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Decorations of King Aleksandar Obrenović


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The alleged medal bar of King Alexander (Obrenovich) of Serbia is an "Old friend". It appeared for the first time about 20 years ago at Sotheby`s, but provided with insignia as well, and of course with the significant chinese ink written name at the back of the bar. At that time, I went directly to Sotheby`s to check the set, although the composition of the set was obviously ridiculous. I found that several items (Queen Draga Medal, in itself a buffoonery because King would not wear a female award, among other items, were cast! Although the work was very good indeed!). I warned the Auctioneer, they checked the items thoroughly, and the set was withdrawn from sale. Upon my return home, I was summoned to police for interrogation, because Sotheby`s placed Interpol request to investigate the person of the forgerer. I could not help, and never considered that it should be my duty, and the investigation was abandoned in due time. 

Some long memories...

Dragomir

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Dragomir,

I remember that group and the Yugoslav (at the time) owner who put it in.

Sotheby's (certainly not the coin and medal department) did not contact Interpol, at the time it was company policy to avoid legal issues if at all possible (had we done it the Czech guy who was head of the legal Department at the time would have performed the most barbaric medieval punishments on us) . I suspect it was either the owner of the group or some collector with a grievance.

Paul

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Dear Dragomir,
Thank you for shedding more light on this matter. I followed a discussion about that medal bar elsewhere and some say it also surfaced around 15 years ago when a certain (Croatian?) collector from London tried to sell it on his own. 
 

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Thank you, Rush! I'm glad you think so, unfortunately I doubt I'll be able to make the complete list of Aleksandar's decorations just based on the photos and paintings...

Paul, thank you as well, I appreciate your effort!

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This photo was passed on to me together with the one of King Milan I posted earlier.
If I'm not mistaken he's wearing blouse M1886 and based on the eagles on his braid shoulder boards I'd say the photo was made after January 1901.
According to regulations officers had to wear Order of Miloš the Great and Order of the White Eagle on every occasion. I think one was supposed to wear higher classes of Miloš only on the parade uniform, while the lowest class was worn on daily and other uniforms. Same rule applies to the White Eagle hence the two piece medal bar.
00.JPG
01.JPG
02.JPG

Edited by paja
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My PC went down two weeks ago, and I was not able to communicate. Sorry! The Sotheby`s Auction I was referring to was one on Setember 12th 1989, and the Auction Lot was numbered 502. The illustration of that Lot follows.  The next Lot 503 at the same Auction was attributed to General Sava Gruitch, with 9 decirations on the ribbon bar.

Dragomir

IMG.jpg

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Dragomir,

Thank you, longer ago than I thought, back in the days when I was still young and foolish and had seen little Serb material apart from the odd White Eagle or St. Sava and hopefully I would not fall for such a trick now (at least not until I had had a minimum of two bottles of rakija).

With best wishes

Paul

 

 

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Dragomire, thank you very much for the photo and information! You mentioned Sava Grujić's medal bar, could it be the same one I posted earlier in this topic? It also consists of 9 decorations... If you have scans of it as well and if it's not too much trouble could you please show us how it looks like with the decorations?

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I do apologize for my (again) belated answer. In my age it is increasingly difficult to keep the pace with you boys.

Regarding the group attributed to General Gruich, there was not any photo, but I am enclosing the text describing the group.

Best regards,

 Dragomir

сг.jpg

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Dragomire, thank you once again! I think it's safe to conclude it really is the same medal bar that got sold over the ebay couple of years ago. We should be thankful to person(s) who recreated these medal bars for being careless, I can't find any other explanation for putting the women's decoration on medal bar attributed to Aleksandar Obrenović.

I think there are a few mistakes regarding the medal bar attributed to Sava Grujić as well.
Let's start from the beginning:
-First thing that caught my attention is the absence of the 1876-78 War Commemorative Medal.
-He was definitely awarded with the Takovo 1st Class and Takovo with Swords 2nd Class but I can't find any photo of him wearing the Takovo with Swords 4th and 5th Class on his medal bar. There's a photo of him from I think late 1870s wearing Takovo 5th class (not on the bar) but then again that decoration is not present on his medal bars from the later period.
-Same thing goes for the Order of St. Sava.
-When we read the description Dragomir was so kind to share with us we can see that the ribbon for the Golden Bravery Medal from 1877 is wrong.
-I'm not sure if he received Golden and Silver Medal for the Zealous Service in War 1877-78, I can't find his name in the list of recipients published in 1879... Although that doesn't necessarily mean he's not among the recipients as these medals were awarded even post-1879. Doing some research I stumbled upon a name of my ancestor in the list of the recipients of the Medal for the Zealous Service in War 1877-78. He was one of around 40 people decorated with that medal in June 1881! One of them was also 2nd lieutenant Živojin Mišić, future vojvoda.
-I think Grujić spent the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885 in Saint Petersburg as the Serbian representative to the Russian Empire which would explain why I can't find any photo of him wearing the 1885-86 Commemorative Cross!

Based on the model of uniform and his rank I'd say this photo was made somewhere between 1882 and 1887. The quality of the image is bad but I think he's wearing the Golden Bravery Medal 1877, Silver Bravery Medal (1876 or 1877-78) and the 1876-78 War Commemorative Medal...
01.jpg

Edited by paja
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I did some reading and it looks like the first regulation that mentions medal bars is from 1889. If I'm not mistaken medals were being worn separately before that (just like we can see in the photo above).
Here's one more photo of Sava Grujić taken after 1887 when he was prompted general.
He's wearing a four, possibly five piece medal bar with four medals - Golden Bravery Medal 1877, Silver Bravery Medal (1876 or 1877-78), 1876-78 War Commemorative Medal and I'm not sure about the 4th one. Ribbon is not red so it should't be Medal for the Zealous Service in War 1877-78.
01.jpg

Edited by paja
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Here's one more very nice photo of the general found on ebay.
General is wearing medal bar with:
-White Eagle 5th Class (4th class was supposed to be suspended from the buttonhole)
-Legion of Honor 4th Class
-Golden Bravery Medal 1877
-Silver Bravery Medal (1876 or 1877-78)
-Petar I Corronation Medal
-1876-78 War Commemorative Medal (?)


Inscription is pretty interesting, I can't read all of it but here are some parts:
"To dear friend Tanev
S. Grujić
?? Serbo-Bulgarian Alliance 
October 5, 1912"
Could Tanev be Aleksandr Tanev (Александър Танев), future general, colonel at that time? 
Djenerarlska velika odeca - Sava Grujic 01.1.jpg

Edited by paja
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  • 11 months later...

Just to say sorry, as I have mistakenly posted king Alexander portrait made by anonymous author in the topic dedicated to his father, king Milan.

http://gmic.co.uk/topic/66246-king-milans-medal-bars-decorations/?page=2

By the way, any clue why is so hard to find  Order of the Holy Sepulchre, from the Orthodox Patriachate of Jerusalem?

One of my predecessors had one, and I sow in the archives that a certain number of diplomats ( he was among them) from the Kingdom also got the same order.

Never the less, in the past years  I sow not a single one on the market in Ex Yugoslavia.

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No need to apologize, thanks for posting that photo.
To be honest I don't know much about that order but it seems to me that it was rarely awarded, I don't remember seeing a lot of its recipients. Even more interesting that one of your ancestors received it, is the order still in the family?

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Unfortunately not. He was an diplomat in Kingdom, but got killed by Gestapo in 1943. in Jajinci shooting range near Belgrade.

Not a single one of his decorations survived , but, as I read his personal file, I did my best to reconstruct those decorations. I have found all domestic ones, but still looking for that specific one he got from Patriarch of Jerusalem, while he was serving in Bruxelles.

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