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Hi all, I was hoping for a little help identifying an order, I have searched all sorts of European orders but cannot identify it, (I'm sure that in the end it'll be easy).

Worn by King Boris III of Bulgaria, the neck dec and top star are the St Cyril and Methodius, that's easy, it's the other one giving me grief, any ideas?, any help appreciated as usual. A small colour image showing the award, looks like some version of Bene Merenti

regards

Alex K

Edited by Alex K
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This is the special commemorative award given to H.M. on behalf of the royal Bulgarian officers' corps on the anniversary of H.M.'s 20 years' service as a commissioned officer. It is described in specialist Bulgarian publications, in a 1980s BDOS article and in a 2009 [?] Sofia military museum booklet. Note similarity of the superimposed cross to the typical royal Bulgarian officer's 20 years of service.

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Certainly you are welcome; some sources report that H.M. had several [2-3?] such pieces for wear on various uniforms. At least one was held at Simeon's Madrid exile residence in the early 1970s. Supposedly, H.M.'s father gave him one with a 'brilliant set' star body [made by Zimmerman] but unknown if true.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi new world, yes it had me stumped but thanks to member 922F, we now know.

Attached is a composite image I've created based on assumed details of what it may have looked like. Anyone got a real image?

Edited by Alex K
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Thanks, I can't be a 100% certain but it is based on the Bulgarian 20 year long service cross and a standard "Starburst". It would be nice if someone could come up with a real image, I imagine that such a unique decoration must have been catalogued somewhere. The black and white blow-up seems to look like the starburst is in fact studded with brilliants (Diamonds) as per 922F's comments

regards

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Alex,

Thank you for your work on the composite image!!

It looks very similar to the star seen in Madrid in 1972-3. I seem to recall that the wreath between the cross arms was not enamelled but rather gilt/gold. A Bulgarian original source on the 20 year star is I.K. Stoychev Boenhoucmopuyecku cbophuk, 1941, kn 51 cmp 26--a source I have never seen but which is cited in several reliable sources [Denkov, Petrov & Pavlov]. The motto ring inscription was also more customized; probably similar to that of H.M.'s 10 year anniversary of commissioned military service star. Yes, there was such a beast!

Denkov, Petrov & Pavlov describe [Denkov, p.105 & Petrov p.144 illustrate] the 10 year star which was/is displayed in Sofia's National Museum of Miitary History, in 2008 at least. It's motto ring inscription reads: "NA VARHOVNIA SI VOZHD PREDANNATA ARMIA" {To Its Supreme Leader-The Loyal Army}. Likely, the 20 year star inscription bears an analogous sentiment.

Edited by 922F
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Hi 922F thanks for the additional info, I wondered about the gilt laurels based on the original black and white image and the laurels on the suspension ring on the LS award, however another attempt at what it may have looked like! (Actually, if correct, I nice looking award IMHO)

regards

Alex

Edited by Alex K
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Thank you Alex for your efforts in creating such an excellent image!!!

On closer examination of these awards, the mystery deepens..... Images of the 10 year star, identified in all three Bulgarian references as a special commemoration of Boris' 10 years of service, suggest that it is in fact a special award from the officer's corps recognizing Boris' 10 years as Supreme Commander [i.e. in his character as Tsar, thus head of the armed services] rather than service as a commissioned officer. This because the motto ring inscription in fact reads: "+Ha BbpxoBhnR Cn Bo*D +Predannata Armia" {loosely 'With Fidelity/Patriotism and God The Loyal Army} and more importantly because the upper and lower arms of what would be the ten year service cross are dated 1918 on the upper arm and 1928 on the lower arm! Further, in addition to a wreath, a crossed fasces and apparent Bulgarian marshal's baton appear between the 10 year cross arms. Boris' officer's commission in the Bulgarian Army probably dates from his birth [30 January {O.S. 18 January} 1894] or his 18th birthday. Perhaps "Predannata Armia" could be more clearly translated as Armed Services rather than Army?

Maybe these stars were intended as long service awards in the sense of Supreme Commander rather than simply as a commissioned officer? That concept may suggest that your first post concerns a 20th anniiversary honor dating from 1938 and that it incorporates the motto ring inscription in my post #9 above???

Herewith an image of the 10 year star.

Edited by 922F
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Hi 922F, interesting information and thanks for posting the 10 year star, all in all, if I assume correctly, these can then be described as "Personal" awards to Boris III, the 10 year star appears to be set with brilliants.

regards

Alex

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Yes, Alex, these are apparently one-off commemorative awards destined for Tsar Boris III only. I know of just one example of the 10 year star [described as a gold cross embellished with devices including an enamel motto ring surrounded by brilliants; diamonds at the tips of the cross which is set on a silver starburst--the image more definitely depicts the design] and was told there were 2 or 3 of the 20 year stars [star body of one set with brillliants--possibly a gift from Ferdinand].

What seems a bit odd or unclear to me: Knowledgable Bulgarian researchers ID these as special grades of the long service as commissioned officer crosses, not as long service as Supreme Commander awards. Perhaps this for ease of classification or .....

They appear to have been commissioned and offered by the officer's corps so potentially may/would be 'outside' the regular series of State sanctioned honors.

Maybe I. K. Stoychev's 1941 report clarifies the matter.

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