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Commemorative Medal for the Election of Prince Ferdinand I, 2nd Class, 1887


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Hi guys,

Here is my last find. I would like to know is the details below correct...

Commemorative Medal for the Election of Prince Ferdinand I, 2nd Class, 1887

The Medal was instituted on 21st December 1887 and awarded to military who had been members of the garrisons of the towns through which Ferdinand I passed on his arrival in Bulgaria on 2nd August 1887.

Prince Ferdinand Battenberg (of House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) was a well-connected, German prince, related to many of the crowned heads of Europe. He became King (Tsar) of Bulgaria in 1908 on the declaration of the kingdom until 3rd October 1918 when country became defeated in the Great War.

This award is Maltese cross type, with fleur-de-lys between the arms. Obverse centre medallion bearing the crowned cipher of Ferdinand I within a ring inscribed "БОЖИЯ И НАРОДНА ВОЛЯ" (By the will of the Prince and the People).

The reverse central medallion bearing the Saxon coat of arms within a ring inscribed "25 ЮЛІЙ 2 АВГУСТЪ 1887" (25th July 2nd August 1887).

All awards made by Rothe in Vienna and 2nd Class only 1,019 were issued.

188336931599f3_o.jpg

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Hi guys,

Here is my last find. I would like to know is the details below correct...

Commemorative Medal for the Election of Prince Ferdinand I, 2nd Class, 1887

The Medal was instituted on 21st December 1887 and awarded to military who had been members of the garrisons of the towns through which Ferdinand I passed on his arrival in Bulgaria on 2nd August 1887.

Prince Ferdinand Battenberg (of House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) was a well-connected, German prince, related to many of the crowned heads of Europe. He became King (Tsar) of Bulgaria in 1908 on the declaration of the kingdom until 3rd October 1918 when country became defeated in the Great War.

This award is Maltese cross type, with fleur-de-lys between the arms. Obverse centre medallion bearing the crowned cipher of Ferdinand I within a ring inscribed "БОЖИЯ И НАРОДНА ВОЛЯ" (By the will of the Prince and the People).

The reverse central medallion bearing the Saxon coat of arms within a ring inscribed "25 ЮЛІЙ 2 АВГУСТЪ 1887" (25th July 2nd August 1887).

All awards made by Rothe in Vienna and 2nd Class only 1,019 were issued.

188336931599f3_o.jpg

Nice thing Timo, I have only handled the first class, these certainly are quite rare on the market.

Paul

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You are correct the central medallion is enamelled.

Paul

Timo,

I have now discovered that your badge is in fact the Third Class (still rare). The First Class is silver-gilt with enamelled centre, the Second Class is silver with enamelled centre, Third Class silver-gilt (yours), Fourth Class silver and Fifth class bronze. All classes are rare. I have only handled the First class (about 16 years ago) and I have not encountered any of the other classes apart form your example. I think it is a rare decoration in any class although peversely probably the First has survived in larger quantities at it was awarded to the top echelons of society (and I wouldn't be surprised if a few remainders emerged from Gotha).

All the best,

Paul

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Thank you very much for the correction! I wasn't aware that mine is 3rd class and that so many different classes exist!

Anyway, I am very pleased with this one. I can see currently only one on sale in online dealer site and looks like they are not the cheapest awards! Mine found her way to my collection over trade.

Any ideas how many 3rd classes were produced? Also did civil clerks were entitled for these too? As I said, it is suprise to me that there were so many different classes!

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Thank you very much for the correction! I wasn't aware that mine is 3rd class and that so many different classes exist!

Anyway, I am very pleased with this one. I can see currently only one on sale in online dealer site and looks like they are not the cheapest awards! Mine found her way to my collection over trade.

Any ideas how many 3rd classes were produced? Also did civil clerks were entitled for these too? As I said, it is suprise to me that there were so many different classes!

My feeling is that given the number around they were produced in small numbers, the classes being dictated by protocol. I would imagine that the 5th class (which is probably quite rare) was for lower grade government officials. Unless there is a sources in Bulgaria I doubt if the numbers awarded are traceable but given how other Bulgarian material turns up quite frequently I would suggest that this confirms its rarity.

Paul

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Great addition Noor!

Paul, what's the source stating this is a 5 class award? I've seen this claim repeated several times, maybe first in the mid-1960s in an article in either OMRS or OMSA journals, but it is incorrect. According to Bulgarian archive materials {cited for example by Pavlov [pp. 245-6, Bulgarian Orders and Medals, Sofia, 2002] and Petrov [pp. 173-5, Bulgarian Orders and Medals, Sofia, 2005]}, it has just 3 classes. Insignia is silver gilt with enamel centres for lst class, gilded metal for 2nd class and silvered metal for 3rd class. Various Bulgarian official publications of the period identify this item as a 'cross', a 'medal' and a 'memorial order'.

Bulgarian documents, according to Pavlov & Petrov among others, confirm first awards on 28 October 1889 [old style] and last awards in 1906 [new style]. Award rolls name 2,193 people presented with all 3 classes [699 lst class, 1019 2nd class and 475 3rd class]. Rothe made the insignia: exact production runs unknown. Apparently 2 types exist; differences include the number of cloves on the reverse side rue crown center. Some 2nd type, 2nd class pieces are silver-gilt complete with hallmarks----do not know whether any first type, 2nd class pieces are struck in silver. All 3rd class crosses seen to date are of silvered bronze. As late as 1990, Bulgarian archives held an unknown number of unissued pieces, some of which got onto the market. A few of these are in their original Rothe marked cases and some even have the original tissue paper protecting the cross!

A late-1970s Klenau auction offered a lst class badge set with diamonds on a ladies bow. A Bulgarian War Museum display included a gentleman's lst class badge set with diamonds in the early 1980s but that piece is no longer on display. These pieces most likely were Ferdinand's personal gifts to special people. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Princess Clementine of S-C-G [Ferdinand's mother] may have received a jeweled piece.

At one time [maybe the late 1960s-early 1970s?], a Charles Lusted catalog listed a silver cross with enamel center. On closer examination, this proved to be a very worn lst class badge.

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922F is correct - there are no 4th or 5th classes of this medal, only 3 classes existed.

As for number of awarded medals - reference books list certain numbers, but many collectors believe that numbers are much higher that previously thought.

One can find 3rd class for sale almost anytime - many in original cases, with signs of wear, some part of the groups. I also have seen good number of period photos of Bulgarian officers. Almost every single officer had this medal wearing. That proves that there were more than 475 medals awarded, otherwise medal would be rarely seen on the market.

Edited by new world
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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 months later...

Just one small correction, gents. Prince Ferdinand is the second Bulgarian monarch and is of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha House and is not a Battenberg of the Hesse-Darmstadt House. The first Bulgarian prince Alexander is a Battenberg. Not that it matters much, concerning this beautiful medal. We Bulgarians really had among the most beautiful medals and ordes as someone else already mentioned. ;)

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 years later...
On 09/07/2011 at 10:16, 922F said:

Great addition Noor!

 

Paul, what's the source stating this is a 5 class award? I've seen this claim repeated several times, maybe first in the mid-1960s in an article in either OMRS or OMSA journals, but it is incorrect. According to Bulgarian archive materials {cited for example by Pavlov [pp. 245-6, Bulgarian Orders and Medals, Sofia, 2002] and Petrov [pp. 173-5, Bulgarian Orders and Medals, Sofia, 2005]}, it has just 3 classes. Insignia is silver gilt with enamel centres for lst class, gilded metal for 2nd class and silvered metal for 3rd class. Various Bulgarian official publications of the period identify this item as a 'cross', a 'medal' and a 'memorial order'.

 

Bulgarian documents, according to Pavlov & Petrov among others, confirm first awards on 28 October 1889 [old style] and last awards in 1906 [new style]. Award rolls name 2,193 people presented with all 3 classes [699 lst class, 1019 2nd class and 475 3rd class]. Rothe made the insignia: exact production runs unknown. Apparently 2 types exist; differences include the number of cloves on the reverse side rue crown center. Some 2nd type, 2nd class pieces are silver-gilt complete with hallmarks----do not know whether any first type, 2nd class pieces are struck in silver. All 3rd class crosses seen to date are of silvered bronze. As late as 1990, Bulgarian archives held an unknown number of unissued pieces, some of which got onto the market. A few of these are in their original Rothe marked cases and some even have the original tissue paper protecting the cross!

 

 

A late-1970s Klenau auction offered a lst class badge set with diamonds on a ladies bow. A Bulgarian War Museum display included a gentleman's lst class badge set with diamonds in the early 1980s but that piece is no longer on display. These pieces most likely were Ferdinand's personal gifts to special people. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Princess Clementine of S-C-G [Ferdinand's mother] may have received a jeweled piece.

 

 

At one time [maybe the late 1960s-early 1970s?], a Charles Lusted catalog listed a silver cross with enamel center. On closer examination, this proved to be a very worn lst class badge.

Gentlemen, does anyone know if this medal is not for Bulgarians? For example, Austrian-Hungarians can get it?

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