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Bulgarian Red Cross Medal

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Hello, guys!

I would like to discuss Bulgarian Red Cross Medal, which was created by Royal Decree on 15.02.1918 in two classes (silver and bronze) to be awarded for acts of humanity, philanthropy and help to Bulgarian Red Cross Society during WW1. In 1929 a second issue was created, also in two classes (gold and silver). The medal is quite rare at the moment. Does anybody have some info about manufacturers of this medal? 

Edited by Frunzich
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Some short historical info on Bulgarian Red Cross Society. 

The Red Cross Society was established in Bulgaria in May 1878 after the liberation of the country from the control of Turkish Ottoman Empire during Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878. When two Bulgarian provinces - the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia - became unified on 20.09.1885, the National Organization was then founded, becoming a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. During WW1 (the Kingdom of Bulgaria participated on the side of the Central Powers) Bulgarian Red Cross helped the war wounded very active, providing them with medical trains and field hospitals. Significant contributions to BRC were made by Tsar Boris III during the period of 1918-1943.

Edited by Frunzich
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Silver class medals of 1918 or 1939 issues differ on the Greek (Geneva) cross in the center of the medal face - the medals of 1918 issue have the cross with vertical hatching denoting the heraldic red colour whereas the medals of 1939 issue have enamelled red cross.

Besides "contribution with merits to the Red Cross Society or to the cause of charity in general without distinction of sex, ethnic origin or nationality", the silver class medals were awarded for 15 years service in the Red Cross Society (gold class - for 20 years service).


Edited by Frunzich
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Hello Frunzich,

don´t be dissappointed, its probably just because there are very few people, who can add anything to the info, you posted. I for one know nothing about the WW1 Bulgarian Red Cross society, but i am allways interested to hear more about it.

all the best,


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Hi, Gerd Becker! Yes, perhaps, but I have a good long-year experience with other international military forums, there are a lot of very knowledgable guys everywhere, and a lot of very interesting reply posts and photos...

Well, I'll continue to post for everybody's interest here :)

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Hi Frunzich,,

Perhaps not many people collect the Bulgarian Red Cross medal

Do not forget that the body of knowledge regarding Bulgarian Orders and decorations is not as big as many other Europeans Orders and decorations, due to the many years of restrictions by the Communist Government.

I personally collect The Reed Cross Badge, because it has many variations to the existing models.

It makes it more exiting to chase as many variations as possible. That is my personal opinion.

Most of them were made by Austrian and German makers.




Here are some of the Red Cross models










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Hi, Graf!

A very nice collection! This is not Bulgarian Red Cross medals as the main subject of discussion here, but, also very interesting, Bulgarian Red Cross badges of different types (for instance, I see here the issues of Ferdinand I and Boris III periods, 1st and 2nd classes).

As for the relatively limited info about Bulgarian decorations - I don't think this is because of Communist government. Yes, decorations of the Royal period were abolished since 1947 when People's Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed (15 October, 1946) but the info on them was published for historical purposes, for instance, in museum catalogues and some journals (of course, the quality and accessibility of info from 1960-1980-s was far away from today Internet and digital era:D). Also 26 years already passed since Republic of Bulgaria was established in 1990 and a lot of modern literature was published on the topic.

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  • 4 months later...



Уникален и единствен по рода си червен кръст – знак от 1885 г.


may be anybody from Sofia know Rumen Manov and can ask better pictures of this badge?

Румен Манов, историк 

Всички снимки и предмети на участници в Съединението са на историка Румен Манов – собственик на столичната галерия „Нерон“, и са предоставени от него на epicenter.bg

Edited by Igor Ostapenko
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I do not know Mr Manov personally. It looks like he's collecting loads of different stuff and also writing about it (indirectly). If you enquire some good quality imagery, I guess you can message him on Facebook and ask - https://www.facebook.com/galerianeron

As for the red cross badge shown above - yet, it's a rare type of cross indeed, though the badge is a rarity by itself. I think this type is the only major type which has not been displayed by Graf in the images above. Red Cross badges can be worn in various styles, including with the rosette ribbon below the badge. Very stylish. I've attached a sample image of this type of cross with a suspension ribbon (can't recall the correct source though - somewhere from the vast Internet).




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As promised,

The scan of the image from Romanoff's book. Unfortunately, the quality of the images there is not great as seen here. In addition, these images are very tiny - 2 by 4 inches or so, thus not able to provide nice scans for it.

I am providing two scans of Todor Petrov's book (a great source of info and image reference too):

The Red Cross badge:


and the Red Cross medal (the original topic): 



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Anybody can to translate ? 



Националният исторически музей получи изключително ценно дарение, отнасящо се за периода на новата българска история. Бизнесменът Янко Стефанов Кесаровски от Бургас дари за фондавете на НИМ   колекция от матрици на български княжески и царски ордени и знаци ... 
... В българските музеи за първи път постъпва колекция от орденски матрици. Те са проектирани и изработени в световноизвестната виенската фирма „Rothe & Nefe”, отсичала държавни отличия и домашните ордени на европейските владетели домове.
Колекцията съдържа 146  броя матрици на български държавни отличия и монархически знаци, създадени по времето на княз Алексадър I,  княз Фердинанд I, цар Фердинад I и цар Борис III. Включени са най- високите награди на държавата, през княжеския период – ордена „Св. Александър”, ордена „Св. Св. Равноапостоли Кирил и Методий” от времето на Царство България, ордените „За военна заслуга”, „За гражданска заслуга”, почетния знак „Червен кръст”, кръст „За Независимостта на България – 1908 г.”, царски монограми и корони за игли... 
Матриците отговарят на описанията на почетния знак от Втора Батенбергова емисия от 1886 г. Предложени са три ринга, една корона, четири декоративни елементи, един кръст и два бр. матрици за миниатюри.
Пълен комплект за т.н. голям знак от 1886 г. Бъдещите детайлни проучвания както и исторически сведения ще помогнат за точното им датиране. Проблемът произтича от факта, че в една година – 1886  са поръчани две емисии и след по малко от две през 1888 още една... 
... VІ. Матрици на Знак “Червен кръст” – Bulgarisches Sanitatszeichen (българска санитарна значка)
Четири броя матрици за отсичане на знак с уникални размери и три  матрици за миниатюра на знака.
Пълен комплект за отсичане на знака “Червен кръст”- Фердинандова княжеска емисия от 1892 г. Едностранен. Размерите му са по големи от познатите образци които са 44х30 мм. Вероятно са отсечени ограничен брой знаци, само за високопоставени личности. Не е публикуван подобен знак.  Не е известен и миниатюр на този знак.



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Here is an internet translation.  The best that I can do.



Valuable donation from Burgas collector

- 14/10/2010 - 18:07 PM.CATEGORIES: SOCIETY


kolecsiiaNational History Museum received very valuable donation referring to the period of the new Bulgarian history. Businessman Janko Stefanov Kesarovski of Burgas donate to fondavete NHM collection of matrices Bulgarian princes and the king's orders and signs, said Violeta Velikova - Senior expert in NIM.

He was officially declared one of the biggest donors of Bulgaria. The ceremony was in the NMI and was honored by the deputy. Minister of Culture Todor Chobanov, director of the museum Dr. Tsvetana Kyoseva SCOP prosecutor Nikolai Solarov, senior officials of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Culture and specialists. The award-high recognition is Janko Kesarovski chairman donation association of the town. Bourgas

In Bulgarian museums for the first time joined a collection of ordenski matrices. They are designed and manufactured in world-renowned Viennese company "Rothe & Nefe", punching state orders and domestic orders of European rulers homes. The collection contains 146 number matrices Bulgarian state awards and monarchical character created in the time of King Aleksander I, King Ferdinand I king Ferdinand I and Boris III.Included are the highest awards of the country in princely period - the Order "St. Alexander "Order" St. St. Cyril and Methodius equal to the apostles' since the Kingdom of Bulgaria, medals "For Military Merit", "Civil Merit" badge of honor "Red Cross" Cross "For the Independence of Bulgaria - 1908" royal monograms and crowns for needles.With some the matrices are Minted copies of previously unknown issues and patterns. This refers to the highest state award - the Order "St. St. Cyril and Methodius equal to the apostles "and a thumbnail of the order of honorary signs and their thumbnails needles with royal monogram. The exhibits are very well preserved, only a few have cracks. Matrices are unique historical source of national importance for the history of the Bulgarian state after liberation in 1878. Historically, the reward system is part of the struggle for the establishment of Bulgarian statehood in the Principality of Bulgaria. It is generally accepted Decorations and Medals be taken as symbols presented national identity in a modern Europe. However, despite prohibitions in the decisions of the Berlin Congress and limitations of the Turnovo Constitution Bulgarian rulers create distinctions that are worthy deserving of Homeland Bulgarian soldiers and citizens served and foreign politicians, rulers, intellectuals.Matrices are among the fundamental objects of study and learning and development of Bulgarian phaleristics and heraldry. It is known that the most important heraldic elements - classic Bulgarian royal crown and the image of the lion are designed first and realized as part of the Orders and Medals. They are proof of the professionalism of the authors of these awards, which combines common Christian imagery with signs of European dynasties - Hessian and Coburg rulers elements and medieval Bulgarian symbols. The collection contains: I. Matrices of Order "ST. ST. Cyril and Methodius " Complete the Great necklace of the Order, for complete cutting of the Order and the star and complete set for punching a miniature of the Order. The Order is made under a project of Haier background Rosenfeld of the firm" Rothe and Neffe "(Vienna) the firm "Zimmerman" (Pforzheim, Germany).Unknown model sign the order that features a lily on the shoulders of the cross. It may be made especially for this necklace, which is greater in size than published. The plates of the known ogarlieta sizes are from 24h24 to 34h34 mm mm as opposed to the matrix which has a size of tile 44h43mm. II. Matrices of Order "ST. ALEXANDER " Great Cross of the Order, Star of the Grand Cross of the Order" St. Alexander "Commander's Cross of the Order" St. Alexander "Star Command Mr. Cross and Order" St. Alexander "fitserski Cross of the Order" St. Alexander "Knight's Cross of the Order" St. Alexander "VI class. III. Matrices PEOPLE ORDER "Civil Merit" (BULGARISCHER CIVILVERDIENSORDEN ") represent a full set of Grand Cross - Prof.. Ferdinandova likely prince issue after 1893, a full set of fourth degree - Officer's Cross and additional elements - lion, oak branches and crown. IV. Matrices PEOPLE medal "For military service" and "Civil Merit" (BULGARISCHER CIVIL / MILITARDIENSTORDEN) Group packs matrices Orders "Civil Merit", "For Military Merit" and the order "For Bravery". IV. Matrices honorary sign "RED CROSS" matrices correspond to the descriptions of the honorary sign of the Second Batenbergova issue of 1886 are proposed three ring, a crown, four trim, a cross and two pcs. molds for miniatures. Full kit etc. great sign from 1886 Future detailed studies and historical information will help their precise dating. The problem stems from the fact that in one year - 1886 ordered two issues after less than two in 1888 another. V. The Dies of CROSS "ON INDEPENDENCE OF BULGARIA-1908" contains matrices of two sets of miniatures of the cross that are different in size. VI. Matrices Mark "Red Cross" - Bulgarisches Sanitatszeichen (Bulgarian sanitary badge) Four number matrices for punching a character with unique sizes and three matrices miniature characters. Complete set for punching the sign "Red Cross" - Ferdinandova prince issue of 1892 . Single-sided. Its dimensions are larger than the known specimens are 44h30 mm. Probably minted a limited number of characters for dignitaries. Not published similar sign. It is not known miniature of the sign. VII. Matrices monograms needle Three monogram with the letter "F". Two matrices with decorative ornaments that serve to pad the letter. Two with monogram of Queen Maria Luisa. A monogram of Prince Alexander I. VIII. Matrices for the crown and chief dies images of four sizes princely crowns and two royal. It is possible that the crowns are to honorary signs "Red Cross" or for self use as lined on boxes with gifts, household items on the royal family as boxes of letters, toiletries and more.

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