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Bulgaria Order of Bravery "Three dots" emission

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Hello gents,

I start this topic because I recently discovered something curious.

We all know that the "three dots" emission is quite late King Boris III one, presumably from the WWII and it exist only in I, II and IV grade.

However, I recently saw the pique of the only Bulgarian army flag, awarded with the Bravery order (I grade). It's the "Samara flag" presented to the bulgarian voluntary corps as a gift from the russian command for the Russo-turkish war from 1877-1878. It was rewarded shortly after the Liberation by Prince Alexander I, on July 19th 1880 - the anniversary of the Stara Zagora battle.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that the badge set in the pique of the flag is a three dots one...

I attach photos of the pique and of what should be the "regular" pieces of the emission.

Any ideas, speculations on the matter?

@Graf, @ilieff, @Yankee, @922F, @new world


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Hi Vazov,


This is a very interesting topic. Congrats

If we assume that this is the Original top of the famous "Samara Flag it could be a prove of one of the theories for this rare emission. This theory  speculated that it is the very first one  dating 1880

This theory was supported by some Bulgarian Authors This Emission was short lived at that time and replaced by the Emissions we know for this period

Then this Emission surfaced again during the period between  WW1 and WW2 believed to be around the 1915 Emission period. It was speculated that left overs were found and awarded ??!! Why it is still mystery, which will be resolved one day

Then again it was used in the final stages of WW2 when a very famous Soviet Marshals and Generals were awarded with "Tree Dots" Emission I suspect because this Emission did not have any date on it to relate to any of the Tzarist Periods It was even suggested that new rings were made featuring "Three Dots" to replace the rings with 1915 dates and these new rings were somewhat different in size and text format from the original.

 Late Prof. Pavlov rejected the idea of this Emission to be the first one pointing several reasons He believed that this emission was awarded more likely during King Boris III period, although never have been proven. He also mentioned that this Emission was awarded to top Soviet Military personnel in the final sages of WW2. Because he was and still considered to be the biggest expert for Bulgarian Military Awards, the theory that the THREE DOTS" Emission is the very first one  was not followed and/or forgotten.




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Thanks for tagging me - otherwise I wouldn't have seen this thread, as I only check 'Central European States' section. Why in this section? Has there been a change I am not aware of? :)

Congrats on spotting this. The few times when the Samara flag top has been displayed in the National military history museum, it has always been positioned with the reverse* facing upwards, so people were unable to see which emission the order actually belongs to.

It is very curious indeed.  

My opinion remains unchanged though - I still believe that three stars is an interwar emission of the order and that the ring on this order has been changed at some point, though it makes little sense to do so, especially for a (literal) piece of history like this.

I remember reading about the fact that the order was not imbued in the flag top straight away but a few years later. I cannot recall the source of this info but I will try to verify this. Nevertheless, even if this info is correct, this won't provide a reasonable answer to the above brainscratcher .

In another thread (in a different to the current section, sigh) I posted pictures of a 1st class set supposedly owned and worn by Prince Alexander I - the breast star also had three stars on its ring. Could that be a clue, perhaps? 


*Which, by the way, is the one we all expect -  КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРIЯ, as per the old orthography.

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Dear friends (I dare say),

It's a real pleasure to discuss with you again after a while and to try together to solve a new puzzle !

In my modest opinion the key would be in the following detail: when exactly the Prince has decided to switch between the golden rings with old Slavic letters and the green one with contemporary ones.

If since the begging the order existed in parallel with green rings, then it's possible that this is a piece from the period of awarding the flag. 

Also, we don't know the dimensions of the order in the pique. If it's bigger than a regular first grade one, it might be a one-off piece or a prototype. Then why not with three stars? Or probably the Prince was still experimenting with different designs?

Do any of you have an information of the year of first produced and/or spotted on photo high class order with green ring?

@ilieff, regarding your post about the supposedly Prince Alexander's set, I share your opinion that the star is just added because they don't have the circle star with skulls and bones. On the photo we can see that the Prince used to wear the 7 dots "ordinary" badge with this star and not with a three dots one.



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Yes, I believe that both gilded and enamelled rings were being used for decoration in this initial period, though I cannot really say whether this had any symbolic meaning or whether it was simply a matter or availability of stock. 

Among the first people to be decorated with the order were Nikola Genev, Olimpiy Panov, Atanas Uzunov etc. but they were given the 4th class, so we cannot really judge by photographs of them. 

Captain Danail Nikolaev is the first Bulgarian to have been decorated with the 3rd class badge in April 1880. His badge, as seen on later photographs, has a gilded ring (probably, from the first batch which was produced in St.Petersburg). Just after the end of the war with Serbia, in early 1886, he is again decorated, this time with the second class badge, also with gilded ring. 

Strangely enough, I was matching two photos of him, taken in different time periods and on one of them, the 2nd class badge appears as if it's enamelled, rather than gilded. I attached a photo comparison for you. At the current point though, I am dismissing this as simply a bad exposure of the film (yellow/gold colour has a tendency to appear as dark, near black on old black and white photos. 

Another decoration with the 2nd class badge in 1886 was bestowed upon major Racho Petrov who also displays a 'gilded ring' order on later photographs.  

Now, in contradiction to the above, during the so called Bulgarian crisis in 1886-1887, all three regents, Stambolov, Mutkurov and Zhivkov, assume/self-award themselves the 1st class set of the order, as heads of state. The rings of their badges appear to be enamelled in green, rather than gilded.  

The Serbian Monarch, Milan, is also awarded the 1st class set shortly after the establishment of the order. On a single photograph, in which he is wearing a bar which includes a bravery order, it appears that it's enamelled, i.e. green. Other people who are also awarded with the 1st class set between 1880 and 1884 are the Romanian King Carol and Russian Emperor Alexander III - if anyone is able to find photographs of them wearing the Bravery order, we can draw some further conclusions. 

Further to the above, I came across this image of young prince Alexander in cavalry uniform. I don't want to draw premature conclusions, but if the order in the picture is enamelled in green and we take lack of beard as indication that the photo was taken between 1880 and 1883, then this is the earliest photograph, depicting a 1st class 'green' set of the order, as of yet. Then again, the image itself isn't clear enough to say for sure and the above-mentioned exposure defects might actually produce deceptive results.  

More research is needed...

Vazov, I actually have a slightly better quality copy of this portrait of the Prince and I've zoomed in multiple times in an attempt to see the emission of the badge. Unfortunately, nothing is visible on the lower part of the ring and even though my assumption is the same as yours (7-dots issue) we cannot fully dismiss the possibility of it being something else (perhaps even 3-dots). 




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