal books). That is where I got the numbers awarded from - via a friend who saw the book. I am trying to get even so much as a photocopy so I can complete some of my research on these elusive decorations.

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:beer: We are grateful for your pioneering work here, Eric! YOU are writing what will become the standard reference for the rest of us. Thanks!

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Eric,

most informative Thread :beer: You should think about to compile your work into a book or CD.

You maybe remember this one, my Order of Skanderbeg 2nd class (type d after your list), which i only was able to recognize on ebay after reading your excellent thread about Albanian Orders and Medals on WAF. I have a few other Albanian awards and for some reason i like them. I mean, they are not pretty, but... Hell, i don?t know, why, but i do. ;)

best,

Gerd

Edited by Gerd Becker

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Hi Gerd:

I sure do remember that Skanderbeg - you practically stole it you got it so cheap :cheers:

Funny you should mention compiling my research...I have accumulated 60 some odd pages worth so far about these orders (including a little on the Wilhelm of Wied and Zog era pieces) and I hope to polish it up and do something with it and "share the wealth". Sadly, I am missing some key info, so it's not really in any shape at present. I'll try to post excerpts of what I have so far here so more folks will have a better appreciation for these items. The Hoxha era stuff cannot hold a candle as far as workmanship is concerned to say Soviet or Mongolian orders, but they do have a certain fascination behind them.

I would absolutely love to see what you have in your collection :beer:

Cheers,

Eric

Edited by Eric Schena

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Hi Eric,

sorry for the late reply. I only have a few Albanian Awards, a representative set, what a Veteran may have worn. I have two orders, firstly this Order or Medal “Remembrance 1942-1943”, with "Ikom Zagreb" screwnut. I like it, its nicely made in a decent quality.

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And the last one, a Medal for Liberation of the Country. I hope, you enjoyed my little Albanian Collection. Would you agree, that its representative of what a veteran maybe has worn?

all the best,

Gerd

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Great stuff, Gerd :beer:

Yep...from what I can tell, a typical partisan/WW II vet would have received the Medal For Bravery, Medal for the Liberation of the Country, and if they were a partisan during the Italian occupation the Medal "Remembrance 1942-1943". They may also have had an Order of the Red Star and if they were an officer, a Skanderbeg 3rd class. I do have a pic of some Albanian officers in Odessan where they are wearing the Medal of Socialist Work, as well as the ones cited above.

The Order of labor you have is a later Albanian made piece, probably from the 1970's. Pr?wema also made that order in the 50's and 60's. I actually like the design of the Order of Labor, plus - as you can attest - they are pretty hefty in feel.

Cheers, Eric

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Eric,

I only have the photo but I though you might enjoy it!!!

Here you go in Hi-Res thanks to Rick Research doing his part ;)

P.S. I can get you original photos that are over 100K

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Could anyone tell me what the size of these orders is, since I've never had the pleasure of seeing one for real :blush:

Jan

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Could anyone tell me what the size of these orders is, since I've never had the pleasure of seeing one for real :blush:

Jan

Jan,

Same size as most awards. About the size of Order of Suvorov.

Rusty.

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Most interesting piece, Rusty. I have never seen a screwback. How would you describe the quality of the construction and the enamel?

I guess, Eric will like this :beer:

Gerd

Edited by Gerd Becker

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Most interesting piece, Rusty. I have never seen a screwback. How would you describe the quality of the construction and the enamel?

I guess, Eric will like this :beer:

Gerd

Gerd,

Sadly this piece is not in my collection.

Rusty.

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Hi Rusty:

WOW :love::jumping:

That's the first higher level IKOM Skanderbeg I've seen - I can check that one off in my guidebook as a confirmed observed variety :cheers:

I've mostly seen the Pr?wema screwbacks or the unmarked pinbacks (Gerd's is the only flatback pinback I've ever seen). I do know someone who has a second class IKOM Skanderbeg, but I've not actually seen it. I personally have four Skanderbegs: a large screwplate Pr?wema 1st class, a dished pinback 2nd class, a small screwplate Pr?wema 3rd class and a dished pinback 3rd class.

I'll try to post some detail scans for you of mine.

Great stuff! :beer:

Eric

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