Joachimsthaler, Thaler Minting History and Evolution

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Zohar444, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Zohar444

    Zohar444 Member

    I just received a very hard to find 1595 Rudolf II Taler from Joachimstal, bohemia (now Czech Republic). Late night research with the help of Silvereagle82 made this purchase easier to swallow. While the Taler is crude in design compared to others, the historical significance and grade for this type is unique.


    I will explain the historical background in order to emphasize it's importance.


    The roots and development of the Thaler-sized silver coin date back to the mid-1400s. As the fifteenth century drew to a close the state of much of Europe's coinage was quite poor because of repeated debasement induced by the costs of continual warfare, and by the incessant centuries-long loss of silver and gold in indirect one-sided trades importing spices and porcelain and silk and other fine cloths and exotic goods from India, Indonesia and the Far East.

    The Guldiner

    From the later fifteenth century onwards, many princes and city-states began striking much larger and much finer silver coins. The first to do so was the Habsburg Austrian Archduke Sigismond of Tyrol who, in 1486, used his silver mines at Schwaz to mint a new prototype, the Guldengroschen, nicknamed the Guldiner, weighing 31.9 grams, which was worth 1 golden florin (Goldgulden). This was a very rare coin, almost a trial piece, but it did circulate so successfully that demand could not be met. These silver Guldiner, Gulden Groschen, or Talers were of the general size that the English later adopted for their silver crowns and, subsequently, the Americans for their silver dollars.


    The Joachimsthaler

    By 1518 Guldiners were popping up everywhere in central Europe. In Bohemia, a part of the Holy Roman Empire then controlled by the Jagellonian monarchs, a Guldiner was minted—of similar physical size but slightly less fineness—that was named the Joachimsthaler from the silver mined by the Counts of Schlick at a rich source near Joachimsthal (St. Joachim's Valley, Czech: Jáchymov) (now in the Czech Republic) where Thal (Tal) means "valley" in German.

    Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary, was portrayed on the coin - Joachimsthaler


    Bohemia, Joachimsthal Map


    The Old Mint Building


    Jáchymov was the main center of silver mining in Europe after the 16th cent., but its present output is negligible. Similar coins began to be minted in neighboring valleys rich in silver deposits, each named after the particular 'thal' or valley from which the silver was extracted. There were soon so many of them that these silver coins began to be known more widely as 'thaler'. From these earliest 'thalaer' developed the new Thaler – the coin that Europe had been looking for to create a standard for commerce.

    The Joachimsthaler coins minted in the 16th century became known as Thalers for short, with the later word "Dollar" and similar words for monetary units in many languages deriving from it.


    It amazes me how a small town called Joachimsthal, facing a valley, has impacted world currency to this date.
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  3. silvereagle82

    silvereagle82 World Gold Collector

    Another great Thaler for your award winning collection :whistle:
    and thanks for the background information !!!

    This is indeed a very scarce coin particuliarly in this grade.
  4. hiho

    hiho off to work we go

    Beautiful Thaler and a first rate presentation Zohar.
    I love the photo of the mint building built into the side of a hill.
  5. acanthite

    acanthite ALIIS DIVES

    Very interesting coin and historical background. The impact of the thaler on world coinage reaches almost every corner of the world. Some of my present numismatic research picks up the story many years later.
  6. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Very informative post and another great looking Thaler!! good for you and way to go!!
  7. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector

    A great piece, and a great post, thanks! :)

    One tiny thing though which does not even have anything to do with the coin ... the map shows a different Joachimsthal. That is a place in the German state of Brandenburg, north of Berlin. The numismatically famous one, so to say - Jáchymov, CZ - is north of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad).

  8. Zohar444

    Zohar444 Member

    Thanks - fixed!
  9. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  10. ThalerKing

    ThalerKing New Member

    Can you post the photos again. I would be interested to see your Rudolf II Thaler... And this Thaler came from the Count Schlick mines that were later seized by Emperor Ferdinand??? Interesting I would love to see it.
  11. jlblonde

    jlblonde Señor Member

  12. Zohar444

    Zohar444 Member

  13. ThalerKing

    ThalerKing New Member

    Thanks for that and nice display format & information.

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