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    My collection of Bulgarian cap badges, 1944-1991

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    Bulgaria is a bit of a forgotten nation when it comes to militaria collectors. Mostly its socialist era is often neglected by most. Thanks to a great collector who posts elsewhere I had the chance to admire several great quality Bulgarian orders and medals. I myself since a long time fell in love with Bulgarian cap badges - specifically with embroidered Navy ones. I've been hunting them for a long time and am still missing a couple of them (including a large wreaths one I've seen only once on a cap).

    Another element that always fascinated me about Bulgaria, that People's Republic that asked to join the USSR, is the striking similarity between many of its cap badges and Soviet ones. Many of the navy embroidered cockades are incredibly similar to Soviet ones (and my studies seem to have confirmed that the third cap badge from right, second row, mounts a Soviet anchor badge, emasculated of the res star. Furthermore, the Airforce cab badges are almost identical to the ones in use in the USSR until 1949 (the only difference being that the Bulgarian ones lacked the hammer and sickle inscribed in the red star). Finally we have the large and small metal wreaths cockades, clearly reminding us of their Soviet counterparts. 

    In the title I wrote 1944-1991 since after discussing the issue with other fellow collectors we came to the conclusion the the two stars on the left side of that last row MIGHT be late 1944-early 1945 production, possibly used by the Soviet-eligned Bulgarian Fatherland Front forces.

    Hopefully the photos will provide enough details.





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    • 3 weeks later...

    Nice collection! The red paint star on the last row is a common socialist type, not a rare or early. As for the green one with the hammer and sickle, is it Bulgarian at all? These were made in Bulgaria indeed, right after the war, by one of the royal times workshops for buttons, cockades, etc. But the production also included same color buttons with star with hammer and sickle and I have heard all these were made for the Soviet forces in Bulgaria, quite a significant army group which stayed in the country for a few years.

    Edited by Theodor
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    • 1 month later...

    Thank you so much for your informed answer dear Theodor!

    The red paint star's crude and quite old looking red paint must have misled me into thinking this was an earlier version of the enamel and later plastic enamel/paint ones.. Thanks for clarifying this!

    Your information on the green star are very interesting indeed! I should have thought of this myself, since I am an avid collector of German-made reparation cap stars.. It seems perfectly plausible that Bulgarian workshops and firms produced cap badges of this sort and buttons for Soviet troops.

    Since you are so well informed about Bulgarian cockades, I'll get together some decent close-up scans of the navy cockades which I'd love to discuss with you. I have many theories and no certainty about those..

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    An interesting partisan award Tim. This type of badges (together with Czechoslovak ones) always attracted me, but I have since long sword a sacred vow to confine myself to collecting cap badges (which drain my finances well enough already..).


    Dear Theodor, here I come with come questions about Bulgarian navy cap badges.

    First of all, I'd like to submit to you my theory about a quite particular cap badge, which I believe is the result of the addition of a Soviet anchor onto a Bulgarian embroidered patch.

    Let me now show you the patient.



    Despite the similarities between many Bulgarian badges and their Soviet counterparts, this embroidered patch is most definitely Bulgarian. Now I show another cap badge displaying what I believe to be the correct (Bulgarian) anchor.



    And now, let me show you why I believe the first badge shown above to be a "collage" construct. In a nutshell, I believe a Soviet anchor-star badge has been emasculated of the red star and applied onto the embroidered patch (for reasons clearly entirely unknown to me..). Here the proofs. 

    In the first picture you'll see on the left a typical Soviet post-war Navy cockade of the 1950s type (metal wire tied around the anchor and enamelled star) and on the right our mysterious Bulgarian "collage" badge. I have highlighted on the Bulgarian badge where I believe one can clearly recognise the levelling of the metal oval and of the anchor's upper part, as a result of the star's removal.


    Let me now show you a (rather poor quality..) picture of the Bulgarian badge where I highlighted the area where no milling is visible (once again as a result of the star's removal).



    What do you think about this theory of mine?


    Finally, allow me to take advantage of your knowledge and to ask you whether you have any idea about how to date these Navy cockades?

    I've seen the multi-piece construction metal one (second row from top, second from right) used by Bulgarian naval infantry, but I have been unable to find any other photo that could clarify me when these cap badges (and most of all those in the first row) were used.

    Here they come!


    Thank you so much!

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    Hello GC,

    Yes, understand the partisan badge does not really belong here but Bulgarian items are so far and in between... :blush:

    I started on cap badges but like you...had to stop somewhere and only collect in the U.S. area now.  Just too many directions to follow.  You have a very nice collection here! :cheers:


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    An immense collection! I didn´tknow, Bulgaria had such a quantity of cap badges.

    It doesn´t belong here, but I have a bulgarian (worn at the cap or tunic) one from the first world war. It was worn by austrians and germans too. (who served near the greek border and in Macedonia under bulgarian high command).

    It says: Tsar ferdinand I, In memory of the liberation of Macedonia

    Zar Ferdinand I. von Bulgarien, Erinnerung an die Befreiung Mazedoniens.JPG


    Edited by The Prussian
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    • 2 weeks later...

    Any contribution is more than welcomed!

    As you can imagine, due to the very limited scope of my collecting (USSR, Warsaw Pact, SFRJ cap badges), it is often difficult for me to engage in any debate at all with fellow collectors..

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    • 2 weeks later...

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