BADEN – ZÄHRINGER LION BREAST STAR ORDER
Baden was one of Imperial Germany’s larger Grand Duchies that fielded one of the German Army larger military contingents. Baden’s final two Grand Dukes were Friedrich I (1826-1907), who reigned from 1856-1907, followed by his son, Friedrich II (1856-1928), who reigned from 1907 to the Empire’s end in 1918. The Grand Duchy of Baden was formed in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. Its location on France’s southeastern border led to its devastation when it opposed the French Empire.
Baden had three primary families of Orders and Decorations that were issued on both military and civil bases.
They are listed below.
1. Hausorden der Treue (1715-1918).
2. Militärischer Karl-Friedrich Verdienstorden (1807-1918). This included Baden’s version of the Orden Pour le Mérite for its officers.
3. Orden vom Zähringer Löwen (Lion) (1815-1918).
The Zähringer Lion Orden family was the most extensive of the three. It was issued as a Golden Kette (Collar), Grand Cross, Breast Star, Commander’s Cross, and Knight’s Crosses 1st and 2nd Class. each of these categories features examples of Diamonds, Swords, and Oak Leaves. These were each considered higher levels of awards, with Diamonds at the top, followed by Oak Leaves. Swords were generally awarded during wartime.
Today we are offering a Breast Star of the Order of the Zähringer Lion. [It was considered to be the lowest Breast Star level, since it lacked Diamonds, Swords, or Oak Leaves. It remains a very high-level award, sitting just above the Commander’s Cross (a neck order) and the Knight’s Crosses 1st and 2nd Class]. The Zähringer Lion Breast Star is one of my favorite Imperial German Breast Stars. It is amazingly beautiful, with a unique combination of enamel and silver work. It is both massive and beautiful. To say it is eye-catching is an understatement!
The Breast Star measures an impressive 3.5” x 3.5.” It features deep emerald green arms with crosshatching displayed underneath. In its center are the tribal symbols of the Zähringer clan, circled in gold by the Latin motto “Für Ehre und Wahrheit” (For Honor and Truth). Two separate silver designs are also featured. A star’s rays appear at the decoration’s twelve, three, six, and nine o’clock points, while an intricate, frosted-silver design appears in between its green enamel arms.
Its reverse displays a massive swollen pin that measures a full 2.75” in length. A pin this large would have required a set of three sewn-in loops to properly balance the Breast Star when it was installed. I can detect NO hallmarks, however, the Breast Star’s quality and condition is absolutely top-shelf!