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Go Back   The Soviet Military Awards Page Forum > Soviet Awards Forums > Soviet Sphere > People's Republic Of Bulgaria > Bulgarian Titles And Prizes

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Old 10-14-2005, 04:50 PM   #1
DutchBoy
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Gold Star "Hero Of The People's Republic Of Bulgaria".

Does anyone have any updates on possible fakes in the Bulgarian field? I just bought a Bulgarian Hero Star and wondering about authenticity.

(will post details about it tomorrow)

Quote:
Originally Posted by new world
Copies exist, but of such low quality that I don't see them as a threat.

William
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:04 PM   #2
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I'm collecting Bulgarian awards as well.

It seems that there is still a pretty good supply and it's just not financially viable to copy any award where most are under $25!!!

Rusty.
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Old 10-14-2005, 08:51 PM   #3
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Hello Guys,
As of this time I have yet to see any faking of any Bulgarian awards. As Rusty mentions there is little point to it as the awards outnumber the collectors for the time being.
There were over 100 different awards issued by the People's Republic of Bulgaria and at least 75 to 80 % of tham are relatively easy to find at quite decent prices.
I do not know of "fake" Hero Stars I can however tell you that each person who received a Gold Hero Star or Gold Hero of Labor Star also received an officially made wearers copy of Gold Plated Brass these are marked with an "R" on the reverse. These were made at the mint using the exact same dies as for the gold pieces so there is no apparent difference in the quality of the strike. They are as scarce as the real items and go in the $125 to $170 range when you can find them. So to anyone buying a Bulgarian Hero Star check the back for the proper mint mark on the Gold version. And remember if it is marked "R" it is the official wearers copy. And never let anyone tell you the "R"is for replacement, OK.
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:53 PM   #4
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Thanks Ron and Rusty,

That puts my mind at ease for now. The one I just received in the mail does not have an "R" on the reverse, and it's very new and shiny, seemingly never worn, same for the case.

Is it made of 23K gold, or is it lesser karat, maybe 14K or 18K? I compared it to some Kruger rands and my Lenin and the gold of the Bulgarian Hero star seems definitely lighter yellow than pure.

My Hero Star doesn't have a gold mint mark on the reverse that you mention. Do they always have mint marks, or do the latest variations (which this one may be) lack it?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg BulgHero1.jpg (20.0 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg BulgHero2.jpg (20.0 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg BulgHero3.jpg (18.8 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg BulgHero4.jpg (12.5 KB, 1 views)
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Old 10-15-2005, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchBoy
Ron,

My Hero Star doesn't have a gold mint mark on the reverse that you mention. Do they always have mint marks, or do the latest variations (which this one may be) lack it? I'll try to scan the reverse tomorrow.


Next page for pics.

Matthijs,

They used to make official wearer copies for Hero Stars, yours could be one of them. Copies also came in the same nice box.

I'd have a jeweler to take a look at the Star.

William
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Old 10-15-2005, 02:19 PM   #6
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Thanks William,

I'll take it to a jeweller to do a gold test on it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by new world
Matthijs,

They used to make official wearer copies for Hero Stars, yours could be one of them. Copies also came in the same nice box.

I'd have a jeweler to take a look at the Star.

William
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Old 10-15-2005, 11:12 PM   #7
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Matthijs,
you should be able to tell from the weight of the star whether it is a replica. A genuine Hero Star (without suspension) weighs more than 15 grams, a replica star weighs only about 8 grams. I put the award on the scale and hold the suspension in such a way that the connecting ring does not touch the loop of the star.

I have never seen a highly polished replica because they are gold-plated brass and cannot be buffed to the same high sheen as a 14-karat gold star.

I wonder what test a jeweler would perform to differentiate gold-plated metal from solid gold. The density (or weight) of the award is the only sure method. I have one of the first-type Hero Stars (with an elevated rim on the reverse) that has scratch marks on the back where someone was trying to determine wether the gold is just a thin plating. This cannot be recommended as test method because it leaves ugly permanent damage.
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:43 AM   #8
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Dietrich,

Also, what do you think about the loop on the Star? The stars that I've seen had much smaller ring attached to the top.

William
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Old 10-16-2005, 08:39 AM   #9
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I'm going out to buy new batteries for my little mini-scale right now and let you know.

This star IS highly polished, so maybe like you say it could be genuine. And it does feel like it has quite some weight to it, so we'll see in a few hours.

There is a type of electronic pen that can be used to determine if an object is solid gold or plated only as I understand it. There are also tests using acids, but obviously those are not recommended for this item!!


Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-riemer
Matthijs,
you should be able to tell from the weight of the star whether it is a replica. A genuine Hero Star (without suspension) weighs more than 15 grams, a replica star weighs only about 8 grams. I put the award on the scale and hold the suspension in such a way that the connecting ring does not touch the loop of the star.

I have never seen a highly polished replica because they are gold-plated brass and cannot be buffed to the same high sheen as a 14-karat gold star.

I wonder what test a jeweler would perform to differentiate gold-plated metal from solid gold. The density (or weight) of the award is the only sure method. I have one of the first-type Hero Stars (with an elevated rim on the reverse) that has scratch marks on the back where someone was trying to determine wether the gold is just a thin plating. This cannot be recommended as test method because it leaves ugly permanent damage.
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new world
what do you think about the loop on the Star? The stars that I've seen had much smaller ring attached to the top.
William,
you are right, the loop is very large. Another concern is the fact that the reverse seems to be polished, at least the lettering. That would happen in long-time wear though. Normally, only the front has a high sheen (see picture).

Rusty's remark that most Bulgarian awards are available for less than $25 does certainly not apply to the Hero Star and faking it would probably be economically attractive. Also I have the impression that the Bulgarian Mint is not leakproof. They may put refurbished old stock on the market. (It seems that large quantities of mint Peoples Republic awards have recently been offered for sale.) My collector's dream of Bulgaria as a field without fakes might come to an end.
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