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Bulgarian Order for Bravery 1915

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I agree with New World -Nice classic examples!

Here is my small contribution to the topic 4th Class 2nd Grade 1915 Model

The 1915-1916 Model is much more rare






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Hi Christophe,


It came in an earlier box with Prince Alexander Logo -picture provided

I have not seen any box 1915 Model with stamps for higher then 4th Class??!!

This particular 3rd Class with "thick " crown is believed to be a  left over cross from an earlier model with 1915 central medallion -see picture with a Standard Cross to compare

I have the 1915-1916 Model, however i will be interested to see yours when arrives.

Here is another type of 1915 Model for Doctors with no swords This cross has never had swords attached. I have seen couple of Crosses with swords removed, claiming that they have been adapted for the purpose.

I, personally, will not buy such cross. Since this type of crosses demand bigger price, i believe that someone has mutilated a nice Standard cross for sinister cause.





Picture 645.jpg

Picture 691.jpg


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  • 2 weeks later...


Does someone know how many crosses for Bravery 1915 1916 and 1915 1917 have been given in WW1? Thanks for your help



@new world, your cross is very very nice. Do you have the original box to go with it ? Do you know how many crosses were awarded for that rank ?


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At last I managed to get the 3rd Class 1st Grade of the 1915 Model to make a pair.

This is the rarer 1915/1916 1st Grade and the 2nd Grade is with so call thick crown mode (the cross is also thicker comparing to the standard cross from this class) -also rare bird






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Hello Gentlemen,

Happy New Year !

I saw online a very, very bizarre and unusual piece, that I’d like to here your opinion on. It’s a 1 class set of 1915 bravery order, but the star simply does not exist according to the general view. 

In my humble opinion it’s a « fantasy » piece and someone have incrusted a 3/1 order on a Schwerdtner made base from other star.

Graf, perhaps with your broader view on the orders, you will be able to determine which type of order is the base of the star from?

Any thoughts?




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There are several things wrong with this "set":

1. Cross is not 1st class, at 52mm it's 2nd class. It should be worn on a neck ribbon, not on a shoulder sash. 

2. I think star was made up, by taking 3rd class 1st grade breast badge (1915-1917) and attaching it to an unknown star base.

3. It's not a set, someone combined 2nd class neck cross of 1915 emission and fantasy piece made from 3rd class 1915-1917 cross.

As for the actual base of the star - I never saw anything like it. First I thought it could be base from 1st class of Military or Civil Merit, however they have alternating gold/silver rays, so this is not such base. It does not look Bulgarian to me. I am not even sure it has anything to do with Schwerdtner.

This "set" was supposedly part of old collection from 1946-1967, so not a modern creation. Perhaps this star was some sort of a prototype or a trial sample?

In any case, this should not be sold as a set, IMHO.    

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Unless it was a special made Set for a German high ranking officer in my opinion I agree to the new World comments. for a fantasy Set.

I can also add that the body of the Star resembles the Grand Cross Star of the German Eagle by German Firm -  Deschler & Sohn. Munchen

The Flat surface on the back and the pin assembly are typical Deschler & Sohn - It is not Austrian Type at all and Vazov comment is correct

Also you can see that the gilding and the silver parts are alternating over the same arms/.rays which is not correct
The Bulgarian Stars have separate  gilded and .silver arms/rays 

However we have seen different unusual Orders and Sets and it will be difficult to be very harsh with our conclusions

Personally i have few unusual pieces in my collection that look a bit different from the standard ones we know from the books.

The only person that can add more to those comments or/and correct them is 922F because he might be much more familiar with the collection offered for sale by eMedals


Edited by Graf
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Well done for the find Vazov.

Indeed, it appears that someone tried to amend history with this 'set'. 

Further to the above comments by others, I'd like to add a couple more in regards to this 'thing'.

Strictly speaking, it vaguely resembles the image, shown on illustrations issued by the Chancellery of Orders (the gilded 8-point base of the star) but whoever made the star has failed to add the sort-of-a-mandatory beaded silver outer ring around the central medallion. 

Also, even if this was a genuine makeshift post-WW1 set, then who would its recipient be? The sole person to have  had the right to wear this top grade was the King and I don't think that Tsar Boris III would put on anything like this. The theory of a 'high-ranking foreigner' does not sound plausible either - the Kaiser Himself was awarded the 1st class 2nd grade set - I don't think there could be any German (or foreigner, in general)  ranking higher than Him, to have been given a grand cross. 

The funniest thing is that eMedals said their experts have researched the set and proven its authenticity. I can imagine...:lol:

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I have seen this order too and like you I have a doubt. After reading my book, nothing have been made like this before. Like N ew wolrd said this is probably a one set medal, a prototype and never been on the market. I have not enough Bulgarian books to be sure. Even if I will be interested to buy it, I'd prefer pass on it


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2 hours ago, ilieff said:

... The funniest thing is that eMedals said their experts have researched the set and proven its authenticity. I can imagine...:lol:

They also refer to this old collection, but there's no proof it actually was part of that collection. It's all hearsay...

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Ilieff  thank you for the additional information.The more a person looks at this Set the more he discovers things that are not correct. and they do not fit to the criteria of a Grand Cross Set .even 1st Class Set


BTW my comment about the high ranking German Officer was mainly an opening line, which i denied strait away

New World made nice comments. It looks someone butchered a good 3rd Class 2nd Grade Star to create this fantasy Star I can only add my additional comments. When The Star is zoomed you can see that the whole front surface is gilded and the dark parts are created by applying dark varnish ,which is very uneven. Not a perfect finish for a Grand Cross Ferdinand was Kniaz/Tzar Ferdinand was fanatic about the quality of his Orders lets alone this "rare" Grand Cross Set

It is a pity if this Set is what we suspect because this prominent collector thought he had something really rare

If the claim of eMedals is correct that comes from the collection of this prominent collector then this Set shows that even back there there are people who "upgraded' Orders for the sole purpose of profit without thinking about other countries history.

Do not forget that at that time not much knowledge was available. no books or internet  no international forums like this one  Collectors had to rely on their personal knowledge obtained from not many sources

I will be very interested in the information eMedals researchers have obtained Even it was obtained from an Auction House this is not a proof, because we have seen strange items being sold on Auction s around the world on regular basis. What puzzles  me is the very low starting auction price for such a rare Set They might be aware of some facts. There are so many not as rare single Stars from other countries with much higher evaluation


As i stated the only person that could bring some light on this topic will be the member 922F It looks like he has solid knowledge into the American Phaleristics at that time ..and he might have seen this Set..or this Set could be have been discussed in one of their books/magazines I It will be very unlikely not to be discussed or shown in some article This Set is considered as very

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Regarding the 'set' imaged in Vazov's post 17 above,  I saw only limited portions of the Goodwin collection and do not remember this ‘set’ at all.   Given my interests,would think that I would recall seeing it or reading of it if I ever did!!

However, Robert Werlich owned a somewhat similar ‘star’ in 1966-67.  He said that he acquired it, perhaps in 1965-6, at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in a lot of 10-12 high-ranking Balkan States awards sold by the same vendor.  He may have listed in for sale in one of his 1967-68 catalogs; I cannot find the one in which it may have been enumerated, if that ever happened.  His catalogs did not contain illustrations in any case.  Alas, I could not afford the $150 price!

Werlich’s ‘star’ certainly did not have a Schwertner backplate or any other marks; I believe that the star body was of a somewhat different shape [like a Romanian Crown star?] and silver, not gilt and silver.  I do not recall whether the badge mounted on it had year dates or a pearled ring around the motto.   The reverse pin had a more sculpted, traditional shape as found on most genuine Bulgarian stars.   I have never seen another example of this sort of ‘star’ until now.

As to the instant pieces, as New Word and others suggest, it might seem reasonable that if the ‘star’ has year dates, the badge would also.  Further, one might expect that the sash badge would be at least as large as a first class badge.   All contributors note other various ‘unusual’ aspects of these pieces, including overall quality, finish and starting price! 

Yet, we know that any number of ‘odd’ Bulgarian insignia configurations exist and have done since the 1940’s at least.  The McKay Collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington contains, for example, the infamous Bulgarian ‘Order of the Red Cross Grand Cross set’ [badge & star illustrated in Werlich’s Orders and Decorations of All Nations, page 78, part of the collection since at least 1952].   Graf Klenau Auctions offered at least one related sash in the Red Cross colors in 1967-‘69.  Werlich also illustrates a [misidentified] St. Alexander lst class star with swords and swords-on-the-ring from the same McKay collection.    Several National Order of Military Merit commander with княз type suspension crowns or Civil Merit commanders with ‘Hessian’ crowns have appeared for sale over the years.   Some possible but unlikely scenarios like an individual from a country that traditionally awarded swords plus sword-on-ring who received a Bulgarian award had insignia made to reflect their imagined honors or someone with delusions of grandeur expecting to impress superiors commissioned such insignia.

It is also undoubtedly true that collectors with specialized interests could have insignia made for their imagined superior grades of Orders.  An example:  From the mid-1950’s thru late 1960’s a ‘Grand Cross Club’ existed in the U.S.A. composed of collectors like Goodwin, McKay, McNamara, and others who competed to ‘collect’ high rank awards.   ‘Finding’ some supposed top class award from a then relatively unfamiliar country clearly would be a coup!!   

Aside but perhaps related note-- A French maker [maybe Bertrand?] manufactured copies of Haitian Imperial awards supposedly for the National Museum of Haiti in 1952-3 using original dies and fired enamel.  Etienne used them to illustrate his 1954 published book.  These copies were made of silver gilt, not gold.  Nonetheless, several high-profile collectors [including some of the gentlemen named above and others like Kai Meyer of Holte and Colonel Deltcheff of Paris] managed to obtain hollow gold badges and 950 silver stars now almost indistinguishable from those made 100 years earlier!    


I’ve mainly given up trying to determine exactly what these things represent—are they dealer or collector assembled ‘mules’ or reconstructions, indicators of an awardee’s self-promotion, adaptations to national classes by foreigners [swords plus swords-on-ring], complete fantasies  or trial pieces?  Or perhaps a heretofor unknown official varient?       


Edited by 922F
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Thank you 922F

For the concise information. It personally  to me did trow more light to the information already knew regarding the collecting world. Also it gave me some valuable insight into this "Grand Cross Club" Such Clubs do exist now as well ..and the information you provided us is still in place.

I was also offered few years ago, when i was in Istanbul, some High Classes Orders of Europe I politely declined...and I witnessed later on when one of 1st Class Stars of St Alexander was sold "upgraded' with Diamonds on eBay for  a price five times higher then the one I was offered. i recognized  the Star because it has specific marks and scratches on the back.

We are fortunate now because the Internet can provide us with a very valuable information, which was not at the dispose to the collectors before.


Thank you again


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