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Bulgaria Order for Civil Merit -1st Princely Model Crosses


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Dear Members

i would like to share my Collection of Crosses of the very 1st  Princely Model of the Bulgaria Order for Civil Merit

The only one missing is the 6th Class with princely crown, which is extremely rare

One of the Officer Crosses is with machine made oak leaves, which is the 2nd type of this model







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Most impressive! You should be very proud of this collection, graf.

What about breast stars?

Is it just from the photos, or is the ladies cross without crown slightly greater than the one with crown?

Also, are you sure that the Knights cross without crown is of this first type? From the photos it appears to be of a later period.

Edited by ilieff
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Hi 92F I suppose, although they are not marked , to be by Schwertner

The only marked are the Stars on the back.

Some boxes are marked by this maker some are not.

Hi Ilieff,


I published the Crosses only because they are distinctive from the other Models


Here is the 1st Class Set, The 2nd Class will follow

Yes the ladies cross without the crown is bigger than the one with the crown. Both 5th Class crosses with the crown appear smaller

The 5th cross without the crown is by Rote and is featured in Prof Pavlov book as item 202 as the next model.

In my humble opinion i think that this cross belongs to the late period of Princely Model, because it comes with a Princely box and has, apart from the Lion, very similar features as the first model.

I have my collection on different places and i have to look for the other 5th Class without the crown from this model

It is interesting that during this period there are crosses from the next King model that the makers used the first model crosses with King crown. In his book Prof  Pavlov stated that such crosses were made as early as 1900 after the Order for Military Merit was introduced -see pictures of 1st Class Cross and the 5th Class -both with king Crown but with Princely Crosses

Therefore it is very difficult to make a sharp cut of any period and Model








Edited by Graf
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Thank you for the provided photos, graf.

I agree with you that badges of the first type in stock at the Chancellary might have been 're-crowned' with the later type of crown after 1893 (i.e. the year the first flat-top crown appers on the Wedding commemorative medal), 


That the production dies for these badges remianed the same for a certian period of time, while the actual assembly was made using the newer crowns by the manufacturer.

This is indirectly backed up by the fact that the production of these badges was very very expensive at the time and re-working the old stock would be cheaper, as opposed to ordering a whole new lot of decorations.


I, personally, disagree with the wide-spread notion that flat top crowns are 'royal', as opposed to rounded ones being 'princely'. If you look at their features, it's actually the same crown, just different rendition. The inconsistent labelling is a legacy of the generalisation of some historical periods in Bulgarian history. Truth is, that a large portion of the awrads which people like Prof. Pavlov call 'royal ferdinand' emission, represent decorations being awarded on behalf of Ferdinand I as Prince. In my humble opinion, emissions should not be generalised as certain historians do. In this sense, you are correct to say that the V class badge of yours is of the period of the Bulgarian Pricipality, even though that it might not be part of the first type (The differences being, as you said, minor, but the Rothe one has obviously been minted using different dies - the oak branches are different too).

As I've mentioned in other topics, prof. Pavlov's book is a very nice piece of information, but it has some inconsistencies, especially for the early royal period, when Bulgarian awards were predominantly awarded abroad. The current scarcity of early princely awards in Bulgaria has caused some of the statements to be based on assumptions. E.g. if you look closer at the images of IV, V and VI classes of the Order of Civil merit with domed-shaped crown, you'll notice that it's the same award, only being digitally altered to look as it's supposed to in these classes. And I am not saying this is not acceptable, but this proves that there's still a lot to be researched for the Bulgarian royal decorations.



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Here's my 1st class set of Princely emission - with correct period case.

Made by Schwertner, marked as such inside the case and on the star.

Note how both cross and case have the same rounded princely crown.

According to T. Petrov in his book only 373 orders of 1st class were awarded, mostly to foreigners - 344. Only 29 to Bulgarians. 











Edited by new world
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Hi New World,

Congrats on the lovely Set Very rare box for this class

BTW Have you noticed that most of the boxes from from this model have rounded corners as well.

I suspect the Firm Schwertner was given the contract to make most of this awards from this model, especially the 1st class

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  • 3 years later...

I suspect because it was the least awarded class According to Todor Petrov only 187 in total and only 59 to Bulgarian. I also suspect that because it is not as impressive as the 1st Class many of those 6th Class awards were lost with the time, which made them more rare to find.

Yes, New World you are correct about the price tag.  The same one was sold 10 years ago on Auction in Germany for the price of a 1st Class Set Lucky for me the seller of this Cross was not aware of this fact and i got it on a very good price.

Also when i compared this Model crosses (Plenty of time now days) i discovered  that the inset of the crowns of this first model are different from the inset of the later models of all Bulgarian Orders

first the enamel is different in texture and second the inset has a bit wavy top edge  line - feature not seen in any other model or even Orders from the same period. It is only in this very first model of the Order for Civil Merit from 1st Class to the 6th Class (minus the enamel)

So we can say that this model has the following features

- Domed Crowns

- Hand chiseled oak leaves

- Specific crown insets -shape and  featured enamel

We learn something all the time.


BTW  Have you realized that the crowns of of the princely model of the Order of St Alexander do not have insets with enamel.

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