Reference Catalogue Orders, Medals and Decorations of the World, Part 4: Gold Book (P-Z)
by Borna Barac
This is the fourth and final (and long-awaited) book in Barac's fine survey of Orders, Medals and Decorations of the World. Weighing in at almost 600 pages it, like its predecessors, is jam-packed with detailed illustrations of a myriad of awards, some familiar and some virtually-unheard-of, from the nations covered in this volume: Peru, Phillippines, Poland, Portugal , Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia & Yugoslavia (SHS, Kingdom) Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland , Thailand, Tonga,Tunisia, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Vatican Venezuela, Yugoslavia (WW II), Zanzibar , Chief's Medals of British Empire, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Jordan, Malyasia (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Sarawak), Nepal, New Caledonia, Syria, and Tadjourah.
The organisation is the same as the preceding volumes. For each nation, there's a very brief note about that country (mostly listing monarch did it have any or the date it became independent) and outline map, then launches into medals awarded, in strict order of institution. For each medal, there are obvese and reverse illustrations, date of institution, dimensions, and notes on any inscriptions. For those not shown on the ribbon, an illustration of it (drawn in the same style as my ribbon images) is provided. If the medal comes in several grades, or there have been variations, these are shown - usually very clearly although I'm taking some time to figure out some of the Portuguese ones! Decorations are mixed in with the medals, but Orders get a separate section at the end of the national chapter, again presented in the order in which they were instituted. Names are given in English (with a few quirky translations), the name of most awards in the national language is given as 'original name'.
With illustrations mostly taken from auction catalogues, the quality is excellent and a great aid in identifying what you are looking at. I find the information about the different types of each award - particulary where new versions have been introduced over time - of particular use.
This book will be joining the other three volumes in a pile beside my computer, where I can refer to it on an almost daily basis as I update this website. About the biggest flaw is that it only provides information of awards instituted before 1945 - if you like more modern orders, decorations and medals you will have to look elsewhere. If like me you like awards from around the world, this volume completes a real treat. If your interests are confined to particular nations, I'd still recommend you get the appropriate volume - and as you'll find that some individuals in your favourite nation get 'foreign' awards, you may find the complete set of use. A treat for eye and mind, a true labour of love... and few errors!
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Page last updated: 8 March 2017