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Baden - Order of the Zaehringer Lion Knight Cross 1st Class with Oak Leaf

Baden - Order of the Zaehringer Lion Knight Cross 1st Class with Oak Leaf

Baden - Order of the Zaehringer Lion Knight Cross 1st Class with Oak Leaf

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DESCRIPTion, DETaILS & Photos
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PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
MATERIAL gold
DIMENSIONS 38.1 x 42
OEK 151
MAKER
WEIGHT 20.7 g
LOT K-7154
EAN 2000000557632
LOT K-7154
PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
EAN 2000000557632
MATERIAL gold
DIMENSIONS 38.1 x 42
OEK 151
MAKER
WEIGHT 20.7 g
PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
LOT K-7154
MATERIAL gold
DIMENSIONS 38.1 x 42
EAN 2000000557632
OEK 151
MAKER
WEIGHT 20.7 g
Imperial Germany
Baden - Order of the Zaehringer Lion Knight Cross 1st Class with Oak Leaf


Description

Cross in gold and enamel center with green glass inserts on all four cross arms. Oak leaf gold and hollow constructed with typical weep hole on its reverse.

This magnificent knight cross 1st class is a prime example of workmanship featuring the technique of amalgamating red and yellow gold within the cross itself. This effect is achieved by treating the red gold raw cross with acids in order to resolve the copper content. Polishing these areas will leave a pure golden surface behind. No maker or gold content mark.

Cross in mint condition on original medal bar removed ribbon.

It was estimated that a total of 1763 knight crosses with oak leaves were awarded. The orders chancellery in 1919 had 176 knight crosses and 118 oak leaf clusters left in their stock. The whole stock was melted down except for a few reference pieces per class.


Condition
1
Historical information
Award period
1812 - 1918
OEK
151
Institution date
Instituted by

Grand Duke Karl of Baden founded the order to reward commoners as well as foreigners on December 26, 1812 without issuing statutes. Initial awards were made already in 1815, whereas the new Zaehringer Lion was broken down into three classes: the Grand Crosses, Commanders and Knights of the order. The Grand Duke himself was the grandmaster and the prince’s members by birth of the order. 

Attempts to draft and issue formal statues were made in 1819. Finally, on June 25, 1840, statutes were issued by now Grand Duke Leopold. The order of the Zaehringer Lion now had four classes, as the Commander was split into a 1st and 2nd class with or without star. It’s motto was: ”Für Ehre und Wahrheit” (For honor and truth). To superimpose on special deeds an oak leaf cluster could be added to the order. Only the initial awards during the 1820th with oak leaf were different in design and showed the cypher of the Grand Duke “L” affixed to the three-leaf cluster.

Grand Duke Friedrich I. changed the statutes in 1866 to now split the Knight cross into two classes, the Knight 1st and 2nd class, therefore extended the order to five grades. He also added swords to the order for awarding the order for bravery. Swords on ring were added as well to show if a recipient was promoted within the order for deeds in bravery. This practice was only allowed until 1879. Afterwards decorations with swords could be worn with then later awarded non-swords decorations. 

Recipients that were awarded the Karl-Friedrich-Merit-Order would wear the Zaehringer Lion with swords.

The Berthold Order was founded in 1877 as a higher grade to the Zaehringer Lion during his 25th Jubilee as ruler of Baden. The order therefore had now 6 grades. The Merit Cross was added in 1889. During the same year the golden collar chain was made an official grade even though awarded since 1868. On his 70th birthday, September 9, 1890, he split the Berthold Order away from the Zaehringer Lion Order.

The merit cross could be awarded on the ribbon of the  Karl-Friedrich-Merit-Order if awarded for bravery.

The collar chain was made from gold and showed alternating lion and arabesque links. The Grand Cross worn on it was always worn with oak leaf.

The Cross of the order was a symmetrical cross made from green glass arms set in either gold or silver. An arabesque segment was placed in between either gold or silver cross arms to form a circular shape. The avers center shows the castle ruins of the Zaehringen Castle, the reverse of the lion on red enamel.

The Grand Cross star is eight pointed and hosts a center medallion consisting of a white enameled medallion ring showing the motto: “Für Ehre und Wahrheit” in gold terminated on the bottom with a green enameled laurel. The center shows the Zaehringer Lion facing to the right on red enamel.

The star of the Commander grade 1st class is rather elaborate in its design. Being four pointed, it showed the enameled green glass arms framed by golden borders within those arabesque segments in silver. The red enameled center medallion ring was framed in a golden border and shows the golden orders motto in termination by a green enameled laurel. The center itself shows the ruins analogous to the avers centers of all crosses.

The order was also awarded with diamonds.

The state of Baden switched away from using gold as a base metal for their order decorations after 1910. Decorations were either gilt or gold plated afterwards.

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