Login

World_Coin_Nut's Blog

05 Aug 2022

My Quest for Multiple Thalers

Coins-World | World_Coin_Nut

For the past several years a sizable portion of my collecting budget has been on Thaler sized coins, mostly from the German States but, from all over the world if they strike my fancy. Multiple thalers have been on my radar but rarely does one come up for sale at a price that Is attainable for me.

Soon after the discovery of the rich new silver veins in the ducal mines of the Harz Mountains, Julius (1528-1589, Duke and Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 1568-1589) devised a plan to create a permanent reserve fund for the defense of his duchy. He ordered each of his subjects who owned property to purchase one of his new multiple thalers. The denomination purchased depended on the wealth of the subject. Coins were struck in a range of denominations from 1-¼ to 16 thalers. The owners of these pieces were required to turn them in when requested by the duke in exchange for debased currency, thus creating an instant source of good silver coinage whenever needed. Julius’ successors in the Duchy of Brunswick continued to produce these coins.

The owners of these usually kept them because they were a sign of prestige and wealth. Yes, it wasn’t necessarily acquired by choice but in this case, size did matter. If you had a larger multiple thaler it was because you could afford to. It would have been difficult at best to use one in a normal daily transaction. Think about trying to pass a $500 bill at your local fast-food restaurant.

Thalers are about 40mm in diameter and 25-30 grams in weight. Multiples would normally be multiples of this weight range. So, a 2 thaler would be around 60 grams, 3 thaler around 90 grams, etc.

This Frankfurt coin I consider to be a wannabe multiple thaler. It is dated 1861 and has a face value of 2 thalers but only weighs 37.04 grams. Far short of the description above.

Picture #1
Likewise, the next coin is another Frankfurt 2 thalers, from 1847, but only weighs 37.1 grams.

Picture #2
Both coins are very attainable for most collectors.

The next coin was my first real multiple thaler purchase. This 1614 dated Teutonic Order 2 thaler coin is only slightly larger in diameter at 46mm but weighs an impressive 56.75 grams. It is a substantial piece to hold. This coin scratched the multiple thaler itch for a while, but I wanted one of the large diameter pieces that I have seen and read so much about. Most of these are 5-6 figure coins.

Picture #3
Teutonic Order. Maximilian of Austria. 1588-1618. AR double thaler.
Hall mint. 1614
Weight: 56.75 gm
Diameter: 46 mm.
Obverse: Master of the Order standing, holding the hilt of a grounded sword in his right hand, a lion holding a shield to left
Reverse: Maximilian on a horse moving right, a circle of shields of arms around him.
Davenport 5854. KM 30.​
That brings us to a coin that I purchased in 2019 at a larger regional coin show. It’s described as a double show thaler from Hamburg. Mintedca.1635. The obverse has the annunciation of Christ. The reverse has John the Baptist baptizing Christ in the river Jordan. It is 59mm in diameter and weighs 56.5 grams. The dealer at the time let me make payments. This was important because it was the most I had ever spent on a coin.

Picture #4
Obverse: The Annunciation​Obverse Legend: AVE MARIA GRATI: PLENDOMIN. DOMIN:TECUMBENED: TUINT:MULIERES
Reverse: Christ standing facing in the river Jordan, head lowered right, being anointed bySt.Johnthe Baptist to right; above, radiate and nimbate dove below name of God in Hebrew.
Reverse Legend: CHRIST : D : HEILG : TAUFNIM : AN : V : SEIM : VORLAUFFER : I : IORD :,​Diameter: 59mm
Weight: 56.5gm
Note: Ref. G#1586. Prev. KM#F85.​



At the time I figured that would be the best and largest multiple thaler that would ever reside in my collection.

The following year I was able to add another Hamburg double thaler. This one minted ca. 1650. I was able to purchase it from around half the price of the coin above due to an obvious cleaning. It is often described as a wedding thaler due to the couple on the obverse and the scene of the wedding at Cana on the reverse. It has similar dimensions to the coin above. 60mm in diameter and 57.42 grams. I did a writeup of this coin here if interested.
https://www.cointalk.com/threads/doppelter-hochzeitstaler-–-double-wedding-thaler.362713/

Some references describe this as being 3 thalers but I have it listed in my inventory as a double thaler due to the weight.


Picture #5
Hamburg. AR Doppelter Hochzeitstaler
Obverse: Man and woman standing facing one another and clasping hands; above, radiant name of god and dove
Reverse: The Wedding at Cana. Cf.
Diameter: 60mm
Weight: 57.42 g
Gaedechens 1600; KM 147 (3 Thaler). Toned, lightly chased, minor edge bumps.
(sellers description)

​Those 2 coins satisfied me for the past few years even though I would check the prices every time I saw a multiple thaler of any denomination for sale. There is a nice 4 thaler listed on eBay at the time of this writing with an asking price of $25,000. Compared to previous sales, it is not an unheard-of price.

And then it happened. I got an email showing new material from one of my favorite sellers. It showed the next coin. A 1664 dated Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle 4 thaler of Christian Ludwig. It is minted from the yield of the Harz mine. The weight is 115.5 grams, and it has a diameter of 81mm. Down by the date on the reverse you can see a 4 stamp. This is typically how the multiple thalers were marked. And the price….well, it wasn’t cheap, but it was in range of stretching for it.

Picture #6
4 talers 1664 LW, Clausthal. Yield from the Harz mines.
Christian Ludwig, 1648-1665
Obverse: Hand of clouds wreaths a horse over a mining landscape with miners and two gullets, outline of the pit below
Reversed: Crowned monogram from CL, framed by two laurel branches, surrounded by fourteen coats of arms. With value stamp.
Weight: 115.5 g
Diameter: 81mm
(Weight and diameter based on similar examples - not actually in hand yet)
Mint master: Lippold Wefer in Clausthal
Welter 1495, Davenport 187, Müseler Supplement 10.4.1/63 a, Duve 12 AI.
Grade: front slightly rubbed, VF-EF​

I really like the detailed mining scene on the bottom of the obverse. The engraver, Lippold Wefer, was obviously a talented guy. He was the mintmaster in Clausthal from 1640-1674. Aside from that, little is known about him. Even Forrer only has a few vague sentences.

The Upper Harz was once one of the most important mining regions in Germany. The major products of its mines were silver, copper, lead, and iron, The main source of income, however, was silver. From the 16th to the middle of the 19th centuries about 40–50% of the entire German silver production originated in the Upper Harz. The taxes raised from this contributed significantly to the revenue of the royal houses in Hanover and Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and helped to secure their positions of power and influence within the empire.

In the Upper Harz, vein mining predominated. Excavation followed the vertically standing lodes or veins downwards. In their heyday the Upper Harz Mines were among the deepest in the world. For example, as early as 1700 shafts were already exceeding depths of 300 meters and by 1830, a depth of 600 meters was achieved. This was considered significant at that time because it was below sea level.

As far as multiple thalers go this is one of the most common varieties. Despite that, I am quite excited to add this coin to my collection. It seems like I have been working my way up to this for years. I can’t see myself adding anymore multiple thalers in the near future. This has pretty much killed my coin budget for the rest of the year. Of course, I will still be looking for them. I “need” a Wildman multiple thaler.


Sources:
Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, by Leonard Forrer
money.org
Wikipedia
ha.com

Comments

Long Beard

Level 5

Impressive and with passion. While I don't own one as of yet, the Thalers seem to draw my attention from time to time. Whether from a blog such as this or the current article in the Numismatist connecting the Continental dollar to German Thaler. Either way, I need to have at least one my hoard!

Kepi

Level 6

These are absolutely beautiful! What an amazing collection you have! You should be so proud! Thanks for a great blog. ; )

Kepi

Level 6

I almost forgot!!! I would love to have a "Wildman" for my collection!! ; )

AC coin$

Level 6

Certainly an astounding selection and collection. Old German and Austrian coins have been sought for decades by specialists. Mostly from centuries where royalty was in control of many expanded geographical areas, an item that brought dukes and princes into turnmoil and further on into regional wars. Your essay is great and descriptive. Fascinated with the images and content. Thanks.

Longstrider

Level 6

Your love of these coins is very evident. I have learned quite a bit from you. I wish everyone could find a series that so inspires them. My problem is I keep finding new ones. Good luck.

Mike

Level 7

There is nothing more than I can say but wonderful coins. You always new what you wanted and went for it. These coins are the very best I have seen. But then again you always had a great eye. I wish you luck with the exposition. I know its a winner. Great blog my good friend. I wish you and your wife success . There are not words to describe these. It would take a page. Thanks to you I have learned much about these. Thanks for that. Never give up!!

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.