Featured My Quest for Multiple Thalers

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Chris B, Aug 4, 2022.

  1. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    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. 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.


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


    Both of these 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.


    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. Minted ca.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.


    Obverse: The Annunciation
    Reverse: Christ standing facing in the river Jordan, head lowered right, being anointed by St.John the 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.

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



    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.


    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.

    Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, by Leonard Forrer
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Nice hockey pucks and manhole covers! ;)

    No doubt this is why the majority of them were mounted with loops to make them "wearable wealth". I wonder how many 16th and 17th century paintings of people wearing them are out there?
    panzerman, spirityoda and Chris B like this.
  4. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

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  5. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Yep, I have a copy sitting on by bookshelf. I wish someone would reprint it with high quality photos.

    I don't have any realistic expectations of ever owning a 10 thaler or larger. Typically the higher the denomination, the scarcer they are. Do you remember how much Kagin was selling it for? I'm sure it was 25k or more.
  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    That mining scene is awesome. I notice the little fellow who's just in front of the horse's front hooves seems to be holding some kind of forked stick- a divining rod, perhaps- like people who do dowsing for water use?

    Lots of interesting detail on such a big piece.

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  7. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

    @Chris B He was asking in the low $40's K. Check European auctions
    on NUMISBID and SIXBID. Kunker and London Coin Galleries sold the
    Preussag collection of multiple thalers in 2016. There were several dozen
    pieces, lots of 5 thaler or larger.
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  8. wcg

    wcg Well-Known Member

    @Chris B : as I scrolled, your post just kept getting better and better. The Annunciation piece and wedding 2T are wonderful, but the 4T is just plain awesome. You are going to love it. I recall seeing that exact piece pop up in the sellers inventory and I thought to myself that one will not last long. We are going to need to see some photos in hand to appreciate the 81mm size. What a milestone addition!

    BTW - WAG just had a 5T taler in a NGC holder (MS-61) offered for 29k (cant recall if it was EUR or USD) earlier this week. I believe it was only in their inventory for 1 day on MA Shops before it was sold.
    Chris B likes this.
  9. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

    I'll finish the story of the 10 thaler piece at Kagans table. There were 3 of us standing there at his table discussing the piece along with 2 others in his case. Dr. Kagan gets a page to go to the information desk at the front near the entrance. He turns to me and says, I'll be right back. Takes off and comes back 15 minutes later. I just sat down in front of his table and waited. The show case was locked. Just sat there holding the 10 thaler. He comes back and we pick up the conversation where we left off.
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  10. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I've found that most dealers are very trusting. Especially with people that can actually talk about the subject matter.

    That reminds of a trip to Central States a few years ago. I saw a case that had 1 coin in with a spotlight on it. So, I had to look. It was an AU58 Chain Cent. My ultimate bucket list coin. The dealer saw me looking and asked if I wanted to see. I said of course but please understand, I know I can't afford it. He says, that's ok hardly anyone can. So he hands it to me and says he purchased it the day before for $625,000. By far the most expensive coin I have ever held. He didn't know me from Adam.
  11. mrbadexample

    mrbadexample Well-Known Member

    81mm? :wideyed:

    That's my kind of coin. :D
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  12. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    So, the coin from my original post has been stuck in customs (NY) since August 7th. I'm a bit sick about it but have been told that there is nothing I can do. The local PO said every package in that shipment is stuck. Not sure how to take that.

    To help with the pain I purchased this smaller 2 Thaler recently. Same basic design.


    GERMANY, Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle (Duchy).
    Christian Ludwig. 1648-1665.
    AR Löser zu 2 Reichstalern – 2 Taler

    Diameter: 64mm
    Weight: 57.35 g

    Clausthal mint. Dated 1659 LW.

    Obverse: Crowned CL monogram within wreath surrounded by crowned coats-of-arms
    Reverse: Horse leaping left, monogram on flank; above, arm holding laurel wreath reaching from the clouds; in background, scene of Clausthal countryside; below, mining scene

    KM 252.1; Davenport 165. Toned, minor scratches, edge bumps.
  13. wcg

    wcg Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about the delay; but congrats on the new 2T, I assume that is the CNG piece? I think you are going to like that one. I also have a 2T on the way and will share when it arrives.
    Chris B likes this.
  14. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    That’s the one. It came in the mail today.
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  15. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    It is a crime that this one hasn't been made a featured post. Come on moderators!
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  16. Joshua Lemons

    Joshua Lemons Well-Known Member Supporter

    Wonderful coins! You are in the Thalers, I'm in the minors! I collect the small mostly billon States pieces. I'm a sucker for those tiny uniface pfennigs!
    Chris B likes this.
  17. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    The day finally arrived. 107 days ago I purchased the 4 thaler in the original post. It sat in NY customs for about 10 weeks and then made an interesting trip across the Atlantic ocean and back again. This package has a lot of miles on it.

    The wait was a bit stressful but in the end, worth it. My pictures are below. The specs ended up being:


    72mm diameter

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  18. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

    That is beautiful. Any of these Loser's over 2 Thaler weight are RARE. And in such high condition.
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  19. wcg

    wcg Well-Known Member

    Oh my - 107 days is a long time to wait. Congrats again on the new addition and good to see if finally found its way into your hands. It is a impressive (and massive) piece. Agree with @tibor regarding scarcity of these larger loser pieces in German States realm.
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  20. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Wow, that is an impressive coin (and an impressive wait time!)

    Few obvious questions.....
    1. Were these commonly used in commerce? Or were they showpieces to reside in a cabinet?
    2. How many were minted? Are these super scarce, or common (relatively speaking, obviously)?
    3. How much bigger do they come? You said this is a 4 Thaler, someone else mentioned a 10 thaler? That must be enormous.
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  21. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Some of the types were minted up to 16 thalers. Generally they were about 30grams per thaler.

    They were not made to be used in commerce. Mintage figures are about non-existent but normally the higher the denomination the more scarce they are. None would be considered common.
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