Introducing the Silver Thaler

Posted by on October 11, 2012
SC THL 1643 Poland Thaler 150x300 Introducing the Silver Thaler

1643 Poland 1 Silver Thaler

Silver Thaler Coins were first minted in Bohemia during the early 1500’s in Joachimsthaler where a large silver deposit was found and mining began. Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary, is portrayed on these first Thaler. The name “Thaler” comes from the Czech “Thal” (Tal) which means “dale” or “valley” and refers to those who live or come from the valley. The neighboring valleys of the region were found to also be rich with silver and more silver mines were started. This was followed by assayers and a wide variety of designs for the thaler began being minted regularly and used in central Europe.

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German States Prussia 1/48 Thaler, 1/2 Groschen, 1772
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NGC CERTIFIED SILVER 1595 HB GERMANY THALER SAXONY-ALBERTINE.
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Austria 1780 Maria Theresa Taler 1/2 Thaler-Modern Restrike
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Germany Prussia Thaler, 1861A Nice Detail
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The size and purity of the silver thaler came about as a result of the overall debasement of silver coins throughout Europe. The silver content of Europe’s coins had hit an all time low. Some historians cite the seemingly perpetual state of war that was going on during the 1400’s and others point towards the lack of new silver reserves. Regardless there were a number of reasons which resulted in the devaluing silver coinage throughout Europe. Italy responded by striking the silver Lira in 1472. These weigh more than 6 grams while the older silver coins of Europe were closer to 4 grams. Then in 1474 the liras were released weighing 9 grams. Then in 1484 the Archduke Sigsmund of Tirol began a new trend in coinage by minting the half Guldengroschen which weigh about 15.5 grams.

SC THL 1692 Hungary Thaler leopold 300x148 Introducing the Silver Thaler

1692 Hungary 1 Silver Thaler - Leopold

The first silver thaler sized coin was called the “Guldengroschen”, which means ‘great gulden’ in German and nicknamed “guldiner”, followed the trend of minting larger coins. The “gulden’ (golden) were the gold coins used by Austria. The guldiner were sized to have the same value as the much smaller guldens. These first guldengroschen silver coins weigh 31.93 grams and are made of a 93.75% silver alloy. They contain 29.93 grams of silver and were minted during 1486 in Hall from silver mined in Schwaz.

SC THL 1834 Germany 1 Thaler reverse 295x300 Introducing the Silver Thaler

1834 Germany 1 Silver Thaler - reverse

The first Joachimsthaler Guldengroschen silver coins weigh one ounce, or 27.2 grams, and contain 25.984 grams of silver. This makes them 95.5% fine silver. The thalers standardized by the Holy Roman Emperor are called "Reichstaler" and were minted primarily in Prussia and northern Germany from 1566 to 1750. The Reichstaler were defined to have 25.984 grams of silver and set as the coin of account. The most famous of the silver thalers is the Maria Theresa Thaler which are sometimes referred to as "MMT".

US AU 1780 Maria Theresa Thaler restrike 300x143 Introducing the Silver Thaler

1780 Austria "Maria Theresa Thaler" - restrike

The Maria Theresa Thaler was first minted as regular currency by Austria in 1741. From 1740 to 1780 Empress Maria Theresa ruled Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia. After the Empress had passed away in 1780 the Maria Theresa Thaler was still issued in her memory and continued to bare the 1780 date on them. In 1858 Austria was going to be recoining their currency and Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria proclaimed on September 19, 1857 that the Maria Theresa Thaler was an official "trade coin". Therefore when the thaler was dropped from Austria’s currency the Maria Theresa Thaler was still minted. The Maria Theresa Thaler continues to be minted as a bullion coin and in 2000 it was estimated that around 389 million have been produced since it was revalued in 1751 during the Bavarian Monetary convention.

SC 1770 Spanish Colonial Milled 8 Reales Milled  300x149 Introducing the Silver Thaler

1770 Spanish Colonial 8 Reales-Milled

Spain created the 8 Reel silver coin to match the thaler. The Spanish 8 reel later became the Peso and new silver standard for American coins. The United States silver dollars were created to be eaqual in silver content. The term “Dollar” was disseminated from the Thalers. The Dutch called the thalers “Daalders” and these were used for trading including the New World town New Amsterdam which eventually became New York.

The Dutch Daalder that was equal to the thaler was only issued by Zaltbommel of the seven United Providences of the Netherlands in 1582. There are three varieties, two of which are not dated. These weigh 29.03 grams and 88.5% fine silver and contains 25.69 grams of silver. It was equivalent to 30 Zaltbommel stuiver coins however it contained more silver than the other providences 30 stuvers.

Holland issued other Silver Daalders from 1555 to 1697. The Lion daalder or “Rijksdaalder” is one of the better known Dutch silver coins used in the New World. These daalders vary in silver content from the thalers as well as with silver Dutch Daalder varieties. In Scandinavia the thaler also became widely used and called the “daler”. In English the thaler was called “dollar” for over two hundred years before the United States started minting money in 1792.

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