There were five classes of the order:
– Grand Cross
– Commander, 1st Class
– Commander, 2nd Class
– Knight, 1st Class
– Knight, 2nd Class
Orders of the Zähringer Lion are extremely rare, as they were required to be returned to the chancellery of the order on the death of the holder, and it was only in exceptional circumstances that authorization was granted for them to be retained in memory of the deceased. At the beginning of the 20th century the descendants of a holder of the order were permitted to purchase it from the state, but the cost involved often exceeded their means.
Josef Kolbe, whose regiment was the Frederick, Great Duke of Baden No. 50, was awarded the Knight’s Cross (second class, with oak leaves) on 22 January 1907 when he held the rank of First Lieutenant, and the Knight’s Cross (first class, with swords) on 19 January 1917 as a Major. They were never returned to the state as both were stolen during the Second War, so there is unfortunately no possibility of purchasing them.
The Order of the Zähringer Lion survived until the end of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. In the period 1866-1918, 1452 second class orders with oak leaves were granted and 718 first class order with swords.
Imperial German Orders, Medals & Decorations: http://www.medalnet.net/Zauber_alter_Orden.htm
Historical Collectibles: http://www.hermann-historica.de