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Medal "For Science and Art"

Date established: 25th March/5th April 1883

Number of classes: Gold and silver medal

Being awarded for: as a reward and incentive to people, who distinguished themselves in the field of science, art or industry

Shape and dimensions: Circular, 36mm in diameter

Ribbon: Horizontally alternating white and red, edged with a white and thinner green stripes at both edges

Obverse: The obverse depicts the effigy of the ruling monarch with his royal title circumscribed.

Reverse: One of the Nine muses seated, facing to the left, supporting with her left hand a Bulgarian heraldic shield, and her right hand stretched, holding a laurel wreath. In the background there’s a lyre, books, globe, palette and bust statue of Athena Pallas. Below the figure of the muse, there’s a text stating the name of the medal, which differs in terms of font and spelling in each emission.

HRH Prince Alexander I

The medal “For Science and Art” is one of the highest Bulgarian awards and at the same time one of the rarest to be awarded during its sixty or so years of existence. It came in only two classes – gold (in fact gilt) and silver.

As noted above, the Medal “For Science and Art” has been officially founded in 1883, but there are documented decorations as early as the spring of 1882. The first issue of the medal bears the effigy of its founder – Prince Alexander I (engraved by K. Schwenzer), circumscribed by the following text in old Slavonic script: “АЛЕКСАНДРЪ I КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРИѦ” / translation: Alexander I Knyaz (Prince) of Bulgaria /.

The reverse of this first edition depicts the above-mentioned scene, and the name of the medal, inscribed on a single line in old Slavonic calligraphic script “ЗА НАУКА И ИСКУСТВО” / translation: For science and art /.

HRH Prince Ferdinand I

The second emission of the medal is that of Prince Ferdinand I. Its appearance is generally the same. The only changes were: (1) in the effigy of the Monarch (engraved by A. Scharff), (2) the royal title “ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I КНЯЗЬ НА БЪЛГАРИЯ", again inscribed in the same type of font, and (3) the appearance of the Saxon inescutcheon (small coat of arms) over the Bulgarian shield on the reverse of the medal, as a symbol of the new Monarch’s dynastical background.

HM King Ferdinand I

Emission number three, or the first ‘Ferdinand’ emission as Tsar/King has several modifications, compared to the previous one. This is the first type of the medal to be awarded with a crown suspension (similar, but not identical to the crown used for the medal “For Merit”). Additionally, the effigy of the King has been updated to reflect His current appearance and also His title which has been changed to “ФЕРДИНАНДЪ I ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТѢ“ / translation: Ferdinand I Tsar (King) of the Bulgarians /. The old Slavonic script has been updated to a more modern and easy-to-read font. The engraver was P. Telge.

On the reverse of the medal, the only change was in the title of the medal. It has now been placed upon two lines and the font has been updated.

Of this second Ferdinand emission there have only been decorations with the silver medal.

HM King Boris III

After King Boris III's accession to the throne, the medal “For Science and Art” had to be updated in order to mark the change of the Monarch. During the first post-war years though, it’s highly possible that the old medals with Ferdinand I’s effigy have been used for decorating while the new batch of Boris III medals is being minted.

Essentially, the medal of the new Monarch had minor changes. The obverse of the medal has been directly copied from the medal “For Merit”, featuring the effigy of young Boris and His title circumscribed: “БОРИСЪ III ЦАРЬ НА БЪЛГАРИТѢ“ / translation: Boris III Tsar (King) of the Bulgarians /.

The only change on the reverse of the medal was the change of the first Cyrillic letter “С” with “З”, in order to reflect the contemporary spelling regulations of the Bulgarian language. The result was “ЗА НАУКА И ИЗКУСТВО“, written in two lines.